# What will happen if we establish a physical connection between ground and ionosphere?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere The ionosphere is a shell of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules that surrounds the Earth, stretching from a height of about 50 km (31 mi) to more than 1,000 km (620 mi)

On the other hand.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_(electricity)

A "ground" is usually idealized as an infinite source or sink for charge, which can absorb an unlimited amount of current without changing its potential.

And We also Know that balloon named BU60-1 has attained highest altitude of 53.0 km (53 Km means it entered the ionosphere)

So, I am wondering if may be someday we should try this. Even is that possible to connect ground and ionosphere.

By the way, I love to think about something that is completely bizarre. Besides this I can understand problems in doing so like; Weight, material, amount of charges (if able to establish) and various others (honestly, at the moment I don't remember/know). Well, my choice of material for path is very non-conducting type such ordinary thread or anything else that is not much expensive. I have started wondering already.

If you don't want to be specific, that is great but please don't involve too much mathematics in explanation (if there is one!). Answer in such a way that everyone understand and make them love science and specially Physics.

– user116941
Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 21:44
• the principle seems correct, but I am not sure about the practicality or economics of it (just think that he amount of current will be highly variable depending on atmospheric conditions), perhaps a better question for engineering
– user83548
Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 21:49
• The entire thing is a spherical capacitor of relatively low capacitance. If you put in optimistic numbers, you end up with something like 0.1Farad. You can buy capacitors that will fit into the palm of your hand that have several Farad capacitance. Let's assume that the potential difference between ground and the ionosphere is 300kV, then the entire energy in there would be on the order of $E=0.1F\times (300kV)^2/2=4.5GJ$. That's as much energy as you get from one large power plant in about 5 seconds. You can completely forget about it. Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 22:35
• So if I use $n_{e} \sim 10^{4} - 10^{6} \ cm^{-3}$, $h_{iono} \sim 50-1000 \ km$, I get a volume of ~$10^{18} \ m^{3}$ and total number of electrons to be ~$10^{28} - 10^{30}$. This corresponds to a total charge from electrons of $Q \sim 10^{9} - 10^{11} \ C$. If we assume $\Delta \Phi \sim 300 \ kV$, then we have $$C = \tfrac{Q}{\Delta \Phi} \sim 19 \ kF - 19 \ MF$$. Take this with a massive grain of salt because the ionosphere is not made of only electrons, so $Q$ is likely very different... Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 12:29