The Grand Canyon Is Epic, But This Stellar View From Space Changes Everything
September 11, 2015 #expanse
By August West

If the astronauts on the International Space Station have taught us anything, it's that everything looks awesome from space. Scott Kelly proves this on a near-daily basis via social media with his pictures that never cease to amaze. His followers have become accustomed to his epic moonrise photos. While his photo library is pretty extensive, there are plenty of places that he hasn't yet exhausted: the Grand Canyon is one of them.

John Flaig likes taking pictures, too. His perspective is similar to Kelly's, but his approach is entirely different. Flaig uses weather balloons to suspend cameras miles above the surface of the Earth and catches marvelous aerial imagery. National Geographic followed him in the clip below as he gathered images of Arizona's greatest natural offering.

Flaig's method is pretty straightforward. He creates housings for a set of cameras out of a styrofoam box, cutting holes on various sides to make openings for lenses. John tries to cover as many sides as possible, so instead of one camera per balloon, it's closer to six.

John notes that the height these balloons reach is "over three times as high as Everest." It's high enough that you can see beyond the Earth, similar to the view on the International Space Station.

As the balloon climbs higher, it continually expands due to the lack of atmospheric pressure. At this point, the camera housing comes crashing back down to Earth, and it's up to Flaig to fetch the payload. It's an exciting finish to a novel process of capturing this planet on camera.

Check out the clip below and be sure to let us know what you thought in the comments. When the video's over, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook!