It's the logical way to decorate your Christmas tree--with a rare Mr. Spock ornament. This one has been to the edge of space. On Sept. 22, 2022, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched Spock to the stratosphere on board a cosmic ray research balloon. At the apex of the flight, Spock floated 117,710 feet above the Vulcan-like desert east of California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
During the 2.5 hour flight, Spock experienced temperatures as low as -57 C and air pressures less than 0.08% of sea level. According to the radiation sensors, cosmic ray levels were 100 times Earth-normal as the ornament reached the top of our planet’s atmosphere and touched the edge of space. After the balloon exploded (as planned), the payload parachuted back to Earth, landing in Death Valley Wash on the outskirts of Death Valley National Park.
The students are selling Spock ornaments to pay the helium bill for their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the science officer in flight and telling the story of his trip to the stratosphere and back again.
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