Posted on Mar 25, 2010

True to “hacker” form, I quickly shot this super low quality video using my BlackBerry Bold

More and more people are reaching the edge of space with weather balloon payloads to the point that that NBC Nightly News just aired a segment on the space hacking trend. I’m incredibly excited to see this getting mainstream coverage – is a pico project of mine very close to my heart and I spoke at a Linux conference in New Zealand just a few weeks ago on the different ways to be a space hacker. Hackerspaces around the world are getting in on the trend as well – just this year a competition called Hackerspaces In Space was announced to have a head-to-head battle of balloons.

So what do these projects consist of? Each one varies on what it uses, but it’s usually:

weather balloon + helium + payload (the camera, circuit board, batteries, gps abilities, etc.) + styrofoam bus/box to encapsulate the payload

(photo via John Gordon)

This weekend, I will be joining my local hackerspace Noisebridge to launch a Spacedroid! Spacedroid is similar to the Spaceduino launched by MIT and various arduino fans, but this will be using an Android payload instead of an arduino. The Spacedroid project is actually what inspired a group of us at Noisebridge to form a separate space geek group called Spacebridge.

Joining your local hackerspace as a way to make science open was a topic mentioned at my Open Science panel at SXSW this month (my great fellow panelists included Tantek Çelik, Dr. Kiki Sanford, Jessy Cowan-Sharp, and Natalie Villalobos). We received a lot of positive feedback and summaries from those who attended the talk and even inspired Jeremy Keith to start a Science Hack Day in London!

The thing I am most ecstatic about with all of this new activity is to see people in the technology and science industries collaborating together. It sounds like such a logical fit, but in practice, the two industries seem to keep to themselves. So, watching collaboration finally take place between two industries that have always had a crush on each other is quite delightful. Even further, it means that the “love child” (aka result) that they create together is making science open to people of all backgrounds/industries by lowering the barrier to entry for everyone.

1 Comment

  1. March 30th Android Workshop « 091 Labs
    March 28, 2010

    […] is a directory of ways to participate in space exploration. Ariel Waldman has a great post titled Hacking Space with Hackerspaces and helium. We look forward to adding Arts to the mix and seeing what we might do with the creative […]