Harvard students launch burger into space

Jeni Bloomfeld - News Reporter 19 November 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a hamburger attached to a balloon. This humble burger (pictured above) was sent into space by a group of five Harvard University Students in “Operation Skyfall”.

Renzo Lucioni, Nuseir Yassin, Daniel Broudy, Jamie Law-Smith and Matt Moellman (all Juniors at the university) planned their mission carefully. “Operation Skyfall” consisted of first coating the burger with a shellac-like lacquer so it could withstand the rigours of the trip, and connecting it to a camera and GPS system. It was then attached to a helium balloon. The burger reached an impressive altitude of almost 100,000 feet before the balloon burst and the burger came crashing back down to earth.

Both camera and burger survived, and were collected several days later from where they were stuck in a tree just outside Boston. The film of this extraordinary journey has been uploaded to YouTube by Nyassin14 so all the world can follow the burger in its rise and inevitable fall.

However, some Cambridge students have expressed doubts about the lasting value of the project. Daniel Hyman, a second- year mathematician, wondered whether a carrot would have been a better choice of foodstuff, being more aerodynamically shaped. He went on to suggest that the use of a carrot could garner more support amongst vegetarians, who might otherwise object to the more controversial choice of a burger.

Charlotte Coles, a second-year Engineering student, found ‘Operation Skyfall’ “ordinary” compared to similar projects in the recent past: “This isn’t anything new. Cambridge sent a pair of teddy-bears into space four years ago. It was a much more worthwhile project – they could use the video footage to get schoolkids enthusiastic about engineering. You can’t really build up an emotional connection with a burger.”

Jeni Bloomfeld – News Reporter