Today, Google is devoting its homepage to André-Jacques Garnerin, a French balloonist who is credited with taking the first plunge in a frameless parachute. The doodle recalls the famous jump, which took place over Paris’ Parc Monceau in 1797.
On October 22nd, 1797, Garnerin got in a basket attached to a 23 foot-wide umbrella-shaped parachute and a balloon and ascended to around 3,000 feet. Once he reached that height, he cut the rope connecting to the balloon and started to parachute to the park below.
It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing – or falling – as the descent was a bit violent. Garnerin was unscathed by the rough landing, however, and went on to make more parachute descents.
Today is the 216th anniversary, to the day, of Garnerin’s brave parachute jump.
Garnerin, who was once appointed Official Aeronaut of France, died in 1823 in a freak construction accident after a beam struck him while he attempting to complete a balloon.
Google’s Garnerin doodle is interactive, letting you control the descent of the parachute – knocking clouds and eventually (hopefully) coming to a safe landing. I landed on a giant block of ice with some penguins, and they looked friendly enough.
Images via Wikimedia Commons, Google