On April 9, 2015, a couple of Swedes made history by sending a doughnut into space.
The video shows how they attached both a camera and a doughnut to a weather balloon, and then sent the balloon 20 miles up (32 kilometers). That took the doughnut beyond the stratosphere — though, technically, this isn't considered outer space, which starts 62 miles (100 km) above Earth. The balloon later landed in the water, where the pastry was recovered by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society and returned it to the group.
The beautiful journey shows the blue magnificence of Earth's oceans, the haze of light playing upon the atmosphere's edge, and the incredible endurance of the doughnut's colorful sprinkles. Yet somehow, it's bittersweet. Though the video shows the beauty of both the doughnut and this blue marble we call home, it also serves as a poignant farewell from pastry to planet.
But then it fell back to Earth, so the Swedes ate it:
Putting novel foods into space — and recording these historic achievements — has become an odd fixation of people with weather balloons and GoPro cameras. Natural Light made a video of beer in space, Andy Shovel sent a burger and chips to space, and some Harvard students floated up a hamburger.
So why balloons? In part because it's extremely difficult to get these foods into space via regular spaceship. As Mary Roach described in Packing for Mars, conventional foods aren't very well-suited to space travel. On March 23, 1965, a corned beef sandwich was brought aboard the Gemini III capsule. But before astronaut Jim Young could eat it, he had to stash it — the sandwich broke apart too easily and risked spreading crumbs around the ship (which in low gravity are almost impossible to extract).
Since then, astronauts have been limited in what treats they can take to space. NASA says that thanks to vacuum-sealed packaging, astronauts can now bring brownies aboard the International Space Station. Someday, a doughnut may leave Spaceship Earth again.
Maybe next time, it won't be a tragedy.
WATCH: 'A time lapse of Earth from the International Space Station'