London, March 18 (ANI): Four Spanish students have managed to take stunning pictures of space from 20-miles above Earth, using only a 56 pounds camera and latex balloon.
According to a report in the Telegraph, taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal School in Catalonia, Spain, completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year.
Building the electronic sensor components from scratch, Gerard Marull Paretas, Sergi Saballs Vila, Marta Gasull Morcillo and Jaume Puigmiquel Casamort managed to send their heavy duty 43 pounds latex balloon to the edge of space and take readings of its ascent.
Created by the four students under the guidance of teacher Jordi Fanals Oriol, the budding scientists, all aged 18-19, followed the progress of their balloon using high tech sensors communicating with Google Earth.
"We were overwhelmed at our results, especially the photographs, to send our handmade craft to the edge of space is incredible," said team leader Gerard Marull.
Completing their landmark experiment on February, the Meteotek team had to account for a wide variety of variables and rely on a lot of luck.
"The balloon we chose was inflated with helium to just over two metres and weighed just 1500 grams. It was able to carry the sensor equipment and digital Nikon camera which weighed 1.5kg," said Gerard.
"However, when we launched at 9.10am on that morning, the critical point for the experiment was to see if the balloon would make it past 10,000m, or 30,000ft, which is the altitude that commercial airliners fly at," he added.
Due to the changing atmospheric pressures, the helium weather balloon carrying the meteorological equipment was expected to inflate to a maximum of nine and a half meters as it traveled upwards at 270 meters-per-minute.
"We took readings as the balloon rose and mapped its progress using Google Earth and the onboard radio receiver," said Gerard. "At over 100,000ft, the balloon lost its inflation and the equipment was returned to the earth," he added.
"We traveled 10km to find the sensors and photographic card, which was still emitting its signal, even though it had been exposed to the most extreme conditions," he further added. (ANI)