Anyone looking to poke a hole in Project Loon — Google's ambitious project to use balloons to bring internet access to remote regions of the world — would likely point out that you can't keep a balloon in one spot. Google has an answer for that, of course. The Project Loon team says it could use wind currents at different levels of the stratosphere to control where balloons move and ensure that the "flock" remains evenly spaced out. That, in turn, would make sure that people down below don't have to wait for one of the airborne antennas to pass overhead before loading the internet.
Dan Piponi of Project Loon explains the technique by showing off some (very cool) simulations in a video released this week to explain the issue. By using publicly-available wind data, balloons can know when to increase or decrease in altitude to catch the current and stay in the right spot. The flock itself would continue to travel across the world — most of the winds in the stratosphere travel west to east — but a steady stream of balloons, evenly spaced out, could maintain stable internet access in areas targeted by the program.