Getting accepted into MIT is reason enough for any young student to celebrate. Most people would go the traditional routes: throw a party, have a fancy dinner, maybe your folks buy you a car or something. For Georgia teen Erin King, however, she decided to pull a stunt that has bought her at least 15 minutes of YouTube fame, not to mention likely a few approving nods from her future MIT professors. King strapped the mailing tube which had contained her acceptance letter to a balloon and sent the entire kit-n-kaboodle up to the edge of space.
The stunt was reported in a press release from the Muscogee County School District, where King is currently a senior. After receiving early acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, King learned about a tradition called “Hack the Tubes.” It involves students repurposing their admission-letter mailing tubes in various ways, everything from silly art projects to makeshift science experiments. Apparently having been raised to go big or go home, King came up with the idea to turn the tube into a high-altitude ballooning project.
On January 16th, she strapped the tube to a weather balloon, attached GPS equipment so that she and her father could track the craft from the ground, and naturally included a camera to record the voyage. The tube’s flight lasted almost two hours and reached an altitude of around 91,000 feet. That’s even higher than the two Canadian teens and their Lego man managed around that same time. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
Here’s the video of King’s makeshift spacecraft. One helluva view…