An independent grocery store in Utah plans to send one of its store-made donughnuts high into Earth's atmosphere. No word yet on how that doughnut will taste when it returns.
Today (June 7) at 10 a.m. MDT (12 p.m. EDT, 1600 GMT), Bowman's Market (which is based in Kaysville, south of Ogden) will launch a high-altitude balloon from its parking lot — weather permitting, of course. The mission plan calls for the doughnut to rise about 22 miles (35 kilometers) high, before the balloon bursts and descends to Earth. Bowman's customers can take part in a contest to guess where it will land.
The store will make this near-space shot to celebrate National Doughnut Day. "It's been an extremely rewarding project so far," Noah Wenzel, who doubles as the store's baker and the mission's flight director, said in a statement. "We view ourselves as a unique store, and launching a doughnut [toward] space matches up with our mission to do fun and extraordinary things in our community."
There are many opportunities for customers to take part, including naming the doughnut, watching in person as it launches and (for the kids) enjoying a special coloring contest. There will also be a livestream of the mission at bowmansmarket.com.
If all goes according to plan, the balloon will soar well above commercial airplane flights and most of Earth's air, high enough to see the curvature of our planet and black sky. But it won't fly into space. The internationally defined space boundary is at 62 miles (100 kilometers) above sea level, and the U.S. Air Force defines space's edge as being 50 miles (80 kilometers) high.
If successful, this doughnut won't be the first tasty treat to soar to high altitudes. In 2012, Harvard students sent a hamburger aloft in a balloon, which mysteriously went missing sometime before landing, UPI reported. And in 2017, World View Enterprises launched a Kentucky Fried Chicken Zinger sandwich to the edge of space.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace