A project that cost only $400 and four months of their free Saturdays has captured footage of Lego man being launched into an estimated 24 kilometres above sea level. That is three times the level a commercial airplane travels. The boys affixed four cameras to the payload and a parachute that was linked to GPS so it could be recovered.
“People would walk into the house and see us building this fantastical thing with a parachute from scratch, and they would be like, ‘What are you doing?’ We’d be like, ‘We’re sending cameras to space.’ They’d be like, ‘Oh, okayyyyy…,’” Mathew Ho explained about their Lego man space adventure. He added, “By no means are we, like, seamstresses. We broke like, what, four needles? It was ridiculous.”
Mathew Ho dreamt of this idea two summers ago when he saw a video online of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students sending a balloon into near space. He decided he wanted to try it. TheStar reported that he approached Asad Muhammad in the hallway of Agincourt Collegiate Institute since he knew he had a passion for things that are “flight-related.” His goal is to be an aircraft technician, so he has applied to engineering programs at U of T and Centennial College.
The 17-year old boys searched on Craigslist and Kijiji for used Canon point-and-shoots since they can be programmed to take pictures every 20 seconds.
After all the parts were assembled, with a Styrofoam container that had spots for three Canon point and shoot cameras, a wide-angle video camera, and a cellphone with a downloaded GPS app, and of course, don’t forget about the Lego man that was super-glued to a plank with him holding a Canadian flag.
Based on the teens’ calculations, Lego man had climbed about 80,000 feet in one hour and five minutes before the balloon exploded, which led to Lego man’s 32-minute landing. After the teens got home they uploaded 1,500 pictures and two videos of Lego man’s near space adventure. Lego man reached an altitude three times higher than the peak of Mount Everest.
Ho turned to Muhammad with a handshake and said, “Congratulations Asad, we did it.”
Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad explain how they sent Lego Man into Space. Press picture to play video below.