You know, sometimes you read an article, and you scratch your head and say “huh?”.
That was what happened to me and I had to research it further.
The story that I read on the BBC a while back was about a woman in England who is knitting a sweater for a rubber chicken that gets sent up into space every time the Solar Dynamics Observatory is launched by NASA. Nice to have a dear Gran there to knit you a sweater even if you are sent to space in the name of Science.
It was never really explained why this chicken, named Camilla, was sent up there.
Having had my nose in web pages I assumed it was all about making sure the colors are calibrated and brushed it off.
After a bit, I reread the posting and thought that it really didn’t explain why we were sending a rubber chicken up into the stratosphere and beyond.
Heading to a search engine, I dutifully followed through and learned the story.
It’s a Mascot whose chief duty is Public Relations.
Now it is all clear, and that’s great. After all why wouldn’t a mascot be a Rubber Chicken? In Philadelphia, the Phillies use an Aardvark for their mascot, and a green one at that. Aardvarks are not green, nor do they live anywhere near Philadelphia, PA. Typically, Aardvarks are from Africa, although knowing the Philadelphia Zoo, I suspect one or more lives there near the train tracks in West Philly.
Why not take a flight of fancy with a rubber chicken?
Now, of course if you’re going to send your rubber chicken into space, you’re going to want to dress for the weather aren’t you? After all it gets quite cold at night when you’re orbiting the Earth. When the spaceship comes back into the sunlight, it’s going to get quite warm and you’re not going to want sunburn are you?
Poor little Camilla the Chicken. You’re giving your all for science!
The reality is that she won’t be strapped to the side of a satellite, apparently. It’s not completely clear but it looks like they’re going to send her up in a weather balloon and have a look around at the curvature of the Earth next. There are plenty of videos about that particular project done by others, and if you have about 7 minutes you can see the kind of project they’re going to perform on this video below.