How does the world look like from above? Due to curiosity, Tyler Reid, Ashish Goel, Ved Chirayath, Paul Taratino, and Bryan Chan decided to take photos of the Earth in June 2013. To do this, they created a device using a mobile phone, a camcorder, a GoPro, and a weather balloon. Together, they inflated the balloon and prepared all other equipment needed.
Before they started their amazing science feat, they first registered their balloon and its components to the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure nothing will interfere their launch, not even an aircraft. Then they computed the trajectory of the device to make sure it would follow the correct path.
When everything was set, they brought the balloon to a desert, somewhere away Tuba City. Their goal was to use the GPS of the mobile phone to locate the balloon after the launch.
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Shortly after the launch, the weather balloon floated so high that it was no longer reachable by any cell site. Because of that, the group lost contact with the GPS.
Still, they did not lose hope. They waited several months until they could be able to reach the device again. Months passed, but still, nothing was heard about the balloon.
Two years after, one of them received a call from a hiker in Arizona. He was about 50 miles from the place where they launched the balloon. He said he found a strange box with the names of the students on it.
The students then hurried and checked the device to see the photos taken while it was still floating in the Earth’s stratosphere.
The camera in the balloon was able to take several shots of the Grand Canyon. Also, they found out that it flew up in the air for 98 minutes and reached a height of 98,664 feet above the ground.