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Where in the world is Sam the stuffed dog?
Students from Morecambe Bay Primary School in northwest England sent the cuddly toy to the edge of space on Tuesday. They hooked the stuffed animal to a helium balloon and watched him soar.
The youngsters monitored the toy dog’s location via GPS tracking equipment as he beamed back beautiful images showing the curvature of the Earth.
But when the balloon popped around 15 miles above Earth, Sam detached from the tracker and camera. The equipment plummeted back down to terra firma and was discovered in a field in Burnley, some 48 miles southeast of the launch site.
The stuffed canine astronaut was nowhere to be found.
Was he abducted by aliens? Had he hitched a ride on the International Space Station? Sadly, there’s likely a less fanciful explanation.
“Our footage indicates that one of the helium balloon tethers got tangled with the mascot when it burst at peak altitude and the free fall part of the flight commenced,” Chris Rose, from SentIntoSpace.com, told the Burnley Express.
“We do not have any data on the aerodynamics of a toy dog or its terminal velocity, but we’re pretty sure Sam landed within a 40-50 mile radius of Burnley,” he added. “He could have landed in North Lancashire or as far afield as York, Sheffield or the Peak District.”
A manhunt, or toy dog hunt, is now underway to locate the stuffed animal.
The Midland Hotel, where the launch took place, is now offering a free stay as a reward for the toy’s safe return.
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