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There and Back Again Kitty
February 5, 2013 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Lauren Rojas, a 12 year old from California, sent Hello Kitty on a return trip to the stratosphere (over 28 kilometres above the Earth) and recorded the results.
posted by rollick (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
And yeah, I'm sure she had help from her dad or whoever, but most science projects are a team effort! And it's brilliant how far HD video has come in just this girl's lifetime.
posted by rollick at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now how does this compare to the Iranian monkeynaut?
posted by sammyo at 12:22 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Take that, drones!
posted by phaedon at 12:22 PM on February 5, 2013


Oh that is awesome! I want to be her when I grow up to become 12 again!
posted by inturnaround at 12:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have Hello Kitty on the brain because the other day, I had the opportunity to play Bad Badtz Maru as a character in a Mamet play. Basically, this post appeals to my interests.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a sad state of affairs when the blogosphere has more of a space program than the United States of America as such.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


On second thought, maybe the opposite of 'sad'.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no mouth. And I must scream.
posted by brain_drain at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do you have to say about that, John McCain?
posted by Pecinpah at 12:33 PM on February 5, 2013


It's a sad state of affairs when the blogosphere has more of a space program than the United States of America as such

Yeah, it was so awesome when the blogsphere landed MEH-1 on Mars.

Otherwise, NASA continues to launch satellites or pay companies to do sowhile they gear up for deep space exploration.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:42 PM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Now how does this compare to the Iranian monkeynaut?

Hello Kitty came back and the monkey didn't.
posted by The Michael The at 12:53 PM on February 5, 2013


The blogsphere just can't compete with Mehhawk guy.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:00 PM on February 5, 2013


Incredible! I got a moment of "ARGH I'M FALLING KRAP!" when the balloon burst into beautiful strips. Then I realized there was a parachute. Then all was at peace.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:00 PM on February 5, 2013


Still, science can't explain the lasting appeal of the silly HK brand.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there a legal altitude ceiling for these sorts of unlicensed civilian efforts? I'm not coming up with appropriate search terms, apparently.

Brandon, look up 'hyperbole'
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013


Love it. And if I was an ISS astronaut (boy is that a big "if") I'd ask her if I could take that Hello Kitty with me for my next visit. Trolls travel the Earth, Hello Kitty is in Space.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2013


I'm sure she had help from her dad or whoever

More likely her mom cuz girls like kitties right? hahah girl science. (Just kidding this is awesome and she probably did it by herself).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2013


It's a sad state of affairs when the blogosphere has more of a space program than the United States of America as such.

Dude, I just spent two days touring NASA KSC while they prepared to launch a new satellite (TDRS-K) into the system that keeps us in touch with the ISS and near-earth satellites. They have an entire building dedicated to designing In-Situ resource utilization for the Moon and Mars. They're in the process of stripping down and refitting their infrastructure to support the new SLS heavy lift rockets and various commercial spaceflight operations. And that's just Kennedy.

Like what are you even talking about?

We could absolutely be doing MORE -- I would love for NASA to have 10X their current budget -- but it's absurd to compare balloon-lifting a toy into the stratosphere with designing and launching a gigantic communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit.

Basically what Brandon said.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:07 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Brandon, look up 'hyperbole'
posted by George_Spiggott


Sorry, GS, there are too many serious assholes, many in powerful positions in government, going around claiming that the government is incapable of accomplishing anything. You're just another victim of Poe's Law.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay apparenlty hyperbole-based humorous rhetoric doesn't fly here, so to speak.

Personally I think the US space program is underfunded by at least one order of magnitude; more like two orders IMO. I was riffing on that. Others here apparently do not and are anxious to defend the space program as adequate. We'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2013


I want so very much for my 10-month-old daughter to get older and do stuff like this.
posted by Slothrup at 1:12 PM on February 5, 2013


On didn't-preview, 'zackly, benito.strauss.

The way we get space program funding up to the levels I'd like to see is to completely transfer the defense budget to it. Because we won't need a military anyway once we can simply drop rocks on the bad guys, right?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally I think the US space program is underfunded by at least one order of magnitude; more like two orders IMO. I was riffing on that. Others here apparently do not and are anxious to defend the space program as adequate. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

I absolutely agree that it's underfunded!

But I think there's a difference between saying, "The American space program as it stands is perfectly adequate" and saying it's equivalent to a child's science project. Personally, I'm somewhere in the middle.

On the one hand, you're right, it's pretty terrible how underfunded NASA is right now -- it ABSOLUTELY is, and I'm more disappointed than most that we haven't been outside of LEO in so long, let me tell you. But part of why NASA is underfunded is because it's so under-appreciated by average people -- if we don't value the things it IS doing, right now in the real world, then we'll just continue to whittle it down and marginalize it until it's nothing but a support system for weather and spy satellites. My criticism is directed toward the people who have decided to give NASA such a terrible budget to begin with; perhaps toward the handful of high-level people at NASA who've failed to win over politicians and taxpayers; and toward us, the public in general, for not paying very much attention to this stuff unless it's shiny.

But the actual people on the ground at NASA are just doing their jobs with the resources available to them. And they're trying, really hard, to make that money amount to something amazing.

I disagree with some points of NASA policy, and I don't think they always do the best job of making a case for why their work is important, but I can be critical while still appreciating what the people in our space program have done.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:22 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The reason I asked about legal civilian altitude limits is because I'm starting to wonder if we're not going to see this sort of thing go mainstream, and somebody to market an affordable kit to do this.

This is Singularity stuff, in my opinion. To me, in some sense, the watershed futurist moment was not the moon landing, or the Internet or the ubiquity of mobile phones ... it was the Parrot. A $300 UAV with hover capability and streaming realtime video that you control with a consumer smartphone. There's something indecently SF about that.

I realize that energy budgets make it incredibly unlikely that anyone's ever going to be able to market a backyard orbiter kit (the difference between getting high up in the atmosphere and going orbital is immense) but the idea of private hobbyists sending intelligent devices into the stratosphere almost as a matter of routine is kind of boggling.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:30 PM on February 5, 2013


How did Hello Kitty survive the G force and not barf it's little pink confetti stomach contents all over the place?
posted by stormpooper at 1:31 PM on February 5, 2013


A shame about the lack of audio.
posted by surplus at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2013


meanwhile, my view of the article was interrupted with "RELATED: PENNSYLVANIA 5-YEAR-OLD SUSPENDED OVER BUBBLE GUN ‘TERRORIST THREAT’.

I ♥ ya, NYC tabloids.
posted by Mchelly at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2013


... a 12 year old from California, sent Hello Kitty on a return trip to the stratosphere

Many of you probably already know this, but for those who don't, this might be an interesting fact: here in Japan, the character is not referred to as "Hello Kitty". That's not the name of the kitty, and no one ever says "Hello Kitty". The name is "Kitty-chan".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:53 PM on February 5, 2013


Related, previously on MetaFilter
posted by beryllium at 3:02 PM on February 5, 2013


The balloon bursting. That. Was. Awesome.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:17 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Note: the "curvature" of the Earth that appears in a few of the shots is (perhaps obviously) not real, but merely an artifact of the fisheye camera lenses.

Must be pretty sweet to have $2,000 or so to blow on a class science project, though. Beats the hell out of a styrofoam ball solar system.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:49 PM on February 5, 2013


The GoPro links at the end of the video make me wonder if they partially sponsored the project, which could bring down the cost by at least half, yeah?
posted by HeroZero at 4:12 PM on February 5, 2013


Must be pretty sweet to have $2,000 or so to blow on a class science project, though. Beats the hell out of a styrofoam ball solar system.

Four lastgen GoPros that you put on Craigslist immediately afterwards saying "only used once to GO TO SPACE BOOYAH", a styrofoam box, some perspex and a weather balloon?

You could do this for a fifth of $2000, maybe less.

Which, sure, you need some scratch to make that work, must be nice, but HOLY SHIT A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD KID CAN SEND A HELLO KITTY AND FOUR HIGHDEF VIDEO CAMERAS TO SPACE and don't try and feed me any "upper atmosphere" bullshit there because SPACE.

Every time I see one of these videos, I think, sure, that's neat, but a lot of people could do that, and OH MY GOD THAT'S JUST A THING YOU CAN JUST DO NOW SPAAAAAACE.
posted by mhoye at 6:05 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note: the "curvature" of the Earth that appears in a few of the shots is (perhaps obviously) not real, but merely an artifact of the fisheye camera lenses.

I'm actually pretty relieved that the curvature of the earth doesn't wobble all over the place like that.
posted by mhoye at 6:09 PM on February 5, 2013


A shame about the lack of audio.

Whatya talkin' about, it's right here.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:35 PM on February 5, 2013


but it's absurd to compare balloon-lifting a toy into the stratosphere with designing and launching a gigantic communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit.

*Eyeroll*

Oh c'mon already...let's not get all picky about things. She's twelve for chrissakes...and she did pretty darned good...no need to make her feel bad...

She'll do the "gigantic communications satellite into geosynchronous orbit," thing next year, or maybe the year after that...I'm sure....
posted by Skygazer at 3:11 AM on February 6, 2013


Okay apparenlty hyperbole-based humorous rhetoric doesn't fly here, so to speak.

Oh it flies, just like early rocket: there's a chance it might not work.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:02 AM on February 6, 2013


Not to diminish the scientific aspect of this by too much, but the whole rig is basically a kit (which costs $500) including the platform, data recorder, camera mounts, and balloon. A great learning tool, to be sure, but it seem to require little more than "attach cameras, fill balloon, let go."

Again, still very cool and cute, but perhaps not as "amazing" a fest as the article seems to suggest.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:16 AM on February 6, 2013


Nah, it's pretty amazing to send up a ballon and camera and record what happened. It's not launching rockets to circle the globe, but still pretty damn "wow, that's neat!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:44 AM on February 6, 2013


it seem to require little more than "attach cameras, fill balloon, let go."

You seem to have missed "make incredibly cute rocket and insert Hello Kitty", which makes me sad for you.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:50 AM on February 6, 2013


It's amazing that the Stratosphere is become fair game for almost anyone who wants to touch it in some way with some toy, talisman or other proxy for oneself.
posted by Skygazer at 10:49 AM on February 6, 2013


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