"Geostationary" Banana Over Texas

Alerted by Physics is Phun, I immediately ran to the Geostationary Banana over Texas website, because that is a phrase I would never have thought to hear.

The concept is cool, but I wish they would have named it something else. According to the Project website, the helium-filled banana (another phrase never to have been uttered) will float along “between 30 and 50 km up in the sky.” This, unfortunately, places it firmly in the stratosphere and not “between the high atmosphere and Earth’s low orbit” as claimed. Geostationary is a term generally reserved for earth-orbiting satellites in 35,800 km orbits, with a period of one sidereal day (they orbit at exactly the same speed the earth rotates), keeping them located over the same point on the earth.

Nevertheless, the concept of building a large banana-shaped, helium-filled balloon and floating it around over Texas is highly amusing. Hopefully this is not some big prank. There are a lot of pretty pictures and big-sounding words like “gyroscope” and “geostationary positioning” on the website. The lack of real substance with plenty of buzzwords leads me to believe that this is some sort of hoax, but you never know. I look forward to the day when we can state that the Canadian Council for the Arts has funded a giant airborne fruit. If it’s a hoax, well at least it’s a pretty website.

A search for “banana” on the Canadia Council for the Arts website turns up no hits. Hmmmm…

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