Science & Technology

‘Space sisters’ plan stratospheric eclipse balloon mission: Which Lego lady should they fly?

The Seattle sisters behind a sequence of missions to launch Lego toys into the stratosphere on high-altitude balloons are at it once more. This time, they’re teaming up with the professionals at NASA for a flight tied to the Aug. 21 complete photo voltaic eclipse — and they have only one request.

Twelve-year-old Rebecca Yeung and her 10-year-old sister, Kimberly, want your assist recruiting the co-pilot for Loki Lego Launcher 3.0.

It’s turn out to be custom for the ladies to launch a photograph of their late cat Loki and a Lego minifigure to the sting of area on a balloon. The maiden voyage despatched R2-D2 practically 80,000 toes up in 2015. Final 12 months, a Lego toy representing Rey from “Star Wars: The Drive Awakens” the two.0 mission took a flip.

This time, they have their coronary heart set on selecting a robust feminine position mannequin to affix Loki on the following journey.

The sisters informed GeekWire that they couldn’t determine on which lady to launch, so they set up a poll to let their followers and followers do the selecting. They selected their finalists based mostly on three standards: Every candidate needed to be an empowering lady, a recognizable determine and somebody both fictional or not alive at this time.

“We’ve narrowed it down to 3 choices: Merida from the film ‘Courageous,’ Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Amelia Earhart, the primary pilot to cross the Atlantic,” the ladies stated in a blog post. “We expect that every one of them have been sturdy, empowering ladies.”

To date, Lego Amelia Earhart is within the lead, with Hermione in second place and Merida in third. The ladies will make their determination based mostly on the voting in time for August’s large day.

The Yeung sisters might be working alongside different citizen scientists in a marketing campaign known as the Eclipse Ballooning Challenge, which might be gathering high-altitude knowledge through the complete part of August’s eclipse. Video and pictures from the flights might be shared with NASA and the world.

Totality might be seen from a path about 70 miles vast that extends from the Oregon coast all the best way throughout the nation to the coast of South Carolina.

Rebecca had been finding out the all-American photo voltaic eclipse in school, which is what sparked the concept to ship up Loki Lego Launcher 3.0 to observe the moon’s shadow glide throughout the Earth.

“It’s humorous as a result of we thought it was an concept that we got here up with by ourselves,” she stated. “After which we discovered NASA was doing it with individuals throughout the nation.” 

They teamed up with the Montana House Grant Consortium to ship up a 4.4-pound payload that may enable for extra science than their earlier missions. Their cargo consists of two GoPro cameras, a SPOT Hint GPS tracker, an APRS radio tracker, a power-generating photo voltaic panel — and, after all, Loki and the Lego determine.

“We’ll nonetheless have the GPS and radio units monitoring in actual time, so we’ll all be capable of observe alongside,” the ladies stated in an electronic mail to GeekWire.

More than 50 teams in all are signed up throughout the U.S. for the Eclipse Ballooning Challenge. Most of them are faculty groups, with a couple of highschool teams. The Yeungs might be among the many youngest members.

“I believe it’s going to be thrilling,” Kimberly stated. “They’re all principally virtually skilled scientists. It’ll be cool to see their experiments.”

The sisters stated they’re glad to be part of a scientific marketing campaign fairly than mere eclipse-watchers. Their mission’s prime goals are to seize footage of the moon’s shadow on Earth, and accumulate and analyze knowledge from the flight pc and photo voltaic panel. The ladies are additionally hoping to affix a microbiology undertaking.

The primary two Loki Lego launches occurred in rural central Washington, however this time, the sisters might be touring to Glendo, Wyo., to affix different scientists within the path of totality.

The journey might be greater than a science mission — it’s additionally a household highway journey. The Yeungs plan to absorb the sights at nationwide parks alongside the best way.

The success of the sisters’ earlier balloon missions introduced them nationwide attention. They have been invited to tour NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and final 12 months they met President Barack Obama on the White Home Science Honest. Most just lately, they have been the stars of a documentary about their journey.

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