Thursday, September 24

Toronto teens send Lego man into space

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OTTAWA: A video posted on YouTube Wednesday appeared to show the amazing voyage of a Lego man sent into space on a homemade spacecraft by two Toronto students.

Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad, both 17, used a weather balloon ordered online and a makeshift Styrofoam spacecraft to send the plastic astronaut 24 kilometres into the stratosphere, reports said.

An accelerated video clip posted online at tinyurl.com/836mggd shows highlights of the Lego man during his 97-minute odyssey.

Ultimately, he is seen holding a Canadian flag with the curvature of the Earth and the blackness of space in the background.

Canadian media said the pair had fitted a box tethered to the balloon with four cameras and a cellphone enabled with a GPS device to capture the journey.

They then added a nylon parachute to ensure that Lego man would return to Earth safely.

The balloon was filled with helium purchased from a party supply store. The whole enterprise cost less than US$500. The duo launched it from a soccer pitch in nearby Newmarket, Ontario.

At seven kilometres in altitude, the balloon travelled out of cell phone range and the GPS signal also cut out, so they went home and reportedly made dumplings.

Then Ho’s iPad beeped. The Lego man had re-entered the atmosphere and touched down in a field 120 km from the launch point. — AFP