A Lost-and-Found Space Balloon Captured Wicked Shots of the Grand Canyon

It took two years for these friends to find the camera they sent to the stratosphere.

chanmnb on Imgur

In June, 2013, a group of students in Arizona launched a weather balloon to the stratosphere, rigged with camera and video equipment. The flight lasted about an hour an a half, but it was two years before they saw the footage.

Reddit user trexarmsss explains:

We planned our June 2013 launch at a specific time and place such that the phone was projected to land in an area with cell coverage. 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. 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 (turns out the model was actually quite accurate). The phone landed ~50 miles away from the launch point, from what I recall. It’s a really far distance considering there’s hardly any roads over there!
TWO YEARS LATER, in a twist of ironic fate, a woman who works at AT&T was on a hike one day and spotted our phone in the barren desert. She brings it to an AT&T store, and they identify my friend’s SIM card. We got the footage and data a few weeks later!

A video about the project stitches together footage from the planning and and the flight. It’s stunning and a little bit trippy: