Sunday 5 December 2010

Potatoes in space

If you mention the words "potato" and "space" to a British person over the age of 45, they're likely to reminisce about the Smash advert for instant mashed potato from the 1970s, featuring a UFO full of metal androids having a right good chortle at our humble attempts to cook a spud.

This blog isn't about that. No sir, this blog is about an actual potato going to the edge of actual space. Yes, really!

I can claim no credit for what you are about to discover. Not only that, but this news is almost a year old, so you may already be aware of the lengths that a tuber will go to, in these celebrity-infested times, to get some attention.

This week, the newsletter with our organic veg delivery featured an article about an experiment conducted by the Riverford franchise to deploy a humble potato into the stratosphere. That's 20 miles up and, even more incredibly, safely back down again. Don't get me started on the pro's and con's of food miles, just work with me here.

In fact, there were two experiments carried out at the end of 2009, appropriately named Spudnik 1 and Spudnik 2. (I am not making this up!). They involved a weather balloon, a Blackberry, a digital camera and er... a potato.

Oh, and Spudnik 2's potato was dressed as Father Christmas. 

For more information, go to the Spudnik2 website, play the video and be very, very amazed.

Perhaps if a class of Primary School pupils and an organic veg company had been involved with the Large Hadron Collider from the start, we'd already be on first name terms with Mr Higgs' eponymous boson.

I can only hope that, eventually, there will be a Star Trek film where the crew of the Enterprise encounter a Solanum-based lifeform in deep space. 

Picard: "Are those blemishes on its skin, Data?" 
Data: "Eye, eye, Captain!"

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