A California 12-year-old recently launched a Hello Kitty doll into space for a school science project.
Lauren Rojas, from Antioch, Calif., said she came up with the idea after she watched a commercial where a balloon was launched into the sky. She thought she could do the same with a Hello Kitty doll her father recently bought her in Japan.
When she told her teacher her idea, she couldn’t believe it.
“I said, ‘Wow, are you serious,’” teacher Annette Cluck of Cornerstone Christian School said. “I was kind of blown away because usually students don’t do something that extravagant.”
She gave Rojas permission to do the project. Rojas quickly turned to her dad Rod Rojas for help.
“We spent about one month planning and executing it,” he said. “We used a company called High Altitude Science in Colorado to get the equipment, the weather balloon and flight computer.”
They built the rocket-shaped gondola complete with small video cameras to record Hello Kitty’s space journey. It reached an altitude of 93,625 feet (17.73 miles).
Unfortunately, the thin air forced the balloon to burst. Hello Kitty was sent back down and landed in a tree 47 miles from the launch site.
To present her project, Rojas created a YouTube video of the launch and the planning behind it. The four-minute video already has more than 500,000 views.
“It was all Lauren’s idea of the music and how she wanted it to flow and to end,” her dad said. “As we looked around the Internet to investigate other types of launches, Lauren said she wanted to make a video to use in her presentation.”
The project will be judged in the school’s science fair on February 12, but she already has tons of fans.
“Yesterday I showed all my classes and they were applauding. It’s like we have a celebrity,” Cluck said. “She’s very quiet and shy but I can tell she just beams with pride when the students praise her or talk to her about it. She just lights up.”