Sometimes technology for what seems like a seriously intense, high-end (and I mean that literally as well) function can be made simply and without too much of stress on your pocket book. Take these two guys for example – Alex Baker (age 26) and Chris Rose (age 25), a couple of PhD students from Sheffield University in South Yorkshire, England, who designed, built and launched their own little ‘earth capture’ camera unit into space. There was no hydrogen or other fueled rocket involved here, just simple stuff that could be bought at any local convenience store.
Their rig consisted of a GPS device that would relay co-ordinates to the ‘Dynamic-duo’ via text message after a simple call made to the device, an couple of HD digital cameras (one looks remarkably like a Creative Vado HD and the other like a Sony digicam), duct tape, a specially designed Styrofoam box to house the devices and a large helium filled balloon. The camera and GPS device were placed inside the box into slots that were cut out to keep them steady and then sealed with duct tape to keep the devices inside toasty warm while traversing the frigid outer regions (-50 degrees) of the planet.
The pair even made sure that wherever the box landed it would be returned safely to them. They did this by simply putting their numbers and names and sticking to the package. Can this get anymore low tech?
Footage and images captured with this low budget system looked really impressive. The whole kit cost them no more than Rs. 25,000 which included the price of the cameras, GPS device and all other items. Just goes to show, all it takes sometimes are great minds with no money to do something out of this world, well, almost out of this world.