This device is a radiosonde of the type used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the early 1970s to record basic data on Earth's atmosphere--pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and wind direction.
Introduced in the 1930s, the radiosonde is an instrument package attached to a balloon designed to reach the upper atmosphere. As the radiosonde ascends through the atmosphere it collects data and transmits it to a ground station. At high altitude the balloon bursts and the radiosonde (not collecting data) descends via a small parachute. NOAA launched thousands of radiosondes per year to gather a broad sample of data on the Earth's atmosphere.
Typically, about twenty percent of radiosondes are recovered after descending to the ground. On the side of this radiosonde, there are instructions for returning the device to NOAA.
NOAA transferred this artifact to the Museum in 1975.
Transferred from NOAA