Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Suborbital Chicken...

On Wednesday Sept. 5th a group of California high school students celebrated the 35th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 1 in an unusual way: They launched a rubber chicken. The popular NASA mascot Camilla traveled to the top of our planet's atmosphere on board a suborbital helium balloon. Here is a snapshot from an altitude of approximately 120,000 feet:
Camilla is wearing headphones. Why? Because..
she's listening to the Golden iPod, the modern-day successor to the Golden Records bolted to the side of the Voyager probes. The students are updating the Golden Records with 21st-century content that the students would like to send into the cosmos. This was just a test flight; in 2013, they hope to launch the Golden iPod into Earth orbit onboard a CubeSat they are building.

At the apex of the Sept. 5th suborbital flight, the helium balloon popped as planned and Camilla parachuted back to Earth. The students, who call their group "Earth to Sky," recovered Camilla and the Golden iPod from a remote landing site in the Nevada wilderness on Sept. 6th. Now they are all enjoying music that has been to the doorstep of space itself. 

More information about the flight and the recovery expedition may be found at Earth to Sky's Facebook page. Students who wish to participate in the Golden iPod project can submit their ideas for the iPod's playlist at

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