The MIT students list everything that they used to assemble the launch vehicle, including a prepaid Motorola i290 phone with GPS, a cell phone charger and disposable hand warmers to keep everything operable at the cold high altitudes. Basic materials such as newspaper, zip ties, duct tape and a Styrofoam beer cooler also came in handy.
"We bought a AA-battery cell phone charger to sustain the phone's power over the duration of the flight, and we used Energizer lithium batteries (rated to operate at temperatures are low as -40F) to power both this charger as well as our camera," the Icarus team wrote on their website.
A Canon A470 camera loaded with CHDK open source software took pictures every 5 seconds at 1/800 second shutter speed, and permitted the students to capture the balloon's entire journey from launch to retrieval. CHDK is capable of all kinds of tricks (including the intervalometer , and we detailed several of them here--if you have a Canon camera, it'd definitely worth checking out, even if you're not planning on shooting from space.
Launch day took place on September 2, 2009 from Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The balloon ultimately reached a height of 17.5 miles at the uppermost part of the stratosphere, before popping and returning to Earth via parachute 20 miles away from the launch site.
Such projects only go to show what ingenuity can accomplish with the technology embedded in items most of us use daily. It also provides some hope for those who lack the funding to tackle a fire breathing robo-beast or personal submarine.
Wow! What a beautiful view! For 150 dollars only too...
One of the projects that served as inspiration to these students is the balloon Alexei Karpenko launched 2 years ago:
Alexei's project inspired a lot of people. Kudos to him, and kudos to these students for finding a new spin on an old idea.
A couple of friends of mine and I did the exact same experiment in August. We used the same phone and tracking software, a similar camera with the same software. Its really a good way to go.
Video of the launch, photos from the balloon and a writeup on the parts used can be found on our project's blog http://spaceballoonproject.blogspot.com
Wow. Amazing photo and great effort from the MIT team. Must have been a fun project.
wish there were more people like that, would make the world a better place
I would proably crash my camera. The students did an awesome job.
Wow, a great shot with amazing clarity. Get these boys to NASA and show them how to do it without increasing our national debt.
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Extremely clever and very cool. Showing up NASA seems to be all the rage these days.
Defiantly going to be reading all i can on this subject! My science class will love this experiment, maybe i can attach other reading devices such as temp and humidity and light intensity readers to gather even more data! If anyone has any ideas how to do this let me know! Possibly using a H.O.B.O.ware?
That experiment by the MIT team was very cool.
Project Infinity | The Near-Space Hi-Definition Photography
Three students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University launched the camera with balloon to beyond 100,000 feet. They have become first student team to capture images of planet Venus and stars from the Scorpion constellation from a weather balloon flight.
You can visit their website at www.thelimitisinfinity.com
Duz yiz nose the diffarnse among definitely and defiantly? Pares knot!!Probly yer jest az gude at Psi-ants, 2 :(
I want to take my girlfriend on a romantic ride in space: do you think I could easily manufacture a device for 150 dollars that could do the job? Now, that would be really cool, would it not? I'm going to give those MIT guys a call. They might have a solution for this too...
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This looks to be a very fun and interesting project. A few ideas of improvement include:
* Having one or several overfill areas for the lifting gas so the gas bags do not explode.
* Having a para glider-like attachment to accurately control the direction of the decent.
* Having more cameras on board to see more angles.
Of course, this all costs money, and perhaps more importantly, weight to the project. Very good job nonetheless!