Who would have thought that a little creativity and a lot of imagination could launch a device made by a couple of guys in Brooklyn into outer space? I wouldn’t have believed it unless I had seen the video myself.
A group of friends called the Brooklyn Space Program in New York set out in the name of discovery to do the unthinkable: launch a homemade vessel into outer space. Equipped with an HD camcorder for taking videos, an iPhone for GPS tracking, and a weather balloon, they designed a capsule that would withstand the severe conditions of space and capture some images of it. Even with freezing cold temperatures, low pressure, high-speed winds, and the high risk of failure of tracking the thing, they were not only able to launch the capsule, but were able to locate it after it came back to earth and recover some amazing video footage.
Surely these guys had to be privately funded, right? Maybe one of them is an engineer, has access to advanced tools in a machine shop, sent out their contraption to be professionally sealed? Surprisingly, no. Regardless of whether or not any of them have the professional design backgrounds, they succeeded in creating an effective enclosure out of Styrofoam insulation, hand-warmers a la ski slopes and a take-out container. The observation pod rose 19 miles into the air before the weather balloon succumbed to the low atmospheric pressure and popped, sending the device back to earth with a homemade parachute.
You can read up on the project at their web site, and I’d definitely recommend watching the video. They even have a how-to book, if you’re interested in getting in on the action.