It’s easy to forget we live in a modern world where preposterously expensive technology is flying somewhere above our heads at all times. Until one comes crashing down in your backyard, that is.
That’s what happened in Michigan on Saturday morning. Local residents Nancy and Dan Mumby-Welke heard a crash outside, and when they went to investigate they discovered a Samsung-branded machine that had seemingly fallen out of the sky, according to Facebook post from the Gratiot County Herald, shared by Nancy on Facebook.
The machine apparently belongs to Samsung Europe, and is part of a “SpaceSelfie” ad campaign for Galaxy S10 5G that offers people a chance to “get their face in space.” It’s not exactly a satellite, though, as some reports have mentioned.
As Samsung’s own description confirms, the SpaceSelfie mission involved launching a High Altitude Balloon tethered to a “payload box” carrying an S10 5G smartphone. After launch, the balloon carried its payload all the way up to 65,000 feet, which is the lower stratosphere of Earth’s atmosphere.
Once it was in position, customers were able to submit selfies that would be beamed up to the flying Galaxy S10. The smartphone would then show the selfie on its main display while another camera snapped a photo of the person’s face, on a phone screen, with outer space as the backdrop.
Look, I didn’t come up with the plan. You can read more about it right here.
It’s less clear what happened that led the payload box, which launched in South Dakota, to touch down in Michigan. The residents who discovered it also spotted a large balloon stuck in nearby power cables, so that’s probably how the payload box ended up on the ground in someone’s yard.
A Samsung spokesperson blamed the crash landing on unexpected weather conditions in a statement provided to the Detroit Free Press:
“Earlier today, Samsung Europe’s SpaceSelfie balloon came back down to earth. During this planned descent of the balloon to land in the U.S., weather conditions resulted in an early soft landing in a selected rural area. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.”