A group of students 18 and 19 years old had a simple idea and executed it brilliantly: Fill a weather balloon with helium, place monitoring equipment -- and a digital camera -- on board, and hope for the best. The results are astonishing.
Students at the IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia inflated the latex balloon to just over two meters, which would allow it to expand as it ascended the atmosphere. Sensors relayed information about the balloon's progress via Google Earth, and a lightweight Nikon digital camera captured images the whole way.
The balloon eventually got 20 miles high, far above the danger point of 30,000 feet, the altitude used by most commercial jetliners.
They've posted a collection of photos and a couple of videos of the project over here on Flickr. You can read more about it in the London Telegraph website. They spent less than $100 on the camera, and even after the balloon was recovered, it was still functioning. I think Nikon has a marketing opportunity here.
via Photo News Today