Back in 2013, student Bryan Chan and a group of his friends attached a GoPro to a weather balloon and set it off into the stratosphere from close to the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, thanks to some patchy mobile coverage, they lost contact with the contraption as it returned to Earth.
Thanks to a passing hiker, the GoPro – and the astonishing footage on it – has now been recovered, and the result is a four-minute video you can view above. The original owners were identified by the SIM card still attached to the balloon.
According to its owners, the GoPro managed a maximum altitude of 98,664 feet (that's about 18 miles) and flew for a total of 98 minutes. The landing spot was around 50 miles away from the launch site.
Lost in space
"The problem was that the coverage map we were relying on (looking at you, AT&T) was not accurate, so the phone never got signal as it came back to Earth, and we never heard from it," explained one of the team on Reddit.
"We didn't know this was the problem at the time – we thought our trajectory model was far off and it landed in a signal dead zone."
Thanks to that lone hiker – who happened to work at the aforementioned US telecoms company AT&T – the footage was found and is available for everyone to gawp at. The balloon explosion at close to 100,000 feet is worth sticking around for too.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.