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]

The Fascinating Device Astronauts Use to Weigh Themselves in Space

Most every scale on Earth, from the kind bakers use to measure ingredients to those doctors use to weigh patients, depends on gravity to function. Weight, after all, is just the mass of an object times the acceleration of gravity that’s pushing it toward Earth. That means astronauts have to use unconventional tools when recording changes to their bodies in space, as SciShow explains in the video below.

While weight as we know it technically doesn’t exist in zero-gravity conditions, mass does. Living in space can have drastic effects on a person’s body, and measuring mass is one way to keep track of these changes.

In place of a scale, NASA astronauts use something called a Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device (SLAMMD) to “weigh” themselves. Once they mount the pogo stick-like contraption it moves them a meter using a built-in spring. Heavier passengers take longer to drag, while a SLAMMD with no passenger at all takes the least time to move. Using the amount of time it takes to cover a meter, the machine can calculate the mass of the person riding it.

Measuring weight isn’t the only everyday activity that’s complicated in space. Astronauts have been forced to develop clever ways to brush their teeth, clip their nails, and even sleep without gravity.

[h/t SciShow]

Watch Astronauts Assemble Pizza in Space

Most everyone enjoys a good pizza party: Even astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

As this video from NASA shows, assembling pizza in zero gravity is not only possible, it also has delicious results. The inspiration for the pizza feast came from Paolo Nespoli, an Italian astronaut who was craving one of his home country’s national dishes while working on the ISS. NASA’s program manager for the space station, Kirk Shireman, sympathized with his colleague and ordered pizzas to be delivered to the station.

NASA took a little longer responding to the request than your typical corner pizzeria might. The pizzas were delivered via the Orbital ATK capsule, and once they arrived, the ingredients had to be assembled by hand. The components didn’t differ too much from regular pizzas on Earth: Flatbread, tomato sauce, and cheese served as the base, and pepperoni, pesto, olives, and anchovy paste made up the toppings. Before heating them up, the astronauts had some fun with their creations, twirling them around like "flying saucers of the edible kind,” according to astronaut Randy Bresnik.

In case the pizza party wasn’t already a success, it also coincided with movie night on the International Space Station.

[h/t KHQ Q6]


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