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Boy to launch Peep into upper atmosphere

  |   April 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 7 (UPI) -- An Arizona 9-year-old said his school science project involves using a weather balloon to send a marshmallow Peep into the upper atmosphere.

Tim Devereaux of Scottsdale said his science project for his fourth-grade class at Laguna Elementary School will examine whether low atmosphere pressure will make the marshmallow treat expand, KPHO-TV, Phoenix, reported Wednesday.

Devereaux said the weather balloon, which will burst at 90,000 feet -- about 17 miles above the ground -- and deploy a parachute to bring its cargo back to Earth, will also be carrying a Styrofoam cooler containing a GPS tracker, a GPS smartphone as backup, a foil coffee lid to act as a radar deflector and a camera to take pictures of the Peep every 5 seconds.

The fourth-grader said his project, which he hopes to launch April 16, is also raising money for charity by selling "seats" in the cooler to people who want their photographs to visit the upper atmosphere. He said $5 gets a spot inside the cooler while $25 gets a "VIP" position pasted to the bottom of the cooler. The proceeds will go to the Ryan House charity for ill children and their families, he said.

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