In January 2017, students from the University of Leicester successfully built an unmanned weather balloon which they launched into the stratosphere. Ascending 23.6 kilometres into the air (nearly twice the altitude of a cruising Boeing 747), it endured temperatures of -56 degrees Celsius. Impressive, certainly, but why was the project undertaken?
As well as the photo and video equipment that took the stunning images, onboard the balloon was some state of the art tech. Electronic control systems were included that successfully navigated and controlled the balloon as it returned to Earth in perfect condition. The venture acted as a test for future flights that will measure pollution levels in the atmosphere. If climate change and rising pollution levels are to be battled effectively, its small yet significant projects like this that will help pave the way.