Japanese artist Makoto Azuma launches beautiful plants into stratosphere

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For his project 'Exobiotanica,' artist Makoto Azuma of Japan headed to the Nevada Black Rock Desert to launch a 50-year-old Japanese white pine bonsai into the stratosphere.

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With help from Sacramento-based JP Aerospace ("a volunteer, DIY space program"), Azuma sent to near-space a sculptural floral bouquet composed from several dozen types of flowers from around the globe.

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The project took place on July 15, near the same area where Burning Man devotees will gather to celebrate their own brand of spaced-out art in a few weeks.

They used helium balloons to launch the plant matter, and say the bonsai got to about 91,800 feet altitude (27.98 km), and the bouquet got to about 87,000 feet (26.51 km).

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Makoto Azuma: Facebook, web, Twitter. The New York Times has a nice story on the project. There are some wonderful photos of Azuma's past works on his Facebook--man, I love everything!

Here's local news coverage from the Sacramento CBS affiliate:

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