Friday, November 23, 2012

Testing for the æther boundary in the Aérostat Fougueux

Jose Parra documented the first maneuvers of the flotte de dirigeables in 1799.  Napoleon ordered a fleet of twenty three Aérostat's to be made at the Montrouge balloon yards - due to clerical error - the number produced was twenty six.  With three more dirigeables than he needed for the 1805 invasion of  the newly purchased American Louisiana territories, the extra were given a scientific mission of exploration.  During the lengthy trip through the atmosphere the three ship fleet found that they could re-supply using the native flora and fauna of the the skies, and managed not to touch land for three years.  News of their voyage (through carrier pigeon) reached the main fleet in low altitude maneuvers over the Mediterranean, and convinced the admiralty to finally issue the order for the American invasion.  The flotte de dirigeables roamed the heavens in an indirect path towards their destination, living off the land, so to speak, and in the process causing the extinction of many aeronautical species.  By 1810 the fleet had parked itself over the Louisiana territory waiting for the order to attack, which never came.  Presumably the fleet had learned to harvest the skies without causing large scale ecological destruction,  as the last communication from the flotilla occurred in 1825 via an ancient carrier pigeon.

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