A couple was stunned to find a high-tech space balloon in their back garden after it drifted all the way from Germany.
Charlotte and Allen Buckley, who run Brook Valley Glamping outside Llanfair Caereinion in Wales, woke up on July 9 to see a strange object bobbing across their grounds.
‘It was a white box attached to a balloon,’ Mrs Buckley told a local paper.
‘At first I was very suspect over it – this is really, really random – but we went down to investigate.’
The couple found that the balloon was carrying a number of cameras, sensors, and a German phone number.
‘It’s just so strange,’ said Mrs Buckley. ‘I never thought I’d find a UFO in my back garden.’
They contacted the number and were put in touch with Martin Tykal, lead engineer and manager at Solenix, a space engineering company.
Mr Tykal explained to local media that the balloons were designed to travel up to 23 miles into the atmosphere, but in this case, the balloon had drifted further than expected.
‘We believe that due to a slight error during the launch, the balloon rose very high, but not quite high enough to pop,’ said Mr Tykal.
‘As such, it drifted with the winds in the stratosphere all the way from Darmstadt in Germany to Wales.’
The company was happy to learn that their device had not been lost forever.
‘We believed our payload landed in some forest 30 miles away. As we did not hear back from our GPS tracker, we considered the mission lost and had little hope someone could find it and would call us,’ said Mr Tykal.
‘When we got the call and learned that Charlotte is calling us from 560 miles away, that was almost unbelievable.’
The Buckleys will return the balloon to Solenix when later this year.