British 19 year-old Adam Cudworth accomplished a feat generally reserved for astronauts and NASA scientists. Using a simple do-it-yourself project that he created during his spare time after school and then launched last Thursday, Cudworth took pictures of the Earth from space.
Cudworth’s homemade spacecraft included a camera he purchased from eBay for just under $50, a GPS to aid in the retrieval of the device once it landed, a radio transmitter, and a microprocessor all encased in an insulated weatherproof box. The British teen launched the device 20 miles into the sky with the aid of a large helium weather balloon reports Yahoo! News.
The device recorded two and a half hours of incredible video footage comparable to the images NASA’s team would produce after spending hundreds of millions of dollars and given much more technologically advanced instruments and tools. The Daily Mail notes that Cudworth is modest about the feat he accomplished, stating:
“I just wanted to set myself a challenge — but I’m amazed at the results. I saw a guy who did a similar thing a couple of years back and I just wanted to recreate them — but better.”
After last Thursday’s launch of the balloon-and-camera contraption, Adam Cudworth tracked the balloon as it climbed three times as high as a commercial airplane before it burst, landing in Broadway, Worcestershire — just 30 miles from his house. The camera recorded videos and took pictures while the built-in circuit board recorded the speed, G-force, and altitude the balloon reached.
Adam stated of the results that:
“When I retried the camera I was stunned — it had captured some incredible photos and footage. The exposure settings were different to my previous attempts. I used materials which would be more robust in extreme temperatures and this led to clearer photos at altitude. The onboard video camera recorded great footage close to the ground after launch.”
For his next project, Adam Cudworth hopes to control where the box will land when it falls from the sky. But for now, the British student says he will have to be happy with the data he retrieved this time around.