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Are We Really Going To Replace Billion-Dollar Satellites With Enormous Balloons?

And if so, will they at least come in amusing shapes?


Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Short answer: It’s possible! (Not the amusing shapes part. Sorry.) According to this fascinating piece from Motherboard, top science-y types from the likes of NASA and Lockheed Martin believe that instead of spending the billion or so bucks it currently takes to fire a commercial satellite into space, it would be both cheaper (like, only a couple of million. Only!) and easier to launch a giant airship into the stratosphere instead. Hovering up to 50 miles above our heads, they could do a lot of the stuff satellites currently do – monitor weather, point space telescopes, let government agencies secretly spy on sunbathing Maxim cover girls – but with the added advantage that blimps are awesome. Also, it makes it pretty much impossible for any super intelligent alien race out there to attack us, because no one could be heartless enough to attack someone holding a big bunch of balloons.

 

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