Stratospheric photo ingenuity
Robert Harrison has captured images of the Earth from 22 miles up using a Canon Sure Shot camera fixed in a polystyrene box and attached to a helium balloon.
First the Yorkshire father of three launches a helium balloon from his garden. The balloon goes up twenty-two miles into the stratosphere - higher than a U2 spy plane - carrying a polystyrene box held together with duct tape and containing Harrison's Canon Sure Shot. As the balloon bursts and the box with the Canon 7.1 mega pixel digital camera begins to fall, a parachute automatically deploys. A computer attached to the camera triggers a picture every five minutes while the box floats back to earth. Harrison's GPS tracking and attached radio transmitter allow him to retrieve camera and pictures after touchdown.
He did it all for 500 quid - and a dose of ingenuity, British ingenuity if you'd like. He's done it a dozen times. The camera's insulation comes from the Do-It-Yourself store. NASA, which has always been fond of duct tape, has been on the phone.