Toronto teens launch Lego man into space
Published Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:24AM EST
A challenge usually left to NASA eggheads or PhD students was conquered by two Toronto teenagers earlier this month when Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad sent a Lego-manned flight capsule into space.
The two 17-year-old Agincourt Collegiate Institute students completed their year-long mission two weeks ago, successfully sending a balloon carrying a Lego man and a small Canadian flag out of earth's atmosphere.
The unit was launched from a park near Ho's east-end home and ascended 80,000 feet before the balloon popped. The Lego man and his cargo fell safely to earth, with the help of a homemade parachute, where it landed in a Peterborough field.
The whole mission was captured by four cameras on board the shuttle and tracked by the GPS inside a phone. The astonishing photographs showed the Lego man hovering well above earth and captured glorious views of our planet from space.
The result was more amazing than the two teenagers could have ever imagined.
"We were standing in my living room and I saw the photos and I shook Asad's hand right away. I said, ‘Congratulations. We did it, we accomplished what we set out to do," Ho told The Toronto Star. "We captured photos from near space."
The space mission began more than a year ago but work really got underway when Ho and Muhammad started drawing up plans in September, working during the weekends to sew together the parachute, perfect the flight pod and iron out all the problems that come with launching an object into space.
The pair, who first met in middle school, saw a similar project done by a group of IT students and figured they could do it themselves.
"Almost to prove to ourselves and prove to everyone else that we could do it," Ho told The Toronto Star.
"I knew I wanted to do something like this but I couldn't do it alone," added Muhammad
"Once we started doing it, I really wanted to retrieve it back because I wanted to show everyone that we could do it."
Ho has applied to Canadian universities with the intention of pursuing a commerce degree. Muhammad has applied to several engineering programs.