A Quiet Trip to the Ozone Hole

It might be the weirdest part of the atmosphere, 15 miles above the polar regions, where vast stratospheric clouds of nitric acid and water vapor shimmer in iridescent pink while human-made chemicals play havoc with the ozone layer.

Scientists long to study the stratosphere at close range. But this is almost the edge of space, far too high for a conventional airplane in level flight.

How to get there?

In a glider.

Without the weight of engines or fuel, a glider can be lifted by natural atmospheric phenomena, engineers say. So a team of scientists, aviation buffs and entrepreneurs is building a two-seat sailplane designed to withstand the peculiar hazards of stratospheric flight. The journey is scheduled for August 2015.

Read full text at The New York Times