The Sun, the Moon, the Watermelon Flowers


The coming shadow pushes a welcome breeze under the ninety-six-degree air before it. NASA researchers, joining others positioned across the eclipse path from Oregon to South Carolina, launch their last two balloons. The balloons, with boxes in tow to gauge air-pressure and temperature in the Martian-like stratosphere, swell before a news crew like the Statue of Liberty blowing bubblegum. One balloon hefts a camera. The other dangles microbes found living like barnacles outside the International Space Station. When a balloon released earlier that morning bursts, Douglas, a team leader, says, “Good thing they didn’t catch that on film,” since the…


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