York prepares to launch a duck in to space

12 Nov 2014 @ 2.25 pm
| Education

Forget all the excitement about the Rosetta spacecraft launching a lander onto a comet – York has its own space mission to concentrate on.

Pioneering students from York University are preparing to send a duck into space.

Not a real one, that would be quackers. Theirs is a rubber duck.

While most of its brethren do nothing more exciting than bob about in baths, the brave little yellow chap chosen by the York Astronomy Society will boldly go where no duck has gone before.

Launch date is set for the university’s science week (November 16-22). Then Astroduck will be harnessed to a professional weather balloon and propelled into space.

Equipped with a GoPro camera, GPS trackers and a black box, the duck will capture scientific data such as temperature and air pressure as well as film footage of the unique mission.

Then Astroduck will float back to earth via parachute, hopefully to a hero’s welcome.

Quack to the future

An artist’s impression of the mission

“This project is the first of its kind in the university’s history and the amount of support we’ve received has been fantastic,” said Adam Shore, from Astroduck Mission Control (the Heslington East campus).

The project was pitched through the university crowd-funding platform YuStart, where sponsors can pledge money to support new research and business ideas. They exceeded their £1,000 target.

“Both the public and students are welcome to join us and cheer on Astroduck as he travels to where no duck has been before,” said Adam, a second year undergraduate in the Department of Physics.

“Once we collect Astroduck post-flight, we will have some great HD footage and data to share with the public.”

  York University Science Week is a series of free student-run events, taking place from 16 – 22 November

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