Monday, September 14, 2009

Take Pictures Of Space For Only $150

I want to give credit where credit is due.

A couple MIT students spent $150 on common items anyone can buy and took some breathtaking pictures of space.  See below.

VISA, here is a new commercial to do:

Helium Balloon: $20
Helium to fill Balloon: $30
GPS-equipped cell phone: $50
Camera encased in insulating Styrofoam: $50

Pictures of Space: Priceless.


  1. That is pretty sweet. What I want to know is how they got the balloon back after it landed.

  2. Nick, that's what the GPS-equipped cell phone was for. It was a cheap GPS system.

  3. I understand how they found it, but I'm more curious as to how they got to where it landed. If it were released on the East coast I would expect it to end up somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. They must have found somewhere that the wind was negligible and the trip must not have taken more than a few hours.

  4. I am curious how they got it to take the pictures. I saw that they downloaded different Firmware onto their camera but then did they have it on a timer just to take shots at regular intervals.

    I am thinking about getting my own balloon and installing that firmware on my camera!

  5. Jared, that is an interesting question. I have no ideas what they did. Tell me if the firmware works out for you.

  6. Here's the page where they talk about the hardware:

  7. Nick these things don't fly nearly as far as you might think. The BYU physics department, as I recall, did something like this in the early 90's albeit with much more primitive technology.

    The nice thing about balloons for this is that there are far, far fewer regulations on them than rockets. (Especially post 9/11 where a bunch of ridiculous laws applying to rocketry were enacted)


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