Sorry, we’re not able to talk about it.
Those were the only words uttered to the press by a group of people testing a bizarre-looking bubble contraption in suburban Lowell, Massachusetts. On a grassy empty lot next to Pawtucket Boulevard, a group of people was hoisting a massive inflatable bubble in the air using a crane. Inside the bubble was a human dummy suspended in a system of rigging. As the group repeated hoisted and dropped the weird bubble-pod-thing, a group of onlookers gathered round. Nonetheless, specators were kept in the dark about what the pod and its purpose might be.
Mostly in the dark. Lowell Fire Deputy Chief Phillip Charron told the Lowell Sun that while he can’t be too specific, the device is indeed a human safety device of some kind:
There’s a company there testing a new device and it’s for dropping a human being from a high altitude and having them land safely. They were doing testing at that location using a crane, which I’m sure you saw and it’s part of their preliminary testing of dropping the device from a crane up to 100 feet and they calculate the data, and that’s what they’re using to base further development of the product on.
Deputy Chief Phillip Charron also added that whoever they might be, the secretive group requested the proper permits from the town ahead of time. Lowell resident Hemchand Berajawala came down from his nearby condo to see what the strange orb might be, telling reporters he believes it’s some new, secret space technology being tested:
As a matter of fact, I don’t know what’s going on and they don’t want to tell us, but I think that something has to do with the space. The guy is going up and he’s going to come back to the same capsule. Whatever it is called. They should have told in the newspaper or something. To advertise or something, so the kids will enjoy what’s going on because this is future for the kids.
Could this device be some sort of futuristic high-altitude escape pod? Are commercial space firms looking into new ways of keeping space pilots and passengers alive in the event of emergencies? Lowell just so happens to be only about 30 miles (48 km) from MIT and their Man Vehicle Laboratory whose stated goal is to “to optimize overall human-vehicle system effectiveness and safety.” Maybe it’s some kind of hyper-expanding four-dimensional material housed in a super-cool space suit which inflates with the pull of a cord. Who knows? I know one thing: I want a turn in it.