Teens who launched LEGO-man into space talk university

Think they’ll both take engineering? Wrong.

When Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad play with LEGO, they don’t build the usual castles, battleships, or Star Wars X-wings.

The two grade 12 students from Toronto constructed a helium-filled weather balloon and launched a LEGO man holding a Canadian flag into space, more than 24 kilometers up.

The LEGO man’s space adventure was recorded and a GPS device allowed Ho and Muhammad to relocate their plastic astronaut.

In fact, you probably already know this. Their video has more than 2.6 million views on YouTube.

I thought it would be safe to assume both Ho and Muhammad are planning on pursuing something like engineering, aeronautics, or physics. You know—the sort of fields that kids who pass their time constructing weather balloons go into.

Muhammad has indeed applied to the University of Toronto and Centennial College for engineering (he’s interested in aeronautics and aircraft). But Ho’s academic future will take a different route.

Ho applied to Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia for commerce.

Business isn’t the sort of field that evokes images of GPS trajectories and launching things into outer space. Still, the project required creativity, much like his planned career: entrepreneurship. “I’m just generally interested in a lot of different things and [the LEGO project] was a fun opportunity to put it all together,” he says.

Their video caught the attention of academics, including one from MIT, who emailed them some helpful suggestions that they can use next time. Yes, next time. “I would love to launch the balloon even higher next time, with better video and cameras,” says Ho.

With ambition like that, they should have no trouble getting into all the programs they applied to.