Two Years in the making
Saturday, September 12, 2015, 3:20 PM – Two years ago a group of friends attached a GoPro camera to a weather balloon and sent it to the edge of space.
The balloon drifted out of cell phone tower range and they thought it was gone for good until earlier this summer, when they received a phone call from a woman.
She had been hiking when she came across a mysterious box that contained, among other things, a phone and a GoPro camera. She took it to an AT&T store and they were able to identify the owner of the phone via the SIM card.
Two years later the camera was still in working order and contained 1 hour and 38 minutes of amazing footage.
During the experiment the weather balloon climbed nearly 30 kilometres in the air and managed to capture a spectacular shot of the Grand Canyon.
Bryan Chan was involved in the experiment, which needed to be cleared with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prior to launch.
On the content-sharing website Reddit, he says the smartphone attached to the weather balloon was using an app that texted its location to the team as it descended back down to Earth.
“The problem was that the coverage map we were relying on … was not accurate, so the phone never got signal as it came back to Earth, and we never heard from it,” he writes.
The box containing the camera landed about 80 km from the launch site in an unpopulated area.
Chan says the experiment took four months to plan, and the group was upset when they thought they’d lost their camera for good.
“We were all moping around, making bets on when (if ever) it would be found … when just a couple months ago, a woman contacts us,” he writes on Reddit.
“We were all freaking out for a few days after we got a hold of all the video footage and data.”