Here is a way to get interesting data. At least one of you has used the data we produced six years ago. If you recall this entry on Staying on the Edge of Space for a Long Time where there was an opportunity to stay about 15 hours (+) of stabilized flight at 120,000 feet above the ground. Six years ago, we mounted a sub-$500 point and shoot camera and some micro-controllers and took marvelous pictures (all of our photos are stored here.). Two years ago in Imaging Earth from 120,000 feet: Four Years Later., I did some computation of what it would mean to use a more recent camera on board that balloon flight. Since then other cameras have appeared on the market..The original camera we flew was the Canon Powershot S2 IS (5MP, 12x optical zoom), since then these two cameras have appeared on the market:
You can take a look at what you can do when 100 of these shots are automatically stitched together into a panorama map. If you want to do better than we did five years ago, there are a lot of ways to do so, either by picking up one of the newer cameras listed above a shooting 180 panorama at the edge of space or using a GoPro HD HERO2 and some Arduino kit. Let me also suggest that the camera doesn't need to stay on the balloon for the whole flight. You can launch payloads from the platform (imagine what a GoPro does at supersonic speed!). If you want to be inventive and need a view, here is your chance to send in a proposal to the 2013 HASP program. From Greg Guzik:
Please find attached here the Call for Payloads (CFP) for the September 2013 flight of the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP). HASP can support up to 12 student payloads (providing power, telemetry and commanding) during a flight to an altitude of 124,000 feet for up to 20 hours. The NASA Balloon Program Office and Louisiana Space Consortium anticipate flying HASP at least through 2014. There is no cost for launch and flight operations. Student teams will need to raise their own funds to support the development of their payload and, if necessary, for travel to Palestine, TX for HASP integration and Ft. Sumner, NM for flight operations. Details about previous HASP flights and the student payloads flown can be found on the “Flight Information” page of the HASP website at http://laspace.lsu.edu/hasp/
Flightinfo-2012.php Details on the payload constraints and interface with HASP as well as online access to the CFP materials can be found on the “Participant Info” page of the HASPwebsite at http://laspace.lsu.edu/hasp/ Participantinfo.php Applications are due December 14, 2012 and selections will be announced by mid-January 2013.
If you have any questions about the application materials or HASP, feel free to contact us email@example.com
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