Two Canadian high school students have sent a Lego minifigure into space, the Toronto Star is reporting. The two-inch plastic figure was sent into the stratosphere by Matthew Ho and Asad Muhammad, who are 12th Graders at Agincourt Collegiate Institute, a public high school in Toronto, Canada. They didn’t do this for a class though–they just thought it would be cool.
The teens’ contraption included a GPS system so they could track where it went, $160 worth of helium from a party supply store, and a professional-grade weather balloon they bought online. They used a website that calculates a weather balloon’s landing position based on coordinates and wind, to determine when to launch their balloon. All told, their project cost about $400.
Once the entire gadget was built, and cameras were mounted on it, they super-glued a Lego guy to a gangplank on the outside and gave him a Canadian flag to hold. Check out their amazing video:
If you’re thinking this sounds like something out of a Phineas and Ferb episode (aren’t you boys a little young to be launching things 24 kilometers into space? Yes. Yes, we are) you’re right.
“It shows a tremendous degree of resourcefulness,” Dr. Michael Reid, a University of Toronto astrophysics professor, told the Toronto Star. Noting that similar projects had been undertaken by PhD students, he said, “For two 17-year-olds to accomplish this on their own is pretty impressive.”
Agincourt Collegiate Institute is one of Toronto’s most ethnically diverse schools, with 76 percent of its student population speaking a primary language other than English.
Mr. Ho and Mr. Muhammad have been friends since middle school, when the Muhammad family had just immigrated to Canada from Pakistan. While other kids ignored him, Mr. Ho walked up and made friends. They’ve been plotting their space launch since seeing a video two years ago of students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology trying a similar project.
Neither teen knows where he will be attending college yet. Mr. Ho wants to be an entrepreneur and has applied to Queen’s University and University of British Columbia. Mr. Muhammad wants to be an engineer, and is waiting to hear from University of Toronto and Centennial College.
The “Lego Man In Space” video has become so popular, that you can now “like” the tiny astronaut on Facebook.