Technology

Antioch girl sends Hello Kitty into space for science project

Thursday, February 07, 2013

An East Bay seventh grader's science experiment has become a national sensation that's thanks to a creative YouTube video and her unwavering commitment to sending her Hello Kitty doll into space.

It's not your average seventh grade science project, but sending Hello Kitty nearly 90,000 feet into space seemed like the perfect idea to 13-year-old Lauren Rojas.

"My Dad and I were watching TV and this commercial came on and it was about these three guys who sent a weather balloon into space and I thought it would be the coolest project ever," Lauren said.

Hello Kitty's flight was made into a four-minute YouTube video by a family friend. The images were captured by mounting four GoPro cameras to a rocket-shaped gondola. The weather balloon and flight recorder came from High Altitude Science, a specialized company in Colorado.

"I'm blown away; I think she did an amazing job," Lauren's teacher, Annette Cluck, said. "It thrills my heart to see someone find something in science and just go for it."

The creative contraption reached an altitude of nearly 18 miles before the balloon burst, due to thin air.

Then, thanks to a parachute and a GPS locator, Hello Kitty and company floated gently back to Earth, where Lauren was able to find them, settled in a tree 47 miles from the launch site.

"I was a little unhappy that it landed in a 50 foot tree, because I thought, 'How are we going to get it down,'" Lauren said. "We ended up calling an arborist to get it down."

Lauren's flight of fancy has caught on, with more than 400,000 views on YouTube, but there's still one challenge ahead -- the school science fair.

"When I get in front of a large crowd I get kind of scared, but I can't wait to tell them about my project," Lauren said.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
antioch, space, technology, laura anthony
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