I’ve always wanted to send a camera into space. I actually tried something like this with an 8mm movie camera and a bunch of helium balloons tied together when I was eleven or twelve. (The experiment failed.) Brooklyn’s Luke Geissbuhler and his son Max recently sent a styrofoam-encased iPhone 4.0 about 19 miles into space with a weather balloon. He just turned on the video camera and let it fly.
The balloon eventually burst and the iPhone, which fell at speeds over 100 miles an hour, parachute-landed 10 or 12 miles from the launch site in Newburgh, N.Y. (The landing spot was in Rifton, a little north of New Paltz.) The footage runs about six minutes. The iPhone battery died just before landing so the video abruptly stops about 1000 feet up. Geissbuhler located the iPhone through GPS tracking. It landed in a tree.
I spoke to Geissbuhler this morning via text. He has a website called Brooklyn Space Program. He’s seeking donations for the next flight.