Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Flying Museum comes to AEM

The World’s First “Flying Museum”?

The Walker Art Museum recently brought Museo Aero Solar, ‘The First Flying Museum,’ to the Twin Cities which included a collaboration between the artist, Tomas Saraceno, and AEM faculty James Flaten (Associate Director of the MN Space Grant Consortium) and Perry Leo (Professor and Associate Department Head).

Yasmil Raymond of the Walker Art Center comments, “Museo aero solar is a ‘flying museum’ powered by solar energy and made from huge quantities of used plastic bags that are taped together to create a massive balloon.”

Saraceno and AEM faculty and students had a series of open studio discussions sharing knowledge about ballooning and exploring the possibility of attempting a free-flight of the Museo (all their previous work has been with tethered balloons) with GPS tracking, an on-board camera, and an electronically-triggered deflation mechanism.  “I’ve always enjoyed exploring connections between science, engineering, and art”, said Flaten, “and all parties learned a lot from this collaboration.”

Saraceno’s residency at the Walker included presentations about the project at several venues, including at a Café Scientifique near the West Bank, assembly of the balloon itself at the Blake School on October 10th, inflation at the Walker on October 11th (which was curtailed due to high winds), and inflation of a smaller solar balloon on October 16th (though the planned free-flight and tracking with a payload built by Flaten and his students was scrubbed due to cloud cover, but the deflation mechanism was successfully tested).

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 22-Oct-2008 12:27:04 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation