EVE Online players spend their time zipping through the cosmos, making deals and trading goods across vast swaths of virtual space. So it makes a certain amount of sense that CCP, the studio behind the game, would want to send its players into space... or at least, get them as close as possible.
Last year, CCP promised to send the names of their players into space. Every paying subscriber with an active account, as of the stroke of midnight at the very end of 2011, was to have their character names and images included. Today, CCP made good.
Local university students launched a high-altitude weather balloon with a replica of one of the game's pods attached. They also attached a Samsung smartphone to the balloon, which provided GPS tracking information and snapped photos of the capsule's drift across the highest levels of the atmosphere. While not quite as glamorous as leaping through the interstellar void, the balloon did make it to a height of 100,000 feet, putting it in the literal stratosphere.
A CCP rep sent us these high-definition photos taken from the pod's "near-space" flight, showing off how lovely the view from the upper reaches of the atmosphere is. They've got some others on their Facebook page as well.
Skyward Sphere [CCP Games]