Balloon Spotting

By Sebastian Sprenger / October 29, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced a novel way to win $40,000: Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Internet, agency officials will deploy 10 tethered, red balloons all over the continental United States in early December. The idea for participants in the challenge is to mobilize social media-savvy friends who will supply location information through Facebook, or Twitter or what-have-you whenever they spot one of the specimens.

The spectacle will "explore the role the Internet and social networking plays in the timely communication, wide area team-building and urgent mobilization required to solve broad scope, time-critical problems," DARPA said in an announcement today.

Bets are still being taken for how long it will take for the first participant to get all 10 locations right.