Holy Crap Citizen Science Dept: Teens w $60 camera and a latex balloon take photos from space.


The stratosphere, as photographed by a group of four Spanish schoolboys, or their balloon, anyway.

Well, okay, maybe it's citizen space photography instead of citizen science. But still. Gotta love this. From the Telegraph:

Proving that you don't need Google's billions or the BBC weather centre's resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere.

Taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year.

Building the electronic sensor components from scratch, Gerard Marull Paretas, Sergi Saballs Vila, Marta Gasull Morcillo and Jaume Puigmiquel Casamort managed to send their heavy duty £43 latex balloon to the edge of space and take readings of its ascent.

Created by the four students under the guidance of teacher Jordi Fanals Oriol, the budding scientists, all aged 18-19, followed the progress of their balloon using high tech sensors communicating with Google Earth.

Team leader Gerard Marull, 18, said: "We were overwhelmed at our results, especially the photographs, to send our handmade craft to the edge of space is incredible."

And I love this part, which reminds me of my own and then my older son's adventures shooting Estes rockets and then tracking them down to find them. Only we used line of sight instead of Google Maps:

Due to the changing atmospheric pressures, the helium weather balloon carrying the meteorological equipment was expected to inflate to a maximum of nine and a half metres as it travelled upwards at 270 metres-per-minute.

"We took readings as the balloon rose and mapped its progress using Google Earth and the onboard radio receiver," said Gerard.

May their names be shouted out and may they all win scholarships.

Full story's worth a read. Apparently the group has a twitter feed but I can't find it. If you have it, please shoot a note in the comments. o


More like this

I didn't find a twitter feed either, but they have blog at :


where they explain their work. It's in catalan but it can be translated via google, that's not perfect but it should do.


By Antoni Jaume (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 #permalink