For the football fans out there, we are pulling a play from the playbook for the long pass, the long flight, the Hail Mary. Last week, our colleague, Prof Ben Longmier, launched an accidental “floater” balloon that travelled from Ann Arbor deep into Quebec. A Canadian park ranger recovered the balloon and it’s headed back to us. As we watched the decent, we worried about landing in the lake. But deep in the winter in Quebec, it was frozen and recovery was made easy. Merci!
This weekend, Ben has launched two more balloons to take advantage of the speeding jet stream above us. The balloons have been traveling over 100 miles per hour. The first made it to Vermont before transmissions ceased due to cold temperatures reducing battery output. If the balloon has remained aloft during the night, it would have been out to sea when the sun rose with no ground stations available to receive it packets. If it remains aloft, it could make Europe in a day or two. The second balloon is inflight now and has maintained a good temperature for transmissions. It is currently over New Hampshire and headed north east at 121 mph. The jet stream is strong and headed towards Europe.
We will keep you posted!