If you like cool space videos and heart-warming stories, you’re in luck, as a group of university students in the US who sent a camera to space two years ago have just been reunited with it. And the footage is great.
After getting the all-clear from the bods at the FAA in June 2013, the friends from Stanford University launched a GoPro camera attached to a weather balloon into the skies along with an AT&T connected smartphone.
The phone wasn’t a ploy to entice extra-terrestrials to phone home, it was so that the team could use its GPS to track the device when it eventually landed, hopefully in an area mapped out with good coverage.
But if lost Russian space gekkos on a sex mission has taught us anything, it's that not all space launches go to plan. And, as the weather balloon burst, plummeting back down towards earth, it detoured a good deal and the team were unable to monitor the dusty pile it found itself in.
Fast-forward to this very month and something wonderful happened.
We’ll leave it to the team leader’s Bryan Chan to explain. Posting the amazing tale on Reddit, he said: “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. 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!”
Best of all, the resulting GoPro footage was better than the group could have imagined, documenting its 19 mile trip above the ground and 100 minutes in the air before coming back down to earth some 50 miles from the launch site. The views of the Grand Canyon from the edge of space seem to have been worth the effort alone.
Watch the video for yourself above.
If it’s anything like finding a fiver stuffed inside the back pocket of your jeans, we can only imagine how the team will be feeling right now.