‘Sicilian Space Program’ launches pastry into stratosphere

This image taken by the Voyager spacecraft of the planets and four of Jupiter's moons is set against a false-color Rosette Nebula with Earth's moon in the foreground. Credit: Getty Images
This image taken by the Voyager spacecraft of the planets and four of Jupiter’s moons is set against a false-color Rosette Nebula with Earth’s moon in the foreground. Credit: Getty Images

Sicilian amateur scientists have launched a model cannolo, a cream-stuffed pastry roll symbolic of the Italian island, into the stratosphere, capturing bizarre images of the dessert flying far above the earth.

The “Sicilian Space Program,” which cost a rough total of 350 euros, had symbolic importance as well as being a scientific feat, the three natives of the island town of Enna behind it told Reuters.

“Sicily has always been a place of negative connotations, mafia and unemployment. We wanted to lift up Sicily in our own way,” said filmmaker Fabio Leone, 34, who recorded the project with Antonella Barbera, 38.

Their heavily indebted island, long plagued by organized crime, was forced to impose a strict spending program by Rome in 2012 and has one of the highest unemployment rates in Italy.

Attached to a large helium-filled balloon, a home-made spacecraft called the ‘Cannolo Transporter’ equipped with two cameras and a GPS tracker, captured stunning and comical images as the cannolo soared above the clouds towards space.

It rose to at least 29,768 meters according to Paolo Capasso, 37, a computer technician responsible for the careful calculations behind the launch on Feb. 2.

As a real cannolo would be unlikely to survive the voyage, the group made a model of the cherry-studded pastry with a polymer clay material hardened in an oven.

The craft had to weigh under 2 kilos to qualify for the easiest official permits required to fly into high altitude.

The body of the craft was made from an insulated ice cream box, which protected the camera batteries from temperatures that dropped below -50 degrees Celsius.

Atmospheric pressure decreased as the Cannolo Transporter rose, causing the balloon to expand until it eventually burst. It then tumbled back to earth, slowed by a small parachute.

It landed in hills near the village of Bompietro, 15 miles from where had been launched at the peak of the Rocca di Cerere nature park. It was recovered by the team who followed the GPS signal on a hunt through fields of sheep.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…