It may not have the design and scientific sophistication of Elon Musk’s SpaceX or the Blue Origin project of Steve Bezos, but someone has been taking to the northwestern skies.
And it takes the form of a gangly craft suspended underneath three balloons.
Its launch point and date is a mystery but its last landing spot is not — just off a new section of the Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club’s Onion Lake ski trails.
It was found while that new section was being cleared in the early spring of 2020 and now, says Terry Brown, one of two people who found it, it’s time to see if there is an owner out there willing to claim the craft.
“It has what I’d describe as four legs and two arms,” said Brown of one-inch square styrofoam strips hanging down and joined together with pins. He estimates the length at approximately one metre and the bottom being 16 inches square.
Illumination came in the form of strings of battery-powered LED lights, one of which took the form of a necklace affixed around the bottom framing.
There’s even a microprocessor so that the necklace LED string would blink and that has Brown thinking the craft’s builder or builders definitely wanted it to be noticed against a night sky.
It also has metallic streamers hanging down so as to reflect the light from the LED string.
Brown isn’t revealing the number of batteries on the craft, saying he wants keep that confidential because it’s a question he’ll ask of someone claiming the craft. That way he’ll know if he’s dealing with the rightful owner.
“To me the story is not who found it, but it’s about the person who made it,” he said.
Brown’s convinced the craft is of rather recent origin based on the best before dates on the batteries — 2019 and 2023.
And given the condition of the craft, Brown is thinking it has been through at least one and perhaps several seasons of having snow fall on it.
“It’s very fragile,” he said of damage caused by snow.
From what direction the craft would have travelled before descending into the trees along the trails would have depended upon the winds at the time, but Brown’s convinced it has to be fairly local.
“It could have flown one kilometre or a 100 kilometres,” he said.