Won't somebody please think of his balloons?
The US Air Force has been shooting mysterious balloons out of the sky left and right over the last couple of weeks, a frenzied hunt stirred up by the since-annihilated Chinese spy balloon first spotted hovering over US territory in early February.
And apart from the resulting balloon carcasses scattered across the nation, there are some emotional casualties, too.
From hobbyists in Northern Illinois to the guy who wants to dim the Sun, balloon dudes across the US are now living in fear.
"This is going to go fucking smoothly, maybe," Make Sunsets CEO Luke Iseman, the guy who wants to geoengineer the Earth, told Time Magazine, moments after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared him for the launch of three chemical-filled balloons.
Or," he added, "everyone's gonna say 'yeah, you should be fine,' and then we launch and a f*cking jet comes and shoots it down."
Shoot It Down
The chemicals — the star of the show being homemade sulfur dioxide — inside the balloons are designed to reflect the sun's UV rays back into the cosmos once released into the stratosphere, thereby cooling the Earth down below, a highly controversial and unproven way to combat global warming.
But given the latest news, Iseman is clearly nervous that something bad will happen to his startup's balloons.
Considering that President Joe Biden brought out the big guns — namely an F-16 fighter jet and Sidewinder missiles — to gun down three unidentified objects over the course of three days, Iseman's balloon anxiety isn't entirely unfounded.
There's also the reality that Make Sunsets has already gotten into trouble with the government of Mexico, which has made it clear that it doesn't want Make Sunsets balloons anywhere near its air space, banning the practice outright.
Blessing in Disguise
That said, if the Make Sunsets balloons were to be destroyed, it wouldn't be a huge loss. The balloons are designed to explode on their own, releasing the chemicals in the process.
"Goes up, explodes, biodegrades, saves the world," Iseman told Time, explaining that none of the balloons are designed for recovery.
As for his last point, though, it's worth noting that many experts in the field, including Kevin Surprise, a lecturer on environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College, aren't nearly as optimistic.
"I have not seen a single person in the field say this is a good idea," Surprise told Time.
READ MORE: Exclusive: Inside a Controversial Startup's Risky Attempt to Control Our Climate [Time Magazine]
More on Make Sunsets: Mexico Bans Startup From Future Solar Geoengineering Experiments
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