Suddenly everything is puffy and floating.
The world’s largest airship arrived in Minnesota yesterday. The zeppelin Eureka, owned by a company called Airship Ventures in California and bearing the Farmers Insurance logo as a convenient bill-paying strategy, is parked, fittingly, at Flying Cloud Airport.
It will float around our area through the weekend, selling insurance and slow rides to paying customers at $375 a pop.
Sorry. Probably shouldn’t say “pop” around an airship.
Not to worry. This zeppelin’s skin is made from the same high tech fabric we use in space suits, and it gets its lift from non-flammable helium, so there should be no “Oh the humanity” moment for this dirigible.
At the same time the Eureka was slputtering towards its mooring mast, the air-supported roof of the Metrodome was rising back into position, buoyed by positive air pressure from inside and returning that familiar spongy pincushion profile to the south side of Minneapolis’ downtown. Fans raised the roof in about 45 minutes yesterday, so that fans will be able to raise the roof when the Vikings return in August.
And well above the Metrodome roof and the Farmers’ Zeppelin in the airless confines of near Earth orbit, spacewalker Mike Fossum of the shuttle Atlantis spent some time yesterday moving what looks to be your grandma’s old kitchen range out to the space station’s equivalent of the garage, using only his fingertips and the power of the name “Canada”. Too bad Farmers’ didn’t get in on that sponsorship action.
This was the last scheduled spacewalk of the shuttle program. I guess it’ll be a while before we get to go outside again. The next time we decide to make a space suit, we can get all the fabric we need by cannibalizing the remains of the Farmers’ airship.
Tell us a story that involves something inflatable.