Bonsai tree rides helium balloon to edge of space (Wired UK)

A bonsai tree and a bouquet of flowers have been sent up into
the stratosphere aboard high-altitude balloons. For art.

“Flower artist” Makoto
teamed up with space engineer John Powell of JP Aerospace
to send the plants to an altitude of 30,000 metres as part of a
stunt called Exobiotanica. They were
affixed to stabilising rigs with cameras attached to them so that
their lofty journey could be documented in high definition.

The stunt was inspired by the fact that plants are usually
rooted to the soil under the command of gravity. Azuma, who has
always been fascinated by space, wanted to liberate them, and allow
them to head towards space where they could “see” the curvature of
the Earth.

Azuma usually works from a botanical laboratory based in Tokyo,
but he headed to the Nevada desert in order to prepare for the
stunt. He selected a fifty-year-old pine bonsai tree and a bouquet
made up of 30 different flower species including lilies,
hydrangeas, irises and orchids to embark on this unusual mission.
They were attached to metal frames with GoPro video cameras which
were then affixed to large helium balloons. These travelled into
the sky for almost two hours before falling back to the ground. The
plants were never recovered.

These plants follow in the footsteps of other inanimate objects
that have been sent into the stratosphere. JP Aerospace actually
helped Toshiba send an ultra-lightweight chair up to 30,000 metres for
a stunt to promote the company’s HD televisions back in 2009. More
recently we’ve seen companies that make sex toys take their wares
to great heights, presumably to join the 20 mile high club. Adult
entertainment company attached a
vibrator to a weather balloon
back in October 2011, a year
before Felix Baumgartner skydived from a similar height for a Red Bull stunt. 2013 was a big year for
stratospheric adult-themed PR stunts, with sending a large black
and CNV sending Missy the inflatable sex doll to the edge of space. Sadly Missy
exploded at 31,000 metres and started to free fall to a sandy
grave. Video footage showed that her left arm was torn off by the
crosswind before she suffered severe damage to her right leg. Her
right arm detached as well and she was last seen at around 27,000
metres, spiraling out of control.

RIP Missy.


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22 July 2014

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