In 2013, after months of planning, a group of Stanford University students launched a GoPro camera attached to a weather balloon to the edge of space.
It would float up nearly 19 miles over Earth and then parachute back down. The balloon also carried a phone programmed to broadcast a signal once the camera landed back on Earth. The plan was to use this signal to find the camera and the amazing images it had captured.
After falling to Earth the package never phoned home, so they assumed they’d programmed the phone wrong or miscalculated the balloon’s trajectory.
Two years later, a hiker found the phone and tracked down the owners using the memory card. And all the incredible footage was still intact. Instead of being destroyed, it just so happened the phone just never got any signal, because it landed in a remote part of the wildnerness where there wasn’t coverage, according to one of the students’ reddit post.
It was eventually found by a hiker, who just happened to be an AT&T employee, who brought it into the store and reunited camera (and phone) with its long-lost launchers.
Below are the amazing shots from the GoPro.
The students launched their GoPro-carrying weather balloon near the Grand Canyon:
It floated high above the Earth. Here’s the view from about 7.2 miles:
It reached its highest point at just over 18 miles — that’s when the weather balloon popped. You can see the pieces of the balloon in the footage:
It fell for 30 minutes before finally reaching the ground:
Check out the whole video of the ascent and descent, uploaded to YouTube by Bryan Chan, one of the students who participated in the project:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.