A British teenager, Adam Cudworth, used a home-made "spacecraft" fitted with a second-hand camera he bought on eBay to snap stunningly beautiful photos and footage of the Earth's curvature from a stratospheric height of over 20 miles.
The 19-year-old achieved at a total cost of $320 what NASA achieves with space mission projects that cost millions of dollars.
According to The Telegraph, the teenager bought his "space camera," a Canon A570, off eBay two years ago at about $50. He built his HABE 5 balloon-craft, using an insulated box carrying a GPS device, a radio-transmitter, microprocessor, two temperature sensors and two high-performance solar panels. He sent the package into the Earth's stratosphere using a high-altitude helium balloon with a parachute.
Mashable reports Cudworth released HABE 5 on Thursday. The home-made "spacecraft" soared up to an incredible altitude of 110,210 ft (33,392m), about 20 miles, in just two-and-a-half hours, The Telegraph reports.
According to The Daily Mail, the GPS tracking device allowed Adam to record the speed, G-force and altitude of his "spacecraft" at every point in the journey. The radio transmitter helped him to find it when it fell back to the Earth about 30 miles from his home.
The Telegraph reports the teenager said: "When I retrieved the camera I was stunned - it had captured some incredible photos and footage. The exposure settings were different to my previous two attempts and I used materials which would be more robust in extreme temperatures and this led to clearer photos at altitude."
The images, according to The Sun, look like they could be the latest images taken from a multi-million dollar NASA satellite, but they were actually taken using a second-hand $50 camera.
According to Cudworth,. "I'm now working on a project which will allow me to control where the box lands when it falls back to earth. But that's work-in-progress at the minute and I'll have to be content with this for now."
Earth's curvature captured by Habe 5
The Telegraph reports Cudworth is an engineering student at Nottingham University. His astronautical achievement is backed only by A-Level physics knowledge. According The Sun, the teenager from Ombersley, Worcestershire, said: "It's just a bit of hobby really, I just wanted to set myself a challenge - but I'm amazed at the results. I saw a guy who did a similar thing a couple of years back and I just wanted to recreate them - but better. I have no background in astrophysics or anything like that, I'm just an engineering student. People think its something that costs millions of pounds but I've proved you can do it on just a £200 budget."