Calm down vegetarians and animal rights activists, it wasn’t a real cow!

Enternet Online, a Bay of Plenty company, volunteered their beloved mascot and erstwhile stuffed toy, Eva for the dangerous scientific mission to the edge of space.

Eva travelled to the tiny Californian town of Bishop, where she was strapped to a specially designed balloon and sent into space. They even gave her little, custom fitted sunglasses to protect her button eyes from the solar glare, which is sweet in a futile kind of way. 

The cow made it 36 kilometres up into space, before parachuting back into one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth, California’s Death Valley.

Enternet Online’s managing director, Terry Coles, told the New Zealand Herald that he and his employees were fearful for their brave mascot’s fate, even after she had returned to terra firma. 

“Even then they weren’t sure the video and images would be retrievable given the temperature extremes in Death Valley.

“But luck was on our side and today we received the video and images.”

Aside from helping scientists gather samples from the atmosphere and capture images of meteors, Eva’s space mission brought some international exposure for the Bay of Plenty area as a whole.

For her journey, Eva wore Tauranga City mayor Stuart Crosby’s lapel pin and Western Bay of Plenty mayor Ross Paterson’s badge.

A cow seems an odd choice for a mascot in a country renowned for its surplus of sheep. I’m sure there was a few baas coming from the paddocks upon Eva’s safe return.

I’m assuming that’s how sheep boo.