They launched a rubber chicken.
The students inflated a helium balloon and used it to send the fowl, named "Camilla," to an altitude of 120,000 ft where she was exposed to high-energy solar protons at point blank range.
"We equipped Camilla with sensors to measure the radiation," says Sam Johnson (age 16) of Bishop Union High School's Earth to Sky student group1. "At the apex of our flight, the payload was above 99% of Earth's atmosphere."
Launching a rubber chicken into a solar storm might sound strange, but the students had good reason: They're doing an astrobiology project.
"Later this year, we plan to launch a species of microbes to find out if they can live at the edge of space," explains team member Rachel Molina (age 17). "This was a reconnaissance flight."
Read the rest of the story at: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/19apr_camilla/