Urbana, IL (PRWEB) February 06, 2014
A group of students at the University of Illinois are helping Stephen Hawking boldly go where no physicist -- or action figure of one -- has gone before.
Student-run organization Space for All of Urbana, Illinois announced on Monday its intention to send an action figure of the renowned physicist, author, and professor Stephen Hawking on a weather balloon to an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet. In doing so, they hope to excite people in their community and beyond about the possibilities of space travel.
“Stephen Hawking has always been an inspiration of mine,” said the group’s director and third-year student Spencer Gore. “He has challenged us to reconsider our place in the universe, and to dedicate ourselves to expanding the human race beyond the confines of Earth.” For this reason, he said, Hawking seemed like the right person to honor with a trip to the edge of space.
The near-space flight over central Illinois is expected to span 3 hours. During this time, Hawking will travel over 100 miles of land, through temperatures colder than -70 degrees fahrenheit, and will experience over 100 times the normal level of cosmic radiation. At the peak of his flight, he will be exposed to pressures nearly as low as on the surface of Mars.
According to Space for All, Professor Hawking will not be accompanied his iconic wheelchair for any part of the flight. “In space, he wouldn’t need a wheelchair,” remarked Gore. “So why would we send him there with one?”