You may have heard something of the recent Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusha that was destroyed while in orbit above the Australian outback in order to retrieve its precious contents (the first ever harvested asteroid material).
What you may not have known those responsible for recording the planned detonation of the Hayabusha were a few high schoolers and their science teacher. Turns out the students were out of the loop assuming that what they were working on was just another school assignment and they didn't find out it was actually the real deal until 6 months into the project.
High school science teacher and expert in "optical observations, tracking, and spectroscopy" Ron Dantowitz had actually been tapped by NASA to record "The Hayabusa Re-entry Airborne Observing Campaign" and he figured it was time to introduce a few of his students to the wonderful world of applied sciences.
So the hypothetical science project turned real culminated in the students boarding a NASA DC-8 plane after months of work to record the Hayabusha event.
Here is the amazing footage that a few high school students captured; do your self a favor and watch it. Do it for the explosions but most of all do it for science!
Damn, I remember doing similar space related projects in middle school, like colonizing Mars and such. My astronauts almost always died.
How many brave souls lives were lost to my rushed miscalculations?! I need a drink ...