first_imgIf you visit the Google search homepage today you will see yet another one of their interactive Google Doodles. This time it’s part interaction, part game, and sees you take control of a balloon as it turns into a parachute.The Doodle has been created to celebrate the 216th anniversary of the first ever parachute jump. It was performed by a very brave Frenchman called Jacque Garnerin on October 22, 1797.Although there were parachutes created as early as 1783, they all used a frame consisting of linen stretched across a wooden structure. It wasn’t until after 1793 when Jean-Pierre Blanchard started experimenting with folded up silk that the frame disappeared. Then in 1797 Garnerin used such a parachute for the first time.His idea was to ascend in a balloon that used seven meters of silk tied to the basket and balloon. When he reached 3,000 feet above the Parc Monceau in Paris he cut ties with the balloon, the silk parachute opened, and he descended in the basket, landing without injury. Garnerin went on to add vents to the parachute, which made for a much more stable descent.Today the modern parachute is folded and placed on a jumper’s back. We’ve even developed the ability to travel far greater distances while falling with wingsuits, but ultimately still need to deploy a parachute for a safe landing.The most interesting thing about this Google Doodle is the variety of places you can land. The wind can push your parachute great distances left or right, and so far I’ve landed on grassy hills, in the water next to a ship. and at the feet of an elephant. And knowing Google, there’s sure to be a number of easter eggs to uncover.last_img

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