What do you think helium balloons are for?
I always thought of helium balloons as a fun cheerful gift. Three Cambridge University Engineering students – far from being as narrow minded as I am, realised that helium balloons were just a cheap ticket into space.
On the 18th of September 2006 it was reported that Carl Morland, Henry Hallam and Robert Fryers successfully sent a camera to the edge of space for less than £1,000.
How did they do it?
They simply attached the tiny camera to a helium balloon, which flew to nearly four times the height of Everest. Throughout the flight it took more than 800 images showing the curvature of the earth.
As the large helium balloon rose it expanded and exactly two hours after lift-off, at an altitude of 32.2km (20m) above sea level, it burst, releasing the camera which was brought back to earth by parachute.
Aren’t helium balloons powerful?
PS: despite this latest scientific development, we do not recommend using our helium balloons as an alternative to low cost flights. They are not sold with parachutes to bring you back to earth!