The boundary between Earth and space take center stage in this photo captured by cameras on a balloon-launched paper airplane built by space enthusiasts at The Register in the U.K. The plane was carried to an altitude of about 17 miles before descending back to Earth on Oct. 28, 2010.
Credit: The Register [Full Story]
This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. ET.
An oversize paper airplane sent up toward the edge of space by a British online tech publication has snapped stunning photos of the final frontier and the Earth far below.
The paper aircraft's Vulture 1 mission took place Oct. 28 as part of the Paper Aircraft Released In Space (PARIS) project conducted by three space enthusiasts with The Register, an online technology publication in the U.K.
Photos from a camera attached to the plane show the curve of the Earth and the black of space beyond. [Paper Airplane's Photo of Space]
"The project came about as a response to the Japanese proposal to throw paper planes from the International Space Station," Register writer Lester Haines told SPACE.com in an e-mail. "We thought we could do better, so we did."
Haines and fellow space fans Steve Daniels and John Oates built the space-photographing plane out of paper straws and stiff paper, which served as internal ribs. It has a 3-foot (1-meter) wingspan and is covered with a paper skin painted orange and silver. They set the plane loose from a staging ground in Spain.
The plane was carried skyward by a helium balloon and reached a maximum altitude of about 89,591 feet (27,307 meters), which is nearly 17 miles (27.3 km), before descending to Earth and landing in a thick wooded area, according to Register mission updates.
The widely recognized edge of space is about 62 miles (100 km).
The Register's Vulture 1 mission is the latest effort to build homemade high-altitude balloon craft to snap photos of Earth and space.
Haines said the project cost about ?8,000 (almost USD $13,000) to build the oversize paper plane, obtain the weather balloon and launch the mission. The Register chronicled the Vulture 1 mission from start to finish over the last year.
"It was quite an emotional moment to see the plane go off into the blue yonder, but recovering the Vulture 1 intact was a once-in-a-lifetime event," Haines said. "Things got even better when we saw the photos, and especially the video footage of the plane release. Spectacular stuff."