Plane Crash? Nah, Just a Google Internet Balloon Returning to Earth
As it turns out, giant, falling internet balloons kind of resemble a crashing plane.
Emergency responders (including a rescue helicopter!) were called to an area in New Zealand’s South Island Friday morning after reports of a plane crash. But when they found the site of the ‘wreckage,’ it wasn’t really wreckage at all. It was just a bog ol’, partially-deflated balloon.
A balloon that belongs to Google, of course. The company has recently been testing its Project Loon balloons in New Zealand. The company confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that prevailing winds make it hard to keep the balloons on track, but
“Since launching Project Loon in New Zealand last year, we’ve continued to do research flights to improve the technology.”
We first heard about Project Loon (for balLOON or for LOONey, or maybe both) last summer. One of Google[x]’s ‘moonshot’ ventures, Project Loon wants to increase internet access for underserved areas across the world by putting giant internet-providing balloons way up in the air – as in twice as high as commercial airplanes.
In April, Google announced that one of its Project Loon balloons had lapped the globe in 22 days, and the project as a whole has clocked over 500,000 km.
Image via Project Loon, Google+