A Hello Kitty doll went where no others like it had ever gone before, save for maybe Buzz Lightyear, when a 13-year-old girl put the famous kitty in a rocket and launched it into near space with a weather balloon. Lauren Rojas of Antioch, California, captured incredible video of the entire episode, including footage of the balloon exploding at 93,625 feet, or nearly 18 miles above Earth. Watch:
As the video shows, Rojas put plenty of work into her science project, which took a couple of weeks to put together, according to the New York Daily News.
The goal was “to test the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature.” The “rocket” was launched from 623 feet in 43-degree weather. Atmospheric pressure, temperature, and wind speed readings are shown at various stages of the flight.
At three miles up, the wind speed was 61 mph. At the apex of the flight–well short of the 62 miles that would mark the edge of space–the temperature was minus-22, and the balloon had expanded to 53 times its original size. After the balloon pops, a parachute deploys, sending the rocket on a return trip to Earth, where it finally comes to rest in a tree 47.5 miles away.
Hello Kitty was found thanks to two GPS units on board. Included was a loud beeper in case they couldn’t see the capsule.
“In the end, it really turned out to be much more than a science experiment,” Lauren’s father, Rodney, who helped with the project, told the NY Daily News. “It’s something that we will remember for a long time.”
And perhaps we all should remember these words from Daily News writer Michael Walsh, summing up this near-space exploration beautifully: “That’s one small step for Hello Kitty, one giant leap for Hello Kitty fans.”