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Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to fly a paper airplane from Germany to Australia


How to fly a paper airplane from Germany to Australia
The distance from Germany to Australia is approximately 10,000 miles. This seems like rather a long way for a paper airplane to fly. As it turns out, it's really not so hard, if you just launch a hundred of 'em from 20 miles up.

Samsung, in an effort to prove that its memory cards are durable enough for all of your high altitude paper airplane launching needs, has sponsored the launch of 100 paper airplanes from a helium balloon floating 122,000 feet above Wolfsburg, Germany. Each of the airplanes has a memory card as cargo, and the hope is that wherever the a plane lands, someone will fire up the memory card and then check in with where the plane was found. Plus, hey, free memory card!

The planes were launched on January 17, and so far, there are preliminary reports of landings in Australia, South Africa, India, Russia, Canada and even the U.S.

While the stunt is called "Project Space Planes," we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't point out that the launch height of about 122,000 feet isn't technically space. The generally accepted boundary between space and not-space is 62 miles (or 327,000 feet), or the altitude where you basically have to be traveling at orbital velocity to keep yourself aloft.

Even if these aren't really space planes, 23 miles up isn't bad for a bunch of little planes made out of paper, and if the reports of the planes making it as far as they did are confirmed, that's a pretty epic journey. Video of the launch below.

Project Space Planes, via New Scientist