SCIENTISTS at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard four-pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle — all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea was to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.
British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high-speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers.
When the gun was fired, the engineers stood in shock and awe.
As the chicken hurled from the barrel, it crashed through the shatter-proof shield, smashing it to smithereens; then blasted through the control console; snapped the engineer’s back-rest in two; finally embedding itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.
The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield — begging the US scientists for suggestions and perhaps a solution.
NASA responded with a one-line memo: “Defrost the chicken first!”
• Snopes offers its version: http://www.snopes.com/science/cannon.asp