Lauren Rojas, a seventh-grade girl, launched a Hello Kitty doll on a trip through the stratosphere for a school assignment, according to the New York Daily News. The 13-year-old girl conducted the project in order to examine the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature for her class at Cornerstone Christian School in Antioch, California.
Hello Kitty is a fictional character designed by Yuko Shimizu. The character was first introduced on a vinyl coin purse in Japan in 1974 and brought to the United States in 1976. The character is extremely popular with elementary- and middle-school children.
“I liked her ever since I was 6 years old,” Lauren told the Daily News. “My love for Hello Kitty has never gone away and I thought it would be really fun to add a toy inside the rocket.”
Given the scope and goals of the science project, Lauren and her father, Rodney Rojas, spent several weeks preparing to launch the doll through the stratosphere. Lauren used a weather balloon to propel the doll into near space. Professional-grade weather balloons like the one the seventh-grade girl used can be purchased online for less than $100.
“It took a couple of weeks to put it all together,” she added.
The project was not only a learning opportunity for Lauren, it was also an opportunity to bond with her father by doing something that they both enjoyed.
“In the end it really turned out to be much more than a science experiment. It’s something that we will remember for a long time,” Lauren’s father Rodney told the Daily News.
The Daily News reports that Lauren plans on showing the video of her experiment to her seventh-grade class.
“I think they’ll think it’s really cool,” Lauren said.
The balloon reportedly traveled to 93,635 feet above the Earth at its peak (that’s nearly 18 miles above the Earth.) When the doll landed, it came down nearly 47 miles away from where it was launched.
Check out this amazing video of the doll travelling through the stratosphere and then back down to Earth. At the peak of its journey through the stratosphere, the balloon carrying the doll bursts after expanding to 56 times its original size.
This isn’t the first time that a father has worked closely with his child to conduct a cool science experiment. According to Gizmodo, Ron Fugelseth sent his son’s favorite train, Stanley, into space in September 2012. “We’ve seen stuff hit space before but nothing has been as touching and aww-inducing as this,” Gizmodo’s Casey Chan wrote.
Fugelseth put together the contraption that sent his son’s toy into space using a weather balloon, styrofoam box, video camera and an old cell phone for GPS. Just like Lauren’s Hello Kitty doll, the train reached nearly 18 miles above the Earth’s surface before the balloon burst and the train floated back to Earth. Stanley reportedly fell to Earth only 27 miles away from where it was launched.
Photo credit: Samarkand.