MIT Student Takes Pictures from Space on Less Than $150 (w/ Video)

October 2, 2009 by Miranda Marquit weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- When we think of taking pictures of the earth from space, we assume that a great deal of money has to be spent on high-tech equipment and complex vehicles to get the camera up there. But, as a student at MIT has managed to prove, you can get great pictures from space for $150.

Oliver Yeh recruited two friends to help with Project Icarus, designed to take images showing Earth's curvature. The pictures were taken using time-lapse photography, using a second-hand sent up on a weather balloon. The Guardian reports on the way Yeh managed his set-up:

The camera, which Yeh bought on , was positioned inside the coolbox to protect it from -40C temperatures 17.6 miles above the Earth's surface. He cut a small hole for the lens then hooked the camera up to a computer programme that instructed it to take photographs every five seconds. He also placed a phone inside that broadcast its co-ordinates to help the team find and retrieve the device when the helium-filled balloon popped and it returned to Earth on a .

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The pictures, which are available on Yeh's site, were made into a video that showed the time lapse. It is an interesting video that offers stunning pictures of higher quality than one would expect for less than $150. In the end, it gets one thinking about what can be accomplished with a good dose of ingenuity.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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