A friend sent me this article on some MIT students who took photographs from space for a cost of around $145.
Very cool project! They had to figure out how to keep it cheap and also avoid FAA regulations that limit the payload weight of baloons - they kept it at 800grams.
The problem of how to find it? A cell phone that sends location text messages.
They found the rig 20miles from where they launched it and the pictures on the SD card in the camera.
Taking the pictures was achieved by loading software on the Canon point and shoot so that it would take pictures continuously and the used hand warmers and a beer cooler for insulation to keep the electronic components warm enough for the flight.
The full list is on their Photographs from Near Space site
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