A group of primary schoolchildren have launched a potato into space in a “shuttle” made from of a two-litre plastic drink bottle.
Pupils at Landscove C of E Primary School dressed the potato as Father Christmas with a white beard and red bobble hat before positioning him in the shuttle.
The “spacechip” – named Spudnik2 – was then tied to a helium weather balloon with a camera attached and launched from the local village car park in Devon.
They watched as it soared 17 miles up – reaching 90,000ft – before the balloon burst and the shuttle floated back down to earth on a parachute and landed 140 miles away in Hampshire.
Spudnik2 was located due to its GPS tracking system and the teachers and pupils were delighted to discover the camera had captured these stunning images from space.
Head teacher Robin Smith admitted it was a ”mad idea” but was also a way of teaching youngsters – who designed several ”pilots” – about space and the earth’s atmosphere.
He said: ”The kids loved doing things that are unusual, so if you tell them they will be launching a potato into space you really engage their interest.
”It may seems like a mad idea, but it was a unique project and the children really learned a lot from the experience.
”We try to provide an education that enhances the children’s creative skills and encourages them to find solutions to problems.
”This project was a really good way to develop this side of their thinking. It was ridiculous but really good fun.”
The project – which carried the catchline ”one small step for spud, one giant leap for spudkind” – was given the name Spudnik2 after the first mission – Spudnik1 – failed.
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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.
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