A huge NASA balloon loaded with a telescope painstakingly built to scan the sky at wavelengths invisible to the human eye crashed in the Australian outback Thursday, destroying the astronomy experiment and just missing nearby onlookers, according to Australian media reports.
In dramatic video released by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the giant 400-foot (121-meter) balloon is seen just beginning to lift its payload, then the telescope gondola appears to unexpectedly come loose from its carriage. The telescope crashes through a fence and overturn a nearby parked sport utility vehicle before finally stopping.
The attempted balloon telescope launch took place at the Alice Springs Balloon Launching Centre, near the town of Alice Springs, in the northern territory of Australia...
The balloon was carrying the Nuclear Compton Telescope (NCT), a gamma-ray telescope built by astronomer Steven Boggs and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, California to study astrophysical sources in space.
Posts: 4495 From: Brussels, BELGIUM Registered: Jan 2001
posted April 29, 2010 11:33 AM
Bad news for the astronomers indeed...