back to article Terror in the Outback: Attack of the Giant Space Balloon

A "giant space balloon" went out of control in Australia yesterday in a "gut-wrenching" incident which saw a car wrecked and bystanders within inches of death, according to eyewitness accounts. The giant gasbag was intended to ascend 20 miles to the edge of space, there to measure cosmic gamma-ray emissions and probe the …


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  1. Marvin the Martian


    How can this article not be labelled RotM? It's a friggin' hi-tech satellite attacking bystanders!

    1. Secretgeek

      Not RotM


      Machine that didn't Rise.

  2. Studley


    "What's that, skip? There's an old man trapped beneath a car which was rolled over by a rampaging space vessel?"

    Surely the clues were there before the launch. I'm no rocket scientist, but the balloon's rope looks pretty slack and it's gusting at about 45 degrees. That's not going to head upwards when you let it go.

  3. andy gibson

    Official Statement

    Not a weather balloon but an alien spacecraft. A reverse Roswell!

  4. M7S

    Insurance for space vehicles?

    I'd be willing to bet hitting a car isn't in the policy document.

    1. Ivan Headache

      I'd like to see

      The claim the car owner puts in.

  5. Peter Clarke 1
    Big Brother


    Related to the Rovers from The Village, home of The Prisoner??

  6. petur

    only idiots...

    ...will sit in a car downwind of a balloon being released. Anyone can see where the balloon would be going upon release

  7. Nick 6

    No point in trying to leave the village.

    Rover got him

    Be seeing you.

  8. Neil 13

    I've seen these things before..

    ... in 'The Prisoner'. They can be very aggressive and nasty.

  9. Intractable Potsherd

    Did anyone else ...

    ... read "baboon" at first? I only read the article because I thought the BBC had missed another important story whilst waiting for Gordon Brown to finish bullyingH^H^H^H^H^H^H^apologising to some old lady ... (let's face it, the British mainstream media are perfectly capable of missing a story about a huge extraterrestrial ape on a car-wrecking spree unless they can get an angle on how it will affect Nick Clegg's chances)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I think if it had hadn't have

    Is that how they speak down under?

  11. Spider


    How can the NRA be expected to mobilise when articles of this nature aren't clearly labelled? A nearly airbourne harbinger of doom co-funded by NASA (clearly a branch of Cyberdine) attacks hapless meatsacks trying to tether it?

    Surely defcom zepplin.......

  12. The_Police!


    gasbag jokes!

  13. Daf L

    Video Formats

    Available Formats

    Windows Media (Broadband)

    Windows Media (Dial-up)

    Real Media (Broadband)

    Real Media (Dial-up)

    Wow that's a blast from the past...

  14. John I'm only dancing

    When I saw the phrase 'Giant Gasbag'

    I had terrible visions of 500 foot versions of Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Mangeltwat et al.

    Thank god is was just a balloon. And I know why it went wrong, what did they expect down under, It was never going to rise up!!

  15. Graham Bartlett

    @Andy Gibson

    That'd be a Llewsor then. (Unless that's actually a real place in Wales.)

    1. Galidron

      Just in Case

      In the instance that this isn't a joke about something I'm not familiar with, Roswell is a real place in New Mexico. If it is a joke about something I'm not familiar with then carry on.

      1. steve 44

        Think about Reverse Roswell

        Then facepalm

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You didn't mention...

    You didn't mention whether the experiment was successful or not.

  17. Frank Thomas

    NASA, Pay attention

    this is what happens when you try to reduce state of the art aeronautical science to 19th century claptrap. Dirigibles? are you on crack? like Ares isn't a big enough step backward?

  18. Winkypop Silver badge

    Alice, springs

    ...quickly out of the way....!!

  19. Big-nosed Pengie

    20 miles?

    This being Australia and not the US, the balloon was supposed to go 32km into the air.

  20. Jon Leighton

    Throw it

    When I used to launch radiosondes in a strong wind, it used to take a strong throw at 90 deg to the wind to get it to clear the buildings/ground. The occasional lucky launch resulted in the sonde going between buildings which where only 10 feet apart. Other times it might bounce along the ground for a bit but still successful data reception.

    So design failure - that crane/launcher needs a throw mechanism.

  21. Blofeld's Cat

    Music event?

    I thought it was a musical event - I'm sure somebody said it was a "dirigible do".


    Well that that went down like a Led Zeppelin.

  22. Robert Hill

    Highly Successful!!!

    In related news, NASA announced the highly successful test of their new integrated Roll-Cage mechanism, designed to protect capsule occupants in the event of a hard landing...

    According to the NASA spokesman, "the test went down even better than we had planned - we got a really nice tumbling fall with a strong cross-range motion over the ground, with minimal involvement from any supporting structures or the lofting device. We also got an unplanned test of the Cage's ability to decimate a Land Rover, which we are proposing as a new international standard test for capsule survivability. All in all, it was a much better test than we had hoped, and was definitely worth the trip to Australia."

  23. Steve Sutton

    Tech reuse?

    Any applicable technology that can be used in PARIS?

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