In the 2009 Pixar animated cartoon "Up" a widower affixes hundreds of balloons to his house and floats high above the clouds and between continents.
An idea that may sound equally preposterous is to float a very large ballooned vehicle right up to the edge of space - and then give it a boost into orbit.
On Oct. 22, the altitude record for lighter-than-air craft was broken when an airship launched from Nevada's Black Rock desert ascended to 95,085 feet. After one of two tandem balloons affixed to a 30-foot long carbon airframe burst, a command was sent to release the other balloon and the vehicle parachuted back home.
It's designers, the California-based company JP Aerospace that builds military balloons, say this is just the beginning of a plan to loft a manned station to 200,000 ft. It would serve as a gateway to low Earth orbit.
Talk about up, up and away, as the rock group The Fifth Dimension crooned in 1967.
This is a logical extension of aviation history where lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air vehicles vied for dominance of the sky. In 1783, the first aeronauts in history flew aboard a hot air balloon to an altitude of 1,500 feet. They were a sheep, a duck, and a hen.