Lauren Rojas went the extra mile for her middle school science fair — 17.73 miles, to be exact. That's the altitude her Hello Kitty doll reached while strapped to a small space balloon that the 12-year-old built with help from her father, Rod.
One kitty, one balloon, 17 miles
As ABC News reports, the seventh-grader was inspired to send her doll into space after seeing a similar launch on TV. After successfully pitching the idea to her science teacher, she and her dad set about building the craft using equipment from a Colorado-based company called High Altitude Science. They placed the Hello Kitty doll within a rocket-shaped gondola, attached it to a weather balloon, and let it fly, following its trajectory with a flight computer.
A GoPro Hero2 camera captured the doll's 17-mile ascent above the Earth, including the balloon's pretty spectacular explosion. Eventually, the doll returned back to Earth some 47 miles away from where it launched. It seems to have incurred a rough treetop landing, though both the craft and the doll came back in one piece — assuming, of course, that it really was the same Kitty.