While some teens may spend their Saturday's sleeping in and watching reality TV shows, two Canadian high school students show us just what a few months worth of Saturdays and less than $500 of pooled resources can do. Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad have sent a Lego man to where, perhaps, no lego man has gone before -- 24 kilometres up.
Check out the video showing the finished product of the teens' homemade balloon equipped with four cameras lifting Lego man to new heights:
The Toronto Star reports that the "near space" height the vessel reached during its 97 minute flight was three times more than commercial flight altitude and triple the height of Mt. Everest. The boys, since September, have spent their Saturdays building the balloon at Ho's kitchen table, which the Star reports cost them about $400.
The Star has more on the process:
“People would walk into the house and see us building this fantastical thing with a parachute from scratch, and they would be like, ‘What are you doing?” says Ho. “We’d be like, ‘We’re sending cameras to space.’ They’d be like, ‘Oh, okayyyyy….’”
Ho had already assembled a super-light Styrofoam box to carry the cameras. So with a $500 self-imposed budget in mind, the two scoured Craigslist and Kijiji for used point-and-shoots. They needed Canons, which can be programmed to take photos every 20 seconds without stopping.
Next they sewed the parachute.
“By no means are we, like, seamstresses,” says Ho. “We broke like, what, four needles? It was ridiculous.”
Ho and Muhammad purchased a weather balloon, helium and cameras and put the whole contraption together. The boys used an app that would estimate the landing spot of the balloon, which was predicting Rochester, New York. The Star reports the boys didn't "like their chances with U.S. Homeland Security". So they waited till weather conditions changed and a Canadian landing site was predicted.
The Star reports that the boys were pleased with the outcome of the project:
Ho turned to Muhammad. “Congratulations Asad, we did it,” he said, and shook his friend’s hand.
Since the video was posted on YouTube on Jan. 25, it has nearly a half a million views.