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NASA weather device carrying 'Not a Bomb' note investigated by bomb squad

Contributed by
Aug 10, 2018

NASA has been working tirelessly to progress humanity’s reach in space while furthering our understanding of the way Earth works — and not without a sense of humor. However, one summer student’s lighthearted wording in a note may have been a step too far for the organization.

According to Gizmodo, things got a little heated when a NASA-created ozone sonde (basically a wire-filled white styrofoam box that helps Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management monitor smog events) landed in a New Jersey solar panel field. It would’ve caused a bit of hubbub, sure, as something that fell from the sky attached to a parachute. But it was the attached note that caused a bit of drama.

“NASA Atmospheric Research Instrument NOT A BOMB! If this lands near the President, we at NASA wish him a great round of golf,” the note read, referencing Donald Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, about 30 miles away from the landing site (and where Trump actually was when the device landed). Of course, as anything that declared it wasn’t a bomb and mentioned the president would, the box was investigated by a bomb squad and the Secret Service. However, it was determined that this note was simply a “misguided attempt to be lighthearted” by a summer student who has since been let go.

But, since one of the other six “Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study” devices did land near the golf course, the note’s greeting doesn’t seem like anything other than a friendly intergovernmental nod.

But NASA’s taking no chances. “We’ve had some pretty bad smog events this summer, and I’d hate to see the effort get sidetracked over an ill-advised note,” the project’s lead scientist, Paul Miller said. No reason to risk instigating the president, who has yet to mention the event.

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