Very few people have images from the edge of space in their personal photo albums--snapshots in which a hazy blue atmosphere hugs the curve of our planet against a backdrop of the black abyss beyond. But of those who do, many are amateurs, average people, taking regular trips deep into the stratosphere and peering out from the edge of Earth. Their hobby, high altitude ballooning has been called the "poor man's space program," because they are probing an environment more similar to that found on Mars than to any down here on Earth.
Near space exploration is the perfect meld of Amateur Radio, technology, science, and wonder (especially the wonder). After all, who hasn't watched a balloon float gently up into the sky and wondered what it would be like to venture into the stars with it? On-board cameras take photographs from various altitudes allowing us to see whole cities or states and the curvature of Earth in a single image.
Members of Near Space Ventures are among some of the lucky people who have photos of this kind in their collections and they are looking for more adult and youth to take part in their next and future launches.