In 2013, a group of Stanford students launched a weather balloon outfitted with several cameras into space as part of research in fluid lensing – a NASA imaging technology that uses fluid-optical interactions to image objects through distorted surfaces.
The team 3D printed a chassis to house a GoPro Hero 3 and Sony camcorder and a Galaxy Note II phone for taking still pictures and GPS tracking.
The launch was a success but they then lost contact with the balloon and its cameras. They believed they would never see it again.
But recently, a hiker in Arizona came across the chassis and was able to track down the owners from the registered sim card inside the phone.
And thanks to that sheer luck, we now have the amazing footage in the video above.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.