ANTIOCH -- Lauren Rojas' experiment in which she sent a weather balloon into near space, including a Hello Kitty doll she's had for more than six years, wasn't just for fun. The 13-year-old learned several facts about air pressure and temperature at high altitude.
Here are some fun facts: Rojas' hypothesis that the balloon would travel more than 90,000 feet high was correct. It went 93,625 feet, or roughly 17.7 miles. Peak winds exceeded 60 mph, and the temperature fell from 43 degrees Fahrenheit at the Livermore launch point to as low as 38 degrees below zero. The balloon stayed in the air for about 90 minutes.
At the point where it burst, the balloon was 53 times its size at takeoff. The balloon landed 47.5 miles from the launch point. The entire apparatus weighed less than 6 pounds. Lauren was 12 when the balloon was launched but has since turned 13.
A still photo taken from a YouTube video shows Antioch seventh-grader Lauren Rojas' science project of the popular "Hello Kitty" doll soaring over the Bay Area in a weather balloon rocket ship that she sent into space from Livermore as part of her science project at Cornerstone Christian School in Antioch, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. The video has received nearly 300,000 hits according to her dad Rod Rojas, who says various media outlets from all over the world are requesting interviews with his daughter. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.