Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 21, 2012.

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Re-inventing the way we look at our planet by sending 5 cameras to near space to create the first 360 panoramic view of the earth.

WE DID IT! We reached our goal just now and with 5 hours to go we want to challenge everyone to help us reach a bit higher. Help us get to $8000 before funding ends. Everyone who backs regardless of amount will receive a custom Earth 360 lanyard and sticker. Our way of saying thanks today.

October 24, 1946, not long after the end of World War II and years before the Sputnik satellite opened the space age, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful.

Fall, 2012, 66 years after the first photo of the earth was taken. A small capsule floats back to earth after a flight into the heavens. Inside the capsule, 5 cameras are busily taking pictures every few seconds. This small capsule and its 5 cameras has done something that rivals the imagination of Jules Verne. It has created the first 360° images of the earth from 100,000ft in near space. 

Earth 360: The Story 


Earth 360 is a documentary following a Technology & Engineering Education teacher named Geoff Bergen, as he designs, builds, tests, launches and (hopefully) recovers a capsule that will create the first 360° images of the earth from space.

Earth 360: How We Plan To Do it

In order to achieve our ambitious goal we first need a way to get to near space, there are two possible ways to do this:

  • Rocket 

or

  • Weather Balloon

A Rocket could be used. However the speed of the rocket could make the images blur or not stitch together properly. It's also expensive and inherently dangerous! So, Weather Balloon it is!

A Weather Balloon is ideal for this kind of work. Not only is it reliable, it also provides a very stable platform for the cameras to be based on. It's also much cheaper and a lot less dangerous than a rocket.

Connected to the balloon is a hollowed out piece of styrofoam, called the capsule. Inside the capsule are 5 cameras with wide angle lenses, mounted sideways, and all pointed down slightly toward the earth. All of them will be set to fire at the same time, once every few seconds. 

About 1 hour after lift off the balloon will reach 80,000-100,000ft . Once at that height the balloon will stretch to over 30ft wide and then explode. The capsule will begin to fall back toward the earth. At this point a parachute will open and begin to slow its descent. Once back on the ground, the crew will locate the capsule via a GPS transmitter. Now that the camera is back in the hands of the crew, we can begin to turn the raw files into amazing 360° images.

Earth 360: The Production


This is the first time anyone has made 360° pictures of the earth and we hope to inspire people to follow in our foot steps. The best way we know how to do that is to create a video showing how we accomplished it and how they can do it too! 

Because this video is directed towards inspiration, we are going to give it the best chance of reaching as many people as possible, How? By posting the film for free on YouTube, Vimeo, and the Earth 360 website. But we don't want to make just another internet video. We want you to feel like your there with us, and with the capsule at 100,000ft. To accomplish this we need your help! 

Earth 360: Turning The Concept Into Reality

The reason we started Earth 360 was because we were frustrated by the lack of immersion when it came to looking our our beautiful home planet. And in order to make the movie as immersive as the pictures, we need some gear.

  • Camera: We have our eyes set on either renting or buying (Depending on how well the funding goes :) a 4K camera. Like I said, We don't want this to be "Just another internet video", a special project merits a special camera.
  • Audio: Audio is the most important part of any production. If we are successfully funded we will completely retrofit our audio setup with a new shotgun microphone. As well as a new field recorder and mobile mixer. 
  • Soundtrack: As an independent film maker I can tell you that this part is always a pain in the  .....well you get the point, it can be VERY frustrating. It's always difficult to find what you want, and when you eventually do, it's expensive or copyright infringing. However, with Earth 360 none of these things are a problem. The soundtrack will be created by a good friend of mine, Matt Mauldin. If you want to hear his work you can listen to any of these samples: 

(Note: If you are using Internet Explorer, These clips may not load, Please use Chrome or Firefox)

EARTH 360 TRAILER (Audio)

"Reckless" (Audio)

"Clockworks" (Audio)

"In Over My Head" (Audio)

  • The best part about our soundtrack is that after it is done, you can buy it on iTunes for a small price. For those of you that buy it you are not only getting an amazing album to listen too, but it is also Royalty Free! So you can use it in your own video production and as long as you give Matt Mauldin the credit as Music Producer.
  • The Balloon And Capsule Itself: As you can imagine, sending 5 cameras (Well, 8 after you count the production cameras) to near space takes a big balloon! Just the balloon costs $350, Not to mention 5 cameras, a GPS transmitter, and lets not the most important thing, 3 parachutes. All told there will be over $3000 in the whole balloon assembly.....Yeah we need your help. 

Earth 360: The Future

One of the major reasons we are creating the documentary, is to inspire people to do this for themselves and hopefully get awesome panoramic photos of there own! But now that you have these images, where are you going to post them?

In addition to everything else we are doing, we hope to build a website that will be the go to place for you to show off YOUR amazing panoramic photographs. 

It will also contain a forum, where people can post updates to there latest builds, ask advice or discuss the latest news regarding weather balloon photography.

Earth 360:The End Of Our KickStarter Article 

Well my new found friends, this is where I stop typing and you stop reading. I really hope you like our project and feel that it is worthy enough for your donations! But if not, let me say that I appreciate you reading to the end of the page and if you have a question or comment regarding the project please feel free to email me: rhett@almostrocketscience.com 

Thanks again!

Geoff Bergen (Host), Rhett Youngberg (Film Maker/Editor), Matthew Mauldin (Music Producer)

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    For $50, You get to be the first to watch the Film! You are invited to the online launch party. You also get a copy if our custom made soundtrack, free! And yes its Royalty Free for you too! :) Plus, all the the rewards previously mentioned.

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    For $100, In addition to the previous rewards, You will receive an exclusive content creator bundle! You will get ALL RAW footage from the project including the balloon shots. You will also be able to download the soundtrack for free. If you pay over $100 the files are now yours Royalty Free. Meaning that you may use them your own production, as long as you give some kind of video credit to ARS Productions.

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    For $500, In addition to all of the rewards above. We want you to be there with us on the day of the launch! You are invited to shadow us the whole day, from launch to recovery! We expect the launch site near Newburgh NY (Must pay your own travel expenses to the site). When you arrive, you will receive a custom Earth 360 lanyard and press pass. Also, Your name will be in the credits under, "Special Thanks".

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    For $1000, You get to send something to near space! Thats right, send us something personal (Under 1 lb) and we will send it up on a weather balloon and take a a few photos of it so you can show it off to your friends! Plus, all of the rewards previously mentioned. In addition you are now, "Associate Producer" In the credits.

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    For $2,000 or more, We will proudly display your company logo or name on the capsule. It will also be prominently featured in the film and website. Plus, all of the rewards mentioned prior.

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