Two Toronto-area teenagers have become overnight YouTube sensations, thanks to their Lego Man's mission into space.
Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, successfully sent a balloon carrying a Lego man and a small Canadian flag to the edge of Earth's atmosphere.
Initially, about a year or a half ago or two years ago, we saw photos online of other amateur enthusiasts capturing stunning images,“ says Ho. “We thought if we could really put our heads to it, we could definitely get the project done.“
Using a home-stitched parachute and equipment they found on Craigslist, the students managed to send the plastic figurine 24 km into the air.
Ho and Muhammad launched the device, which included the Lego Man, balloon, helium, cameras and GPS, from a football pitch in Newmarket.
“We just filled the helium, tied everything together, made sure everything was perfect and that the cameras were working, and then we just hoped for the best,“ says Muhammad.
However, weather conditions made the launch more difficult. “It started raining for a bit and it also started snowing. It was extremely cold too,“ Ho says. “The bad thing was that the weather balloon can't have any moisture on it because it would affect how high it would go.“
Luckily the rain stopped, and the device came back to earth and landed in a field near Rice Lake, about 120 km from the launch point. It landed the same day, but the pair wasn't able to retrieve it for almost a week because of school commitments.
The pair say that the reaction has been great. “People are really happy for us,“ says Muhammad. “They're really inspired I guess because two 17-year-olds did it. It's been great.“
Ho and Muhammad say they may plan another mission next summer if they have time.
The mission cost about $500.
Last year, two men in Britain also captured the world's attention when they discovered how to snap images of the earth from space using only a box, camera, tracking device and weather balloon.