The Upshot

Lego man in space moves the Web

The Upshot

Two teens from Toronto successfully launched a Lego figure into near space -- and launched a storm of interest on the Web.

Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, 17-year-old classmates at Agincourt Collegiate Institute, took four months, many Saturdays, and $400 to carry a Lego figurine and four cameras miles above the earth, a project that the two did for fun, not for class.

"We didn't really believe we could do it until we did," Ho told the Toronto Star.
You can see the video they made, using the stunning photos of the Lego man 78,000 feet off the ground, here.

The clip of the Lego man in near space has gone viral, with 570,000 views and counting. Searches on Yahoo! for "lego man in space" have soared 325% in just one day.

The high school students, both seniors, were inspired by a video of a similar project undertaken by students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The DIY contraption included a GPS locator so the students could track the weather balloon (a professional-grade one they purchased online) once it landed. Using a website that calculates a weather balloon's landing position based on coordinates and variables like wind speed, the two waited to launch the object until the timing was right for a Canadian landing.

The video shows the two-inch high LEGO man holding a Canadian flag flying high above Earth and the clouds, until the tilt of the earth's axis can be seen. And then the balloon pops, sending the Lego guy back to the ground in a mere 32 minutes.

Ho and Muhammad may still be walking on air with all the accolades they've received for their successful project. The teens have been offered cameras from Canon and asked to speak at an engineering competitions, and they've been given funds to cover the cost of the project. Even Lego sent its congratulations.

Not bad for two kids who haven't even found out yet where they're going to college.

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