Like many children, 4-year-old Jayden Fugelseth has a unique relationship with a toy. In Jayden's case, it is his toy train, Stanley. Jayden's father, Ron, says the train has been Jayden's imaginary friend since he was 2. Ron even compared their relationship to the "Peanuts" character Linus and his blanket.
But Linus' blanket never did anything this cool.
Recently, Ron and Jayden performed one of the coolest home science projects you'll ever see. After watching a video in which a Lego astronaut is blasted into space, Ron thought he could try the trick out with Stanley.
So Ron, who works as the creative director for the motion graphics and film production studio Oxygen Productions Inc., gathered the tools necessary for a quick trip to outer space. According to NBC News, that included the following: a weather balloon, a palm-size HD video camera, an old Boost Mobile cellphone that could transmit GPS location readings, a pocket warmer for heat, batteries and a foam box for insulation and padding.
Several weeks ago, Ron and Jayden ventured out to Tracy, California to launch Stanley into space. Fifteen minutes before letting the balloon go, Ron called the FAA to make sure no planes were flying in the area above them. He also studied the area around the launch point to make sure it was farm land, and the train would not land in someone's backyard.
However after releasing Stanley, things didn't go so smoothly. Ron says he lost the tracking cell phone's reception immediately following the launch, and he thought he would never see the train again. But magically, after about four hours, the reception returned and Ron was able to track the train's location. The train had traveled for an hour-and-a-half and reached a height of 18 miles above earth.
A few days after the launch, Ron and Jayden discovered the train in a field about 27 miles from where it was launched.
Ron created the following video, which hit 1 million views in less than one week. He writes that he animated Stanley's face in the way that he imagine his son sees the train.
As you'll see in the video, Jayden is ecstatic to be reunited with his train. He even told his dad he wished he was train, so he he could go into space.