Considering that NASA’s been whining about not having enough budget for the last couple years, it really makes them look bad to discover what a couple kids from MIT did the other day.

While NASA’s assembling teams have needed millions of dollars to launch one satellite, two guys from MIT put together a satellite of their own and launched it into low Earth orbit.  Here’s how they did it:

First, they took a styrofoam beer cooler and filled it with chemical hand warmers (to keep the thing from freezing in space), a cheap camera, and a prepaid phone with GPS so they could find the thing when it was all over.  They then inflated a weather balloon with helium and launched their “satellite”.  It got so far up that it managed to take a picture of the curvature of the earth.

Talk about your fantastic homemade gadgets–kudos to two schmoes from MIT for making NASA look like a bunch of whiny embezzlers.