In a somewhat unusual science experiment, a group of schoolchildren have sent a potato in Christmas fancy dress up into space.

Pupils from Landscove Church of England Primary in Devon created a spaceship out of a pop bottle and found a potato to sit inside it.

They then dressed the vegetable in Father Christmas fancy dress, placed him carefully inside his vehicle (called Spudnik 2, naturally) and tied a helium weather balloon to him before letting him drift off into the upper atmosphere.

Santa managed to soar 17 miles up and get photographed by its GPS tracking system before the balloon burst and he plummeted back down to earth.

Appropriately, he landed in a Christmas tree plantation.

Teacher Hilary Gibbard commented: "The images are amazing - out of this world. It was so exciting for the children."

It is not known whether Santa was - ahem - burnt to a crisp in the atmosphere or whether his jacket saved him…