Google’s Internet balloons, part of an ambitious experiment called Project Loon to bring web connectivity to remote areas, have cumulatively traveled 3 million kilometers since 2013, the company said Thursday.
Since announcing the project last July, the search giant’s experimental wing, Google X, has refined the manufacturing process so balloons last 10 times longer–so far, a record of 130 days–in the stratosphere compared with balloons from last year. Furthermore, with automated processes, Google can now launch up to 20 balloons a day. The company is also using computer trajectory simulations to maneuver balloons accurately to their targets.
Google’s made big progress on Project Loon, but it’s not the only company aiming to blanket the world with Internet access. Facebook is also building an army of drones, airplanes, and satellites to bring the web to remote areas lacking Internet infrastructure.
For now, though, take a moment and think about what it means to travel 3 million kilometers: