Saturday, January 29, 2022

Google’s Sergey Brin Has a Secret NASA Airship in the Works

Google’s Sergey Brin Has a Secret NASA Airship in the Works

One of Google’s head honchos, Sergey Brin, is apparently trying to live out some fantasy in a way that only a quirky Silicon Valley billionaire could. According to a Bloomberg report, the tech magnate is building an airship and he’s trying to keep the whole thing under wraps.

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Sergey Brin’s Secret Airship

Brin has stashed his secret airship with NASA, currently located in Hangar 2 at NASA Ames Research Center. This is according to four sources with knowledge of the project thaNASA Google Airshipt contacted Bloomberg about the matter. Additionally, it is unknown whether its construction is for personal entertainment or if it is connected to some overarching business plan.

A subsidiary of Google, Planetary Ventures, took over the hangers at the Ames research center when it was awarded a lease in 2014. The project, which is independent of Alphabet Inc, is being built in one of these hangers as the company has essentially turned them into laboratories for their work.

Engineers have already made the metal frame for the flying vessel, which according to the report takes up much of the hangar.

Furthermore, Brin seems to have always been fascinated with airships. Indeed, his interest in the crafts began when he started visiting Ames, which is relatively close to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Ames was home to the USS Macon, a large airship built by the U.S. Navy. Allegedly, Brin’s decision to build his own airship was made after he spent some time looking over old photos of the Macon.

When Bloomberg reached out to Brin for a comment he was unwilling to provide any information about his plans, “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now,” he wrote in an email.

Silicon Valley Futurism

Brin’s project is secret and NASA is involved with it, albeit indirectly and whose role in all of this is not completely clear. NASA’s presence just adds to the mystique of a situation that is already alluring for it being a wacky side project of a prominent tech billionaire.

However, futuristic inspired pursuits are not uncommon in Silicon Valley, with entire business models even being centered around it (think Elon Musk). From Musk’s SpaceX to Uber’s self-driving cars, futurism has seemingly become a commonplace thing in the area.

In fact, Larry Page, Brin’s colleague and fellow Google founder, has also contributed to this culture. Like Brin, Page apparently has an interest in flying as well, having invested in a couple flying car projects — that he had also kept secret until recently — Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, both of which are independent of Alphabet inc.

How Much of It Is Elitism?

The public often views these kinds of projects favorably. Elon Musk’s proposal of the Hyperloop, for instance, went viral and had largely positive feedback. However, sometimes ventures like these can come with criticism and allegations of elitism abound.

This has been true for Google as the lot they leased out from NASA has also been used by another Google subsidiary, H211, to host Google executives’ fleet of private jets. The decision to lease the land out to Google was criticized by Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group, said in a statement that giving Google control of the airport only rewards the bad behavior of Google executives.

What do you think of Brin’s secret airship? Let’s hear your thoughts.


Images Via SlashGear and NASA

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