Feeds

Missing Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG RISES from the GRAVE

Battered CASSiE miraculously found in Nottinghamshire field

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Pics The Brit space hedgehog which went missing back in March during a high-altitude ballooning mission has miraculously been recovered, battered and bruised but otherwise intact.

CASSiE (Cosmic Ambassador for Space Science and Engineering) took off from Frome in Somerset as part of the MARSBalloon project to send student experiment podules to the stratosphere.

MARSBalloon team members Michael Guest and Claire Parfitt show off Deimos and Phobos the night before launch

Two payloads - Deimos and Phobos - left the ground, but only Phobos was successfully recovered later the same day. Cue a frantic search for CASSiE, believed to have come down somewhere over Oxfordshire or Warwickshire.

In fact, the mission had ended in a field in Nottinghamshire, where on 22 September, farm worker Simon Jacklin ran over the errant payload with an agricultural mower.

A photo of the payload on the ground, somewhat damaged

A close shave. Pic: Simon Jacklin

Handily, the remains still had MARSBalloon lead engineer Andrew Bacon's phone number on them. Jacklin said: "I wasn't sure what I had found at first, but after I spoke to Andrew I was really glad I noticed it."

MARSBalloon team member Claire Parfitt, Simon Jacklin and Cassie rescuer Andrew Bacon

MARSBalloon team members Claire Parfitt and Andrew Bacon, with CASSiE rescuer Simon Jacklin (centre)

Bacon and Claire Parfitt rushed to the scene for an emotional reunion with a shaken CASSiE, although they didn't know just how shaken the space hedgehog was until they reviewed the onboard camera footage.

First up, the payload had immediately copped a soaking as it drifted towards Bristol.

Still from Cassie onboard camera showing launch in heavy rain

Nice weather for ducks, but not for hedgehogs

A dusting of snow then brought it almost back to Earth in Severn Beach, where it hit a fence and disgorged some of its podules.

Snow gathering on the payload over Bristol

Lovely weather over Bristol

The payload hits a fence in Severn Beach

Crash bang wallop in Severn Beach

Having accidentally shed weight, the payload rose again to continue through further inclement weather and down to its final destination.

The payload covered in snow

I'll call you back - I'm a bit snowed under. The last image from the onboard camera

MARSBalloon - organised by Brit engineering outfit SEA in collaboration with the UK Space Agency - is designed to give schoolkids and uni students the chance "to test how everyday objects will survive on Mars".

The average temperature on the Red Planet is reckoned to be around -55°C, so that's pretty similar to what CASSiE will have endured during the flight. Mercifully for future explorers, though, no fences have as yet been spotted on the Martian surface. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Who wants to be there as history is made at the launch of our LOHAN space project?
Two places available in the chase plane above the desert
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.