Oct. 18, 2010 at 6:44 PM ET
Tech-savvy amateurs have been capturing video from the edge of space for more than a year, using cameras lofted into the stratosphere by weather balloons. But now it's gotten to the point that a Brooklyn cinematographer and his 7-year-old son can pull off the stunt.
After eight months' worth of experimentation and low-altitude test runs, Luke Geissbuhler and his son Max sent up an instrument package with an HD video camera and an iPhone from Newburgh, N.Y., to the 100,000-foot level (19 miles high, or 30.5 kilometers). From that height, you can see the curving Earth and the atmosphere's glow beneath the black sky of space.
What goes up must come down, however: At the end of a 70-minute ascent, the balloon burst - and the parachute-equipped, foam-cushioned craft hurtled back to Earth. That's where the iPhone came in. Thanks to its GPS capability, the Geissbuhlers could track their "Space Balloon" experiment and find it in the dead of night, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the launch point. The rest is near-space history, as you can see from the video above and from the Geissbuhlers' website. Next up: a how-to book written for kids and parents.
More near-space adventures:
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