Humans have sent some unusual things into the Earth’s orbit and beyond. An issue of Playboy, a corned beef sandwich, and Luke Skywalker’s light saber prop have all made the journey to space, and now Ars Technica UK reports that a meat-and-potato pie has become the first to leave the planet. To mark next week’s World Pie Eating Championship in Wigan, UK, a team of scientists launched the savory pastry into the upper stratosphere on December 15.
The British specialty was baked by the local shop Ultimate Purveyors before it was carried 29 miles above the Earth’s surface via weather balloon. A team of scientists with the group SentIntoSpace organized the launch. Then, they watched the live stream of its ascent from “mission control” (a.k.a. a nearby pub) and its descent back to Earth.
On December 20, pie-eating competitors will gather in Wigan to wolf down meat pies nearly 5 inches in diameter as quickly as possible. The current champion, Martin Appleton Clare, polished one pie off in a record-setting 22.53 seconds.
Though it was primarily done for fun, the mission did serve a tenuous scientific purpose. Tony Callaghan, the owner of the pub that served as mission control, told the Manchester Evening News:
“We are aware that scientists have been experimenting with plants on the International Space Station to see if their molecular structure changes, so we are experimenting with pies to see if the structure changes with space travel and allows the pie to be eaten quicker.”
The team was also interested to see if the friction upon re-entry would act as a valid cooking method.
[h/t Ars Technica UK]