SCIENCE

'Lost' GoPro Records Stunning Grand Canyon Footage From Edge Of Space

The camera reached an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet.

A GoPro camera lost after being launched in a weather balloon two years ago has been recovered, and it has some incredible footage of the Grand Canyon as seen from the edge of space. 

Bryan Chan and four of his friends, all students at Stanford University, sent the camera and a phone up in a balloon from Tuba City, Arizona, in 2013

During the 90-minute flight, the balloon soared to a height of nearly 100,000 feet -- into the stratosphere -- before it burst:

The ballon was gathering data for a dissertation on Fluid Lensing by Ved Chirayath, but the incredible footage was almost lost forever.  Although the group had been using an app to track its GPS location, the phone lost the signal.

"The problem was that the coverage map we were relying on (looking at you, AT&T) was not accurate, so the phone never got signal as it came back to Earth, and we never heard from it," Chan wrote on reddit. 

The phone landed some 50 miles away, roughly in the area they expected. Yet without the GPS signal, they were unable to find it. 

"TWO YEARS LATER, in a twist of ironic fate, a woman who works at AT&T was on a hike one day and spotted our phone in the barren desert," Chan wrote. "She brings it to an AT&T store, and they identify my friend's SIM card. We got the footage and data a few weeks later!"

Check it out in the clip above, which also shows the elaborate planning and preparations that went into the project.  

If you're planning a similar stunt, be sure to go through proper channels. Chan wrote: 

(I)t could be potentially dangerous for pilots and other aircraft. We registered with the FAA and let them know our desired time, location of launch, and the balloon's predicted trajectory ahead of time. They responded back with a location and time window in which we could launch our balloon. 

 

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