The experiment involved raising a weather balloon carrying a rocket through the stratosphere, but Lauren Rojas, a 13-year-old from Antioch, Calif., wanted to add one more thing to the project: a Hello Kitty doll.
I liked her [Hello Kitty] ever since I was 6 years old. I thought it would be really fun to add a toy inside the rocket.
The balloon eventually reach 93,625 feet above ground, and the balloon -- due to the decreased air pressure -- was 53 times larger than its original size when it burst open.
At that point the rocket and Hello Kitty dropped back down to earth with the help of a parachute. It landed in a tree 47.5 miles from the launch site, and Rojas used a GPS unit to track it down.
Although the experiment was designed to test the effects of altitude on the balloon’s air pressure and temperature, Rojas attached cameras to the rocket and then fastened it to the balloon, in order to record the journey.
Rojas then uploaded the resulting video (embedded). It has gone viral, and has surpassed 132,000 views at the time of this writing.
Sadly, a search of Amazon.com does not show any Hello Kitty astronaut toys. It does show a sticker sheet with an astronaut version, though.