Does Sasquatch (or Sasquatches) really exist? That question has been hotly debated by the scientific community for decades. But now, one Idaho State University cryptozoological team is hoping to finally provide a definitive answer -- using this autonomous blimp outfitted with NASA-quality photographic equipment.
The program, dubbed The Falcon Project, is the brainchild of ISU professor and Bigfoot hunter, Jeff Meldrum. It is comprehensive, to say the least, employing an unmanned blimp, long range camera equipment, a "quick response investigative ground team" -- even passive tracking devices. "You know, putting out a transmitter in a banana that can be passed through the gut and while it's internal serve as a tracking device," Meldrum told Co.Design. "Those kinds of things."
The centrepiece of the project is the 15-metre wide Falcon blimp. Based on a commercial double blimp UAV typically used for outdoor marketing, the Falcon employs a pair of balloons and relies on a proprietary engine design to (somehow) cruise silently at up to 45 knots. It will carry an HD thermal imaging telephoto camera with a 1024 x 768 resolution for picking up the heat signatures of any Bigfeet that might be loitering below.
The primary problem that Meldrum's team is facing is (not altogether surprisingly) one of funding. The Falcon blimp alone costs about $US240,000, the camera another $US60,000. Add in the passive tracking systems and salaries for the fast response team and the Falcon Project is will cost an estimated $US400,000 in just the first year of operation.
Meldrum isn't worried. "I expected a groundswell of support from the Bigfoot community," Meldrum said to Co.Design, despite the project's Kickstarter campaign raising just $US11,865 over 45 days (three per cent of its goal). In order to get this Falcon off the ground and get a Bigfoot in its sights, Meldrum will first have to find an even more elusive beast -- a willing investor. [Falcon Project via Co.Design]