One endearing encounter starts like this:
BERLIN - Several people alerted authorities after spotting unusual lights drifting across the sky above the sleepy Bavarian town of Plattling on Wednesday night.
...and ends like this:
A police patrol was dispatched but officers found no sign of unusual visitors.If you happened to be in Albuquerque instead of Plattling, you may have been treated to a "shimmering, silvery object in the Saturday evening sky". Alas, it also was not an alien spaceship. Rather, it was a large, experimental balloon sent aloft by NASA to test its load carrying capacity. At least that's what NASA says, as if they can even be trusted anymore. The Albuquerque Journal, via TMCnet, puts it succinctly:
Instead, they tracked down a 29-year-old man who had just proposed to his girlfriend.He had accompanied his proposal by releasing 50 paper lanterns that glowed in the night.*
At least that's what NASA says.Ahhh, skeptical to the last. But to be fair, they also add,
The teardrop-shaped object was actually a 34.43 millioncubic-foot experimental balloon carrying 8,000 pounds of payload, said Debbie Fairbrother, chief technologist for the NASA balloon program.The combination of high altitude, a setting sun, and more than a few addled brains created the illusion of a UFO. However, considering the flight took place over Albuquerque, right outside Roswell, NM, you'd think NASA would have been smart enough to inform the public prior to freaking them out. Sure, no one jumped out of buildings or set their Irish Wolf Hounds free to fend for themselves during the coming invasion...but it's happened before.
NASA's Balloon Office was testing the balloon's flight pattern, because NASA has had difficulty in the past getting a balloon to lift 8,000 pounds, Fairbrother said.
*The 27 year old woman said yes. Don't ever let it be said I don't end my posts with a happy ending every once in a while.