What was suppose to be a regular day of balloon-launching in the Australian outback turned into balloon-dodging. A NASA balloon equipped with two telescopes to survey the sky at an altitude of 36,576 meters crashed on lift-off–a gust of wind sent the balloon sailing horizontally, it wiped through a fence and overturned a sports utility vehicle before smashing into the ground. The balloon narrowly missed nearby spectators.
It’s unclear how much damage the onboard science instruments sustained but by the looks of the video (below) of the incident, taken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), it can’t be good. The balloon was carrying a gammy-ray telescope built by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, called the Nuclear Compton Telescope meant to study astrophysical sources in space.
According to ABC news, the crash was “gut-wrenching” for researchers watching, who have spent many years and ample resources on the multi-million dollar balloon. It was built by NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas.
The researchers have been picking up the pieces and will conduct a full investigation of the accident. Meanwhile the Balloon Launching Center in Alice Springs will prepare for another balloon launch in May.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal
The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.
The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it
Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
How Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to cut steel emissions
The startup believes its bio-oil, once converted into syngas, could help clean up the dirtiest industrial sector.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.