A Nasa balloon carrying a multimillion dollar telescope destroyed a car in Alice Springs, Australia after it failed to launch properly.
The balloon was being launched in the Australian outback and broke free from its moorings just before release. The accident was captured on video by ABC Australia.
The capsule underneath, containing the Nuclear Compton Telescope, flew across the site, bouncing over a second car and crashing to the ground.
"We were sitting in our car and preparing to move it out of the way, and we were actually about a foot [away] from being wiped out," local resident Betty Davies told ABC Australia.
"I think if it had hadn't been for the other gentleman's car being there, we'd have been somewhere else by now. We were expecting to be wiped out."
The balloon was part of a project to study gamma radiation levels 25 miles above the Earth's surface using 12 3D imaging detectors. The package also included atmospheric study equipment and processing hardware.
No-one was hurt in the incident, but the scientists behind the NASA project were distraught.
"Ballooning, that's the way it happens on occasions but it is very disappointing. Gut-wrenching actually," said Professor Ravi Sood, director of the Balloon Launching Centre.
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