Found GoPro Shows Stunning Views of the Grand Canyon From Space

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours—but know that cell service might be bad, so you should be patient.

In 2013, a group of friends and students created a 3D-printed frame, loaded it up with a GoPro, charted a course, affixed a weather balloon, and sent it out into the skies about 20 miles west of the Grand Canyon in Tuba City, Arizona.

After nine minutes it was 22,967 feet above the earth. By 23 minutes, its altitude was 37,916 feet. After an hour and 12 minutes, the camera was shooting the blues and golds of the American Southwest from nearly 90,000 feet.

Not that the team was aware of any of this. They never heard back from the device they had programmed to broadcast its landing coordinates. For about two years after launch, they believed they had botched the trajectory, accidentally plunking the device in a dead zone and preventing it from texting its GPS location as planned. Turns out, they had in fact calculated properly, but—according to one of the students—the AT&T service map used in the planning was inaccurate. It wasn’t until a hiker (and AT&T employee!) found the phone some 50 miles away from its liftoff location and took it to a store that the team received the footage.

That hour and 38 minutes of video was then edited down to a four-minute clip, which shows everything from planning, to take-off, to the balloon bursting at the edge of space, and the tumultuous tumble back to earth. You won’t get a better view even from the cockpit of a space shuttle.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Stephen Hawking’s Memorial Will Beam His Words Toward the Nearest Black Hole
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

An upcoming memorial for Stephen Hawking is going to be out of this world. The late physicist’s words, set to music, will be broadcast by satellite toward the nearest black hole during a June 15 service in the UK, the BBC reports.

During his lifetime, Hawking signed up to travel to space on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship, but he died before he ever got the chance. (He passed away in March.) Hawking’s daughter Lucy told the BBC that the memorial's musical tribute is a “beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space, and his explorations of the universe in his mind.” She described it as "a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."

Titled “The Stephen Hawking Tribute,” the music was written by Greek composer Vangelis, who created the scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire. It will play while Hawking’s ashes are interred at Westminster Abbey, near where Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are buried, according to Cambridge News. After the service, the piece will be beamed into space from the European Space Agency’s Cebreros Station in Spain. The target is a black hole called 1A 0620-00, “which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” according to Lucy Hawking.

Hawking wasn't the first person to predict the existence of black holes (Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity accounted for them back in the early 1900s), but he spoke at length about them throughout his career and devised mathematical theorems that gave credence to their existence in the universe.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a friend of the Hawking family who portrayed the late scientist in the BBC film Hawking, will speak at the service. In addition to Hawking's close friends and family, British astronaut Tim Peake and several local students with disabilities have also been invited to attend.

[h/t BBC]

IKEA's New Collection for Tiny Apartments Is Inspired by Life on Mars

Living in a city apartment can feel claustrophobic at times. As Co.Design reports, the Swedish furniture brand IKEA took this experience to the extreme when designers visited a simulated Mars habitat as research for their latest line of housewares aimed at urbanites.

The new collection, called Rumtid, is tailored to fit the cramped spaces that many people are forced to settle for when apartment-hunting in dense, expensive cities. The designers knew they wanted to prioritize efficiency and functionality with their new project, and Mars research provided the perfect inspiration.

At NASA's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, scientists are figuring out how to meet the needs of potential Mars astronauts with very limited resources. Materials have to be light, so that they require as little rocket fuel as possible to ferry them to the red planet, and should ideally run on renewable energy.

IKEA's designers aren't facing quite as many challenges, but spending a few days at the simulated Martian habitat in Utah got them thinking on the right track. The team also conducted additional research at the famously snug capsule hotels in Tokyo. The Rumtid products they came up with include an indoor terrarium shaped like a space-age rocket, a set of colorful, compact air purifiers, and light-weight joints and bars that can be snapped into modular furniture.

The collection isn't ready to hit IKEA shelves just yet—the chain plans to make Rumtid available for customers by 2020. In the meantime, the designers hope to experiment with additional science fiction-worthy ideas, including curtains that clean the air around them.

Air purifiers designed for urban living.

Furniture joints on bubble wrap on black table.

Modular furniture holding water bag.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of IKEA.


More from mental floss studios