Going are the days of selfies on earth. People on earth (muggles that they are?!) may simply erase their boredom of clicking pictures of themselves on their smartphones against monotonous backgrounds of natural landscapes, hotels, beaches, etc. on earth. And why wouldn’t they when all they need to do is shell out is just $500 or Rs. 50,000!
You read that right. An engineering duo and former PhD scholars of Sheffield University – Alex Baker and Chris Rose – hitched upon the idea of helping people click selfies up in space in 2011. The team sent up its first prototype of a space mission by fitting a Styrofoam box to a helium balloon. The box travelled beyond the earth’s horizon and the duo tracked its progress on a GPS device.
The next step was to click pictures up above and the helium balloon went up with a camera that started beaming back pictures to the duo’s earth computer. And then came the idea of a selfie. The duo started fine tuning their design to reach the stars. So while their ballon has crossed human limits and reached altitudes of high as 37 km above the earth’s surface, it has taken along with it a cake, photographs, messages, a diamond ring, advertisements and more, clicked pictures of these up in the sky with the earth’s blue horizon in the background.
Although many patents have been filled in the past discuss inventions that allow remote operation of a GPS enabled camera system, it is very uncertain that their inventors imagined them being used to click selfies in space. For instance, US 8085309 B1 discusses a camera system that is remotely operable and tramsits real time data over a wireless communication channel to remote locations, such as a GPS transmitting/receiving link for location identification.
It’s no rocket science for you can do it yourself
An application US 5225863 A, filled in 1991, describes a remotely operated camera system that even has a rechargeable battery system. Battery life will certainly improve the effectiveness of the ‘ultimate space selfie’ system. In other words, the technology for such selfies has existed for long now, the trick was just to connect the dots and the duo has done quite that. It has now started selling DIY kits to those interested in clicking such selfies in space through its newly launched company SentIntoSpace.com
All you need to do is purchase this kit that holds a helium balloon that weights a little over 1.5 kg. and once launched to a height of anywhere between 35 and 37.6 km above earth’s surface. The user receives the balloon’s GPS co-ordinates over phone through GPRS signals and the user can click selfies on a smartphone until the balloon deflates and descends with a parachute.
What’s more, these DIY kits come with all important papers that allow users to apply for permits with ease to their respective Civil Aviation Authority to launch their little selfie spacecrafts. Well, the sky truly is the limit for selfies now.
(Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Astronaut_Mike_Hopkins_on_Dec._24_Spacewalk.jpg)