Scientists and college students alike have beforehand launched low-budget balloons that rise to the higher reaches of Earth’s ambiance, snapping unbelievable photographs from near-space. However MIT’s Icarus staff managed the identical feat utilizing solely off-the-shelf objects, and for a measly price of $150. Right here’s how they did it.
The MIT college students checklist all the things that they used to assemble the launch automobile, together with a pay as you go Motorola i290 telephone with GPS, a cellular phone charger and disposable hand heaters to maintain all the things operable on the chilly excessive altitudes. Fundamental supplies resembling newspaper, zip ties, duct tape and a Styrofoam beer cooler additionally got here in useful.
“We purchased a AA-battery cellular phone charger to maintain the telephone’s energy over the length of the flight, and we used Energizer lithium batteries (rated to function at temperatures are low as -40F) to energy each this charger in addition to our digital camera,” the Icarus staff wrote on their web site.
A Canon A470 digital camera loaded with CHDK open supply software program took photos each 5 seconds at 1/800 second shutter velocity, and permitted the scholars to seize the balloon’s whole journey from launch to retrieval. CHDK is able to all types of tips (together with the intervalometer , and we detailed a number of of them right here–if in case you have a Canon digital camera, it’d positively value testing, even in the event you’re not planning on capturing from house.
Launch day happened on September 2, 2009 from Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The balloon finally reached a peak of 17.5 miles on the uppermost a part of the stratosphere, earlier than popping and returning to Earth through parachute 20 miles away from the launch web site.
Such initiatives solely go to point out what ingenuity can accomplish with the expertise embedded in objects most of us use day by day. It additionally supplies some hope for individuals who lack the funding to deal with a hearth respiratory robo-beast or private submarine.