US Army asks for biodegradable ammo

File photo - Spc. Ethan Esposito, Joint Multinational Training Command, fires his M4 carbine rifle during United States Army Europe's Best Warrior Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 31, 2012. (U.S. Army)

File photo – Spc. Ethan Esposito, Joint Multinational Training Command, fires his M4 carbine rifle during United States Army Europe’s Best Warrior Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 31, 2012. (U.S. Army)

The U.S. Army gets through a lot of ammunition thanks to the amount of training it carries out. But that ammunition doesn’t come without waste which slowly degrades over hundreds of years polluting whatever ground (and nearby water sources) it happens to fall upon.

So the Department of Defense (DoD) decided to do something about it, and is requesting environmentally friendly ammunition for use during training exercises.

The request was made via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Specifically, the DoD wants “biodegradable training ammunition loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants.”

The ammunition the DoD wants to replace with biodegradable alternatives includes “low velocity 40mm grenades; 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars; shoulder launched munitions; 120mm tank rounds; and 155mm artillery rounds.” There’s also cartridge cases and sabot petals, which can either lay on the ground or end up buried beneath it.

Sourcing the seeds for use in this new ammunition won’t be a problem as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) already bioengineered them so as not to germinate for several months, allowing time for the materials containing them to sufficiently biodegrade. The seeds can then take up any remaining contaminants as they grow, further reducing harm to the environment.

As for what materials could be used to form the ammunition, the DoD points to materials used for manufacturing water bottles, plastic containers and other composite plastics already on the market today.

Any contractor attempting to produce these bullets for the DoD will need to progress through a three phase SBIR process. Phase one involves demonstrating a production process for the biodegradable materials for 40mm-120mm training rounds. Phase two involves proving the fabrication process and passing government ballistic tests. Finally, phase three will involve working with ammunition contractors to turn the tech into a supply of training ammunition.

If successful, the use of biodegradable ammunition will lead to less ground contamination while at the same time ensuring anywhere training exercises are carried out will be left rich in plant life.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

Anxiety may give dogs gray hair

File photo: Gamekeeper Bob Pirie poses with his dog Kyle on a heather moor a day before the opening of the grouse shooting season, on the Auchleeks Estate near Trinafour, Scotland August 11, 2010.

File photo: Gamekeeper Bob Pirie poses with his dog Kyle on a heather moor a day before the opening of the grouse shooting season, on the Auchleeks Estate near Trinafour, Scotland August 11, 2010.  (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne )

Just like human hair, dogs’ fur can go gray if they’re going through tough times, a new study finds.

Young dogs whose owners rated them as anxious and impulsive were more likely to have prematurely gray muzzles than dogs that were not regarded as anxious or impulsive, the researchers found.

“Based on my years of experience observing and working with dogs, I’ve long had a suspicion that dogs with higher levels of anxiety and impulsiveness also show increased muzzle grayness,” study lead researcher Camille King, who earned her doctorate at Northern Illinois University’s Adult and Higher Education program in 2011 and now has her own animal behavior practice in the Denver area, said in a statement. [What These 8 Dog Breeds Say About Your Personality]

To investigate, the researchers traveled to dog parks, veterinary clinics and other venues in Colorado, giving questionnaires to the owners of 400 dogs. After the owners answered a 42-item questionnaire about their dogs’ behavior, age and health, the researchers took two mug shots of each dog.

The researchers excluded dogs with light-colored fur, as the coloring made it difficult to discern whether the dogs had a gray muzzle. They also excluded dogs that weren’t between 1 and 4 years old, as older dogs could have gray fur simply from aging, the researchers said.

To gauge each dog’s anxiety level, the researchers asked questions about the pet’s behavior, including whether the dog destroyed things when left alone, whether the dog had hair loss during vet exams or when it entered new places, and whether the dog cringed or cowered in response to groups of people.

To rate impulsivity, the researchers asked whether the dogs jumped on people, whether they could be calmed, if they had a loss of focus and whether they were hyperactive after exercise. Afterward, two independent raters who had never met the dogs graded each photo on a scale of 0 to 3, with 0 indicating no muzzle grayness and 3 indicating full muzzle grayness.

Gray fur

Female dogs tended to have higher levels of grayness than male dogs did, the researchers found. Moreover, dogs that showed fearfulness toward loud noises and unfamiliar animals and people tended to have increased grayness, they said.

In contrast, grayness had nothing to do with the dog’s size, whether it was fixed (that is, spayed or neutered) and whether the dog had any medical problems.

“At first, I was somewhat skeptical of the hypothesis,” said study co-researcher Thomas Smith, a professor in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University. “However, when we analyzed the data, the results actually were quite striking.”

Other studies have shown that stress can alter hair color. It’s unclear whether American presidents go gray because of high levels of stress or genetics, but stress can alter hair growth in mice, according to a 2006 study in the journal Experimental Dermatology. And stress is associated with accelerated aging in mice, a 2014 study in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design found.

The dog findings have practical applications, the researchers noted. If people who work with dogs notice young dogs with prematurely gray muzzles, they could alert the owners that the dog might be experiencing anxiety, impulsivity or fear issues. If necessary, the dogs could enroll in behavior-modification programs, the researchers wrote in the study, which was published in the December issue of the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

“This is an original, unique study that has implications for dog welfare,” said study co-researcher Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

Original article on Live Science.

Northern lights’ festive show captured in stunning NASA image

The northern lights — the swirling, cloud-like features in this image — stretched across northern Canada during the nighttime hours of Dec. 22, 2016. (Credit: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory)

The northern lights — the swirling, cloud-like features in this image — stretched across northern Canada during the nighttime hours of Dec. 22, 2016. (Credit: Jesse Allen / NASA Earth Observatory)

The northern lights put on a festive show over northern Canada just before Christmas, and a NASA satellite captured a stunning infrared image of the spectacular display.

The night after the winter solstice, NASA’s Suomi NPP spacecraft recorded the northern lights, or aurora borealis, across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories in Canada on the night of Dec. 22. From 512 miles above the Earth, the satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite captured the northern lights display, which appeared as glowing swirls of clouds over northern Canada, NASA’s Earth Observatory said in a statement.

The northern lights occur when particles from the sun known as the solar wind interact with Earth’s magnetic field, according to NASA scientists. Because the particles are charged, they can cause electrical current changes in the field that then send energetic particles into the upper atmosphere’s gases. When the particles hit the gases, they charge them, and when the gases release this gained energy, the aurora glows are triggered.

As the gases give up the energy, they release photons (light particles) of specific wavelengths, creating different colors. For example, researchers have found that oxygen atoms emit green and sometimes red light, while nitrogen is more orange or red. [Aurora Photos: See Breathtaking Views of the Northern Lights]

While such solar wind events can happen anytime, the solar storms that create the most magnificent displays of the northern lights occur roughly every 11 years, according to NASA researchers. The last cycle peak occurred in 2013, though NASA researchers reported that solar maximum was the weakest observed in a century.

Original article on Live Science.

Ancient underwater potato garden uncovered in Canada

 Submerged rock pavement (shown here) would have allowed the indigenous people to control how far their tubers grew, making for easier harvesting. (Credit: Katzie Development Limited Partnership)

Submerged rock pavement (shown here) would have allowed the indigenous people to control how far their tubers grew, making for easier harvesting. (Credit: Katzie Development Limited Partnership)

This harvest came 3,000 years too late.

Hundreds of blackened potatoes were pulled out of the ground at a prehistoric garden in British Columbia, Canada.

Dating back to 3,800 years before the present, the garden was once underwater, in an ecologically rich wetland. And it shows signs of sophisticated engineering techniques used to control the flow of water to more efficiently grow wild wapato tubers, also known as Indian potatoes. [The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

Archaeologists led by Tanja Hoffmann of the Katzie Development Limited Partnership and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia uncovered the garden during roadwork on Katzie First Nation territory just east of Vancouver, near the Fraser River.

The site had been waterlogged for centuries, resulting in good preservation of plants and other organic materials like wooden tools that would have normally disintegrated over time.

In all, the researchers counted 3,767 whole and fragmented wapato plants (Sagittaria latifolia). Today, these plants are found in wetlands across southern Canada and the United States. Though they were not domesticated, the chestnut-sized roots had long been important to indigenous people, and they are mentioned in some of the first ethnographic accounts of the Pacific Northwest. Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, for example, were offered wapato roots at a native village near present-day Portland, Oregon. Clark wrote in his diary that the plant resembled a “small Irish potato,” and after being roasted, had “an agreeable taste and answers very well in place of bread.”

The ancient tubers that were found in British Columbia had turned dark brown to black in color, and some still had their starchy insides preserved.

The garden had been covered in tightly packed, uniformly sized rocks, leading the researchers to conclude that this was a man-made deposit. Wapato plants can grow far underground, but an artificial rock “pavement” would have controlled how deep the roots could penetrate. This would have allowed the harvesters to more easily find the tubers and pull them out of the muck, Hoffmann and her colleagues wrote in their study, published Dec. 21 in the journal Science Advances.

Besides this waterlogged garden, the archaeological site also had a dry area where people would have lived. The researchers also found about 150 wooden tools that would have been used to dig out the plants.

Radiocarbon dates from the burnt wood found at the site suggest it dates back to 3,800 years ago and was abandoned 3,200 years ago.

The site could represent the first direct evidence of wetland plant cultivation in the prehistoric Pacific Northwest, according to the report on this discovery.

Original article on Live Science.

Check out NASA’s asteroid-catching robot arms

In preparation for the 2021 Asteroid Redirect Mission, this prototype of a robotic capture module system uses a mock asteroid boulder as a test at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. (Credit: NASA)

In preparation for the 2021 Asteroid Redirect Mission, this prototype of a robotic capture module system uses a mock asteroid boulder as a test at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. (Credit: NASA)

NASA is set to launch the robotic portion of its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) in 2021. This will be the first mission to visit and collect a multi-ton sample from a large near-Earth asteroid. The collected sample will be used in a demonstration of enhanced gravity tractor  asteroid deflection.

Recently at the Robotic Operation’s Center of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a robotic capture module system prototype used a mock asteroid boulder to test its capabilities. [NASA’s Asteroid-Capture Mission in Pictures]

NASA, along with students from West Virginia University, created the mock asteroid boulder from rock, styrofoam, plywood and an interior aluminum frame. The robotic hardware for the project includes three space frame legs with foot pads and two seven degrees of freedom arms with microspine grippers to hold on to the massive rock.

Within the ROC engineers have multiple tools — industrial robots, motion-based platforms, and customized algorithms — to aide in creating simulations of robotic spacecraft operating in space. Engineers will also have the capability to practice and perfect robotic satellite servicing operations, fine tuning systems and controllers and optimizing performance factors for future repair and refueling missions.

This portion of ARM will place the recovered asteroid sample in stable orbit around the moon. Future astronauts will explore the boulder and retrieve samples for study. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission offers advances in technologies and spaceflight experience, bringing necessary growth for the manned Martian missions planned for the 2030s.

Original story on Space.com.

The long guns: History of US military rifles

U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Barnett armed with the M14 enhanced battle rifle outside an Afghan border police observation point in Kunar province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew Barnett armed with the M14 enhanced battle rifle outside an Afghan border police observation point in Kunar province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

The U.S. Army’s upgraded M4A1 combat rifle is just the latest development in a category of weapons that American soldiers have carried since the country’s earliest days.

Long Gun Beginnings

Even before there was actually a “United States” there was what could arguably be considered the first true “American rifle.” Known as the Pennsylvania rifle, the Kentucky rifle or simply the long rifle, it was designed for hunting and was characterized by an unusually long barrel, a unique development that was uncommon in the European rifles of the era.

Military history consultant and former United States Marine Corps Captain Dale Dye told FoxNews.com that, in the flintlock era, the long gun was the first to have grooves in the barrel. “These grooves, or rifling, along with the longer barrel, made the guns much more accurate than the British Brown Bess musket,” he said.

HISTORY OF REMOTE WEAPONS IN PICTURES

The long rifle wasn’t ever produced in large enough numbers to truly make a difference during the American Revolution, but its use by sharpshooters – such as members of Morgan’s Riflemen at the 1777 Battle of Saratoga established the reputation of the American marksman.

The first truly big leap forward in long gun design came with the Caliber .54, Model 1841 Rifle, which was the first to utilize a percussion ignition system. The Model 1841 is sometimes called the Mississippi Rifle due to its use by a Mississippi rifle regiment during the Mexican War between 1846 and 1848. The regiment was commanded by future Confederate States President Jefferson Davis.

Davis, who served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, also authorized the production of the .58 Caliber Musket, or Springfield Model 1861, the first rifled weapon to be produced for general issue by the U.S. Army. The Springfield Model 1861 would go on to be the most widely used U.S Army weapon during the Civil War.

HISTORY OF THE ‘JEEP’ IN PICTURES

The rest of the 19th century saw other innovations in rifle design including the Springfield Model 1873 “Trapdoor”, a single shot weapon that was not without its problems, and later the Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen, a reliable but underwhelming bolt action rifle.

Truly American Rifles of the 20th Century

The real change came with the Springfield Model 1903 – an American take on a European classic.

“The Springfield was patterned after the (German-made) Mauser action,” said Dye. “It didn’t have an overly deep magazine, but it was accurate to 800 yards and could be fitted with a scope and used as a sniper version.”

HISTORIC TANKS IN PICTURES

The Springfield M1903 was the standard infantry rifle for all branches of the military during World War I, and was used widely during the early phases of World War II. It was replaced by what has been called one of the finest weapons of the 20th century, the M1 Garand, named after its inventor John Garand.

“This was the first successful semi-automatic used by any military,” Dye told FoxNews.com. “It is extremely rugged, extremely accurate.”

The M1 Garand, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year, was a significant improvement over the bolt action rifles of the day, which required that the weapon was manually cocked between each shot.

HISTORIC AIRCRAFT CARRIERS IN PICTURES

“This was really a game changer as it was semi-automatic and held eight rounds,” R. Lee Ermey, better known as the “Gunny”, former United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and host of the Outdoor Channel’s “Gunny Time”, told FoxNews.com. “It could be argued it helped win World War II.”

After the war the military planners sought to find a one-size fits all rifle, and the result was the M14, which was actually developed to replace four different weapons systems that included the M1 rifle, the M1 Carbine, the M3 “Grease Gun” submachine gun, and the M1918 Browning Automatic Bar (BAR). The upsized M1 had its fans, including the Marine Corps, which still issued one to each platoon in the Vietnam War.

“The M14 could hold its own against the bad guy gun, the AK-47,” added Ermey. “The problem is that it went with a smaller round than the M1, so it lost some of its punch.”

HISTORIC BOMBERS IN PICTURES

The M14 utilized the 7.62x51mm NATO round, or .308 caliber, which was too powerful for use in fully automatic mode as a replacement for a submachine gun, but yet too light to serve as a replacement for the BAR. In the end,  however, the problem wasn’t so much the gun, but rather the situation.

“It was a little too late for the changing tactics of the conflict,” said Dye. “The select fire didn’t work out as well as planned. It had too heavy a cartridge for close-quarter fighting, and it made for a heavy weapon. While you are willing to trade weight for firepower, the rifle was not ideal for the situation in Vietnam.”

The irony is that the weapon that replaced the M14 proved not to be ideal at first either. The M16 had a rough baptism of fire, largely due to the fact that it was erroneously billed as self-cleaning and issued without cleaning kits.

SHOT SHOW 2016 IN PICTURES

“It had a turbulent introductory period,” said Dye. “The problem for the M16 is that it was introduced while fighting was going on, and this didn’t allow for the familiarization period that small arms really need. As a result it cost lives, and that is what you don’t ever want to do.”

The other problem with the M16 was the fact that military planners switched the ammunition to one that produced more fouling, and this resulted in jams. The rifle, however, was refined with the M16A1 version.

“The Americans don’t have a good track record of backing up,” Dye told FoxNews.com. “With the M16 this meant improving it and it proved to be a reliable weapon.”

AUSA 2016: TANKS, TRUCKS AND MORE TECH

As the battlefield changed, the military adapted as well with the introduction of the M4 Carbine, a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2. This has replaced the M16 in most U.S. Army and Marine Corps combat units as the primary infantry weapon today.

“Lightening the load has been the constant quest and the result is the slimmed down M16,” said Dye. “Engagement tactics said we didn’t need the long-range weapon for combat.”

The other refinement of the M4 has been its modular design, which allows it to be fitted with numerous accessories including bipods, laser pointers, telescopic sights and even grenade launchers. However, even in the M4A1 version the military may not have found the definitive rifle for the next battlefield. While the M4A1 may be more lethal at close range, there is still a need for taking out targets at distance.

“The next challenge is going to be that long range rifle,” said Dye. “This isn’t about arming everyone with it, or even making it a sniper rifle, but there is a need for long range shooting and that is going to be the challenge to find the next great long range weapon for the U.S. Army.”

Underwater Hebrew tablet reveals Biblical-era ruler of Judea

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.

The stone slab, dating to the second century, was found underwater at Tel Dor, south of the city of Haifa.  (University of Haifa)

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in Jewish history: the Bar Kokhba revolt.

The slab dates to the second century A.D., a bloody time in Jewish history when a fiery leader named Simon bar Kokhba led a failed revolt against Roman rulers . The huge chunk of stone was found at an underwater site called Tel Dor, located about 18 miles south of the city of Haifa. [Photos: 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument in Israel]

The area once housed the Biblical city of Dor, which was occupied until the fourth century. Over the last 70 years, the site has yielded a treasure trove of pottery , anchors and other artifacts from ancient Israel. Ehud Arkin-Shalev and Michelle Kreiser, researchers from the Coastal Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Haifa, uncovered the giant slab while looking in the water of the Dor Nature Reserve.

The inscription was clearly visible, even beneath the water, the researchers said. The team eventually decided to bring the slab out of the water, to prevent damage to the inscription. Researchers discovered that the massive, 1,300-lb. slab had seven lines of ancient Greek inscribed upon it.

“The stone probably formed the base of a sculpture from the Roman period. As far as we know, this is the longest inscription found underwater in Israel,” Assaf Yasur-Landau, the University of Haifa archaeologist who led the excavation, said in a statement.

Although the researchers have not completely deciphered the text, they have already made two discoveries: The inscription identified the Roman prefect in charge of Judea as Gargilius Antiques. Though researchers had found one other inscription bearing this name, that artifact did not mention the region Antiques ruled. In addition, the inscription confirms the name of the province involved in the revolt as Judea, which, until now, no inscription immediately preceding the Bar Kokhba revolt had stated, the researchers said.

The inscription dates from a tumultuous time in Jewish history. The second temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and around A.D. 132, tensions simmering between the Roman rulers of the province and the Jewish inhabitants boiled over once again. At that point, the Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Romans. During the four years of fighting, both sides sustained heavy casualties, and many Jews were ultimately sold into slavery or scattered.

“Immediately after the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans decided to abolish the province of Judea and to obliterate any mention of its name. The province was united with Syria to form a single province called Syria-Palestine,” Yasur-Landau said. “So what we have here is an inscription dated to just before Judea ceased to exist as a province under that name. Of the two inscriptions mentioning the name Judea, this is the latest, of course. Because such findings are so rare, it is unlikely that we will find many later inscriptions including the name Judea,”

Original article on Live Science .

Remains of a rare 3-million-year-old creature found in eastern Argentina

A rendering of the recently discovered Promacrauchenian.

A rendering of the recently discovered Promacrauchenian.  (Courtesy of Daniel Boh, Municipal Museum of Miramar.)

Researchers in eastern Argentina have discovered the remains of a strange creature that lived three million years ago, some 280 miles south of modern-day Buenos Aires.

One of the team members, Daniel Boh described the animal, an hervibore mammal, as a mix “of a horse and an elephant; like a camel with a trumpet.”

Boh, who runs the Municipal Museum Punta Hermengo of Miramar, said they have been able to determine the creature is from the Promacrauchenian family and lived in the Pliocene, an era ruled by mammals and birds of great size.

This is some 62 million years after dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

“The discovery is important because there were no previous records of this animal in the area,” Boh told FoxNews.com in an email.

“It is rare, so it is of scientific interest and also helps to understand the environmental and geographic changes in the region.”

The prehistoric mammal was 5.2 feet tall and more than 8 feet long; it weighed around 1,100 pounds.

It appears to have had some kind of amphibian abilities.

“The short trumpet would serve as a prehensile lip (similar to the tapir) to [allow it to] remain submerged, and also to condition the air and as a tool of general use,” said Mariano Magnussen, a technician working on the fossils, to local newspaper Clarin.

He said that it shares many morphological adaptations with the Giraffidae, to which it is not directly related to. Magnussen said this is a result of “an adaptive convergence or a parallel evolution.”

The fossils were found on the side of a cliff, not far from a golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Boh said they will continue to visit and study the area. “The sea waves will continue to erode [the cliff] and is sure to expose remains that we have not yet seen and are supposed to be there,” he told FoxNews.com.

Researchers had previously recovered here several remains of a more modern specimen, the Macrauchenia   ̶̶  known colloquially as “long llamas”  ̶̶  which lived until about 8,000 years ago.

The Macrauchenia was found in the days of Darwin, circa 1830,
while the Promacrauchenia was first pinpointed in the early 20th century.

The fossils will be kept in the Miramar museum, where they are being processed.

“The remains we found are very fragile,” Boh said. “[We found] a fragment of a skull, parts of a front leg – like phalanges and carps – which allow us to know how it walked or if it ran, as well as a femur and vertebrae.”

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Watch meat pie take a trip into space as part of a tasty science experiment

File photo: none of these pies were sent into space. These traditional British meat pies are pictured in G. Kelly's pie and mash shop in east London June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

File photo: none of these pies were sent into space. These traditional British meat pies are pictured in G. Kelly’s pie and mash shop in east London June 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

A team of pie-loving Brits has just sent a meat and potato variant of the delicacy into space.

The feat is thought to be a world first, though that can be put down to the fact that no one had had the idea to do it before rather than it being some kind of major breakthrough in food-based space exploits.

Another triumph for the British space industry! Meat pie ‘sent into space’ http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-38334437  @Sent_into_space

Pie in space

Meat and potato pie ‘sent into space’ from Wigan – BBC News

A meat and potato pie is sent “into space” attached to a weather balloon and is being tracked on its journey to 100,000 feet.

bbc.com

The record-breaking pie was sent skyward on a weather balloon, with an attached camera recording every moment of its exciting ascent.

Part wacky stunt to raise awareness of this week’s World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan, and part tongue-in-cheek experiment to see if altitude affects a pie’s molecular structure in a way that makes it easier to swallow and digest, the pie’s maker, Bill Kenyon, told the BBC the mission was “the first step to enable mankind to consume pies with more elegance and comfort,” adding that “neither the sky, nor the pie, should be the limit.”

Kenyon said the pie’s structural integrity would be pushed to the limit during its mission, one that would see it freeze on its ascent and then cooked as it hit “massive speeds” on re-entry.

Before the daring experiment could proceed, a team of space enthusiasts from SentIntoSpace had to get clearance from the CAA, the U.K.’s equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration. The special kit was also fitted with a radar reflector to ensure nearby aircraft could keep track of the pie’s precise position. Because the last thing you want to fly into at 36,000 feet is a meat and potato pie. Or another plane, of course.

More: Tech-laden weather balloon captures awesome footage over San Francisco

The weather balloon, together with its tasty payload, floated to an altitude of about 100,000 feet (about 19 miles), capturing some spectacular video along the way. A short while later it returned to Earth with a bump in a field full of sheep. The scientists managed to retrieve the pie before the sheep had a chance to feast upon it, though missing crusts suggested some of the woolly creatures may have stolen a nibble.

The team is now analyzing its gathered data, and possibly devouring the delicacy, to determine if pies from space are easier to eat than those that stay permanently on terra firma. We suggest you check its twitter feed if you’re interested in the results.

A buoy noticed a wave in 2013 that was ‘remarkable’

In this Nov. 1, 2011, file photo released by Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concept, Garrett McNamara of Hawaii surfs what is being called the tallest wave ever ridden at Praia do Norte beach in Portugal. At 78 feet (24 meters), it's been certified by Guinness World Records.

In this Nov. 1, 2011, file photo released by Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concept, Garrett McNamara of Hawaii surfs what is being called the tallest wave ever ridden at Praia do Norte beach in Portugal. At 78 feet (24 meters), it’s been certified by Guinness World Records.  (AP Photo/Nazare Qualifica/Polvo Concepts, Jorge Leal)

The world’s “highest significant wave height as measured by a buoy” was 62.3 feet, located in the (very) high seas between the UK and Iceland, and occurred in 2013, the World Meteorological Organization has confirmed.

The wave formed after a strong cold front passed through the remote area, which is home to “intense extra-tropical storms” sometimes called “bombs.” Other waves have been reported to be taller, including tsunamis, rogue waves, and a 95-foot wave observed by a ship in the same waters in 2000, but this is the highest to be confirmed by a buoy, which is arguably the most exacting tool we have, reports USA Today.

Estimates by satellites and ships “are generally unverifiable, since there is no ground truth for the satellite, and the others tend to be from pitching and rolling platforms,” one wave expert says.

The 62-footer is now part of the WMO’s Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, reports the Guardian. The archive logged two other records earlier this year: the longest distance of a single lightning flash (in Oklahoma), and the longest duration of one (in southern France).

As for other waves, the Smithsonian reports that the tallest tsunami wave ever recorded (though not by a buoy) was a 100-foot wave that followed a landslide in 1958 in Alaska’s Lituya Bay, which destroyed trees 1,700 feet upslope.

And the National Ocean Service and European Space Agency confirm that freakish rogue waves, once “dismissed as a nautical myth,” do exist, though they’ve only been measured by the ships that suffer their wrath.

(A rogue wave killed a mom bodysurfing with her son in Hawaii.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: A Buoy Noticed a Wave in 2013 That Was ‘Remarkable’

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