You might already have seen this. I hadn't until just now, thanks to reader RJ of California (and in his case via The Register; also, NY Daily News).
It's an absolutely charming video and set of photos from a science project by Lauren Rojas, a 13-year-old in Antioch, California, east of San Francisco. She decided to send a Hello Kitty "catonaut" nearly 100,000 feet into space, with a high-altitude balloon, and to record the results.
Those results really are amazing. You'll see the whole thing laid out in the video -- with a dramatic climax around time 2:15. At that point the balloon that has carried its passenger into "near space" finally explodes -- and the spacecraft's descent, under a small parachute, begins.
Ms. Rojas obviously had help with the balloon rigs and photographic systems -- which is another great lesson from the experiment, in that innovation and discovery involve both collaboration and individual pondering. Here is just one of the stills from the flight -- not some CGI recreation but an actual photo, from the high-def camera that went aloft with H. Kitty.
And here is the video. Congrats to all. Finally I see a reason for Hello Kitty having come into existence.
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