Astronauts just sent the first donut to space, because of course they did
Last week, a group of Swedish amateur astronauts launched a donut into space using a weather balloon, making it the first confection of its kind to go where few men and women have gone before.
“I wanted to send something that nobody had done before, [which] is why we chose a donut,” Alexander Jönsson, a member of the team, told Mic — and we kind of love how delightfully weird the whole thing is.
“I’m really into space and photography and I used to play around with weather balloons back in school,” Jönsson told The Local. But obviously, interest and action are two very different things. It’s no easy feat getting something or someone to space — to put it into perspective, only about 560 people have been — and even though at first it may sound a little ridiculous, the whole thing is actually pretty remarkable.
Stratolys, the group behind the ploy, spent three months planning and two weeks building a contraption that could carry a donut, GPS tracker (so they could find the thing when it landed), and a couple of cameras (to document the journey) to space. The vessel would have to withstand major atmospheric changes and falling from outer space without damaging any of the goods (donut included). So Jönsson and his brother, Benjamin, built their own “payload box” — basically a large foam container with holes for the cameras and an acrylic glass plate sticking out of it to glue the donut to — and it totally held up.
Perhaps even more incredibly, the project had two sponsors — Mat.se and Air Liquide — and only cost $1,134.47 total. (That’s right: for about $1,100, you, too, can send your breakfast into the great beyond.)
The team launched their space donut from Askim, Norway — where, unlike Sweden, they could do so without a permit, and regulations on amateur inanimate object space travel aren’t quite as rigid. According to the YouTube video, after five hours and 137 kilometers, the weather balloon popped and the team called the Swedish Sea Rescue Society in Åmål to find their payload after it landed in Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden. (And in case you were wondering how the pastry stayed so pristine for most of its journey, it was covered in enamel paint.)
Although a donut is not necessarily the weirdest thing we’ve sent into space (according to TIME, we have also sent a lightsaber, golf clubs, and some LEGOs), it’s still incredible that an amateur team pulled the whole thing off. As Mic pointed out, “As materials get cheaper, the ability to break new ground falls into the hands of the ambitious, not just the wealthy” — which is pretty darn exciting.
And as to whether or not Stratolys has big plans for the future?
“We’ve been kicking around various ideas. We’re thinking of going to the United States in 2017 when they will have a total solar eclipse to send up a weather balloon,” Jönsson told The Local. “But the thing is, how do you top a donut?”
We can’t wait to find out.
(Image via video.)