Product Reviews from a Scientific Perspective

Friday, February 4, 2011

Amateurs use balloon to film Earth from space (Wired)

By Amy Rolph

Who needs a satellite to take pictures from space?
Two Ph.D. candidates from Sheffield University in England launched a weather balloon into near space to capture footage usually only seen in photos from NASA or research groups.
The result of the three-hour experiment was a breathtaking view of the world from above. A panoramic shot of the footage is posted on Flickr with the title "Thin Blue Line."
Chris Rose and Alex Baker, both studying mechanical engineering, told they wanted to inspire an "I can do that, too" reaction in others.
They posted a video on YouTube showing how they launched and retrieved the camera -- and what it saw during that time. Click "Read More" to see the video.
The entire apparatus -- built using a latex balloon, hand warmers and a GPS unit, among other things -- cost about $500 to make. has a list of materials you'd need to replicate the effort. This isn't the first time an amateur has filmed Earth from space.

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