By Misty DUPLESSIS
Mountain Avenue Elementary second grade friends Morgan Lashley-Haynes and Rylan Brodie joined fellow classmates in participating in the school’s annual science fair.
During a play date, the girls began to brainstorm ideas for the science fair and came up with a weather balloon project that would be out of this world – literally.
The girls filled a 6-by-6 foot weather balloon with helium and dressed one of their Barbie dolls in an astronaut outfit, then sent her to do investigative research for them in space.
Barbie was equipped with a weather-proof camera, a parachute and a tracking device monitored on a smartphone application then launched into space on Dec. 7.
To ensure the retrieval of the footage from Barbie’s adventure, a note was attached asking whoever found the Mountain Avenue school project to return the equipment for a reward.
Shortly after Barbie was sent on this first ever experiment, the GPS tracker froze at about 90,000 feet. The whereabouts of this science project were unknown.
Then on the evening of Dec. 12 the Lashley-Hayneses received a call from a Southern California vegetable farmer who said that his family had seen the equipment parachute down.
The Ontario farmer refused the reward money and returned the unscathed science gear to its rightful owners.
To the little scientists’ surprise, Barbie not only brought back colorful images of the earth’s brilliant lights, but the long lasting battery enabled the camera to record Farmer James’ discovery of the doll.
On Jan. 25, NASA and JPL representatives will attend Mountain Avenue’s Science Fun Fair where a room will be dedicated to the experiment by these pioneering scientists.
The Lashley-Haynes and Brodie families hope to share the footage with the community through a YouTube video after the science fair.
“That is what Mountain Avenue is all about. It is all about the parents giving as much time as they have to do all these great things,” said Jansen Lashley-Haynes about the school’s encouragement and parent involvement that helped make this possible.
Brodie said that this was one of the most fun projects she had ever worked on and that she learned a lot from this experiment and that she was amazed what helium could do.
“I learned that if a Barbie can go into space, so can I,” said Lashley-Haynes, who will soon begin to think of her next year’s contribution to the school’s science fair.