We’ve seen this experiment a few times before, but never with Hello Kitty “catonaut” in a Japanese rocket made by a 12-year-old. And perhaps not with such a glorious pop:

NASA doesn’t have a lock on space exploration anymore. Just ask Lauren Rojas, a seventh grader in Antioch, Calif., who recently launched a balloon to 93,625 feet using a do-it-yourself balloon kit from High Altitude Science

The project is a terrific illustration of just how accessible the near-space environment has become. High Altitude Science was founded two years ago by Joseph Maydell, a flight controller for the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, who wanted everyone to experience the beautiful views of the planet that he got to see in the course of his work.

Not only does Maydell sell a kit and a flight computer on his site, but he also includes tutorials to get started with.

From the archives, more views of Earth’s curvature

via Scientific American.