From GMA News A Lego man holding a Canadian flag has been sent into space by two high school students from Toronto, Canada. Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, attached the legonaut and four cameras to a helium balloon that went up 80,000 feet into the air, the Toronto Star reported.
When the Lego man and the cameras returned to Earth 97 minutes later, they brought footage from some 24 km above sea level, three times the typical cruising altitude of a commercial aircraft, as reported by the Toronto Star. “It shows a tremendous degree of resourcefulness ... For two 17-year-olds to accomplish this on their own is pretty impressive,” said University of Toronto astrophysics professor Dr. Michael Reid.
The mission was accomplished with a $400 budget and four months of weekend work. Since September the two spent Saturdays at Ho’s kitchen table building the balloon.
“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?' We’d be like, ‘We’re sending cameras to space.’ They’d be like, ‘Oh, okayyyyy…,’” Ho said.
The pair assembled a styrofoam box to carry the cameras, and produced a rip-stop nylon parachute that they tested by throwing off the roof of Ho’s father's 40-story condominium unit. Other parts included an $85 weather balloon ordered online, and $160 worth of helium from a party supply store.
After assembling the balloon, the boys loaded the Lego man and the cameras, along with a cell phone with a downloaded GPS app.
When the balloon passed seven km above sea level - out of cellphone-tower range - the GPS signal cut out, prompting the boys to go home and make dumplings. WHAT? - BB At 4:12 p.m., Ho’s iPad started to beep, indicating their "Lego-naut" had re-entered the atmosphere. The balloon touched down in a field near Rice Lake, 122 km from its launch point. The brave legonaut had climbed to about 80,000 feet in one hour and five minutes before the balloon exploded, beginning the 32-minute descent.
The recorded footage shows the legonaut spinning at an altitude three times higher than the peak of Mount Everest, before the balloon bursts and he starts to plummet.
UK's The Guardian said Lego sent a note of congratulations to the boys."We are always amazed by the creative ways in which Lego fans use our products, and humbled by how many unsuspecting places we appear, like attached to a helium balloon in … space," The Guardian quoted the company's brand relations director, Michael McNally, as saying.