Google trains a Loon balloon to surf the air currents, avoiding the “polar vortex”

Gigaom

If you don’t subscribe to Project Loon’s Google+ account, then I would highly recommend that you do. Sure, it’s all a marketing effort to promote Google’s crazy plan to connect the world through a balloon-based broadband network, but the blog is often gripping, seat-of-your-pants reading as Google describes the adventures of its dirigibles as they traverse the heavens.

On Thursday, Google recounted the journey of one balloon, No. I-167, as it completed a trip around the globe in the southern hemisphere in just 22 days, compared to the 33-day voyage the typical balloon takes to circumnavigate the earth.

The voyage of Loon balloon I-167 as it circumnavigates the globe (source: Google) The voyage of Loon balloon I-167 as it circumnavigates the globe (source: Google)

Google is trying to train its balloons to catch the currents of swift stratospheric winds so they’ll travel faster over the oceans — where there’s no one to connect — so they can spend more time over…

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