By Heather Zubek

ANSTEY the toy echidna is making history.

As the mascot for the Tea Tree Gully Library in South Australia, Anstey travels with library staff on their overseas trips.

She has been on the Eiffel Tower in Paris and in Rome’s Colosseum.

“Anstey is a very well-travelled echidna,” says David Brooks, from the library.

And, with the help of the local historical society and the amateur radio experimenters group, Anstey is the first echidna to travel into space.

Getting ready on the ground to take the toy echidna into space. Photo: supplied

Getting ready on the ground to take the toy echidna into space. Photo: supplied

Anstey goes sky high

Attached to a rod and launched with a special high-altitude balloon, Anstey travelled more than 37 kilometres above the ground and was tracked using radio equipment that received signals and live pictures.

Her mission took two years to plan.

“There is a lot that goes into preparing for these launches,” says Matthew Cook who’s a member of the group.

The chase is on

Jean-Louise Brooks, aged 10, with Anstey in Rome. Photo: David Brooks

Jean-Louise Brooks, aged 10, with Anstey in Rome. Photo: David Brooks

Eventually Anstey’s balloon burst and she was tracked until she landed in a field of wheat.

One of the first to find her was nine-year-old Daniel Cook.

“It was Daniel’s first high-altitude balloon launch and he was an active part of our chase team,” says Mr Cook, Daniel’s father.

Anstey was in good condition after flying through temperatures of -56C.

From Hogwarts to outer space

Having Anstey travel into space is inspiring young students to learn more about science.

Jean-Louise Brooks, who’s 10, used to dream of going to Hogwarts. Now she is more interested in learning about space.

“I was really excited for Anstey being up there and I hoped she would come down safely,” she says.

“I want to become an astronaut now so I would be able to see what it looks like in space.”

It was a difficult project to get off the ground but Mr Brooks is proud of Anstey.

“She was a very brave little echidna,” he says.

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