Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Balloon Flew Away

I first posted about Michael Fournier in 2002. He's the retired French Army officer trying to set the world record for the highest free-fall. The record was set by American Joe Kittinger back in 1960.

A few days ago, Fournier attempted another free-fall. He needed to climb into a capsule/gondola attached to a helium balloon. This balloon would take him to the height of 25 miles above earth. At that height, he'd see both space and the curvature of this planet.

Unfortunately, something happened during his balloon launch. The balloon flew away. The news report explained that perhaps a charge went off, inflating the balloon ahead of schedule. Still, it's a blow to his attempt.

When I first saw the headlines about this mishap, it had that "my dog ate my homework" sense. He said next time he'll bring two balloons. I say he should maybe bring some tethers as well.

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