Canadian teens send Legonaut 15 miles into atmosphere

No spacesuit required: The Lego man floated some 15 miles above sea level.

(Credit:
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Why build a Gingrichian lunar colony, which would cost billions, when you can send a man nearly into space for only $400?

That’s what Canadians Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad did with an albeit plastic man from Lego and a modified weather balloon.

The 17-year-olds from Toronto bought an $85 weather balloon online and rigged it to a Styrofoam box equipped with three point-and-shoot cameras and a wide-angle video camera.

They threw in $160 worth of helium from a party supply store, a dash of superglue, and voila, a Legonaut was born.

The toy ascended 80,000 feet over Ontario, recording the awesome footage in the video below, before floating back to Earth some 97 minutes later on a homemade nylon parachute.

It landed near Rice Lake, some 75 miles away from the soccer field where it was launched. A GPS-enabled cell phone onboard told the boys where to go.

The project took about four months of planning on Saturdays, but it wasn’t homework for the pair of 12th graders at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

Ho, who has dreams of being an entrepreneur, decided to try his hand at astral toy tourism after watching … [Read more]

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