This hummingbird has touched space. On Sept. 22, 2022, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched the sterling silver pendant to the stratosphere on board a cosmic ray research balloon. At the apex of the flight, it floated 117,710 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California.
This pendant has 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 hummingbird 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 hummingbird pendants to pay the helium bill for their cosmic ray ballooning program. Each one comes with a greeting card showing the necklace in flight and telling the story of its trip to the stratosphere and back again.
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