10 Weird Things People Have Sent To Space
As of today, humans have successfully sent many animal species to space! From fruit flies, monkeys, and dogs to fishes, frogs, and tortoise, there are more animals who have been to space than humans! And the list doesn’t stop there! Spiders, cats, squirrel monkeys, jellyfish, guinea pigs, butterflies, Tardigrades (a water-dwelling eight-legged segmented micro-animal), and nematodes (also called roundworms) have also taken one giant leap into space! Though there were many dogs and chimpanzees going up to space in the 1900s, the first to receive popularity was a chimpanzee named Ham. The reason for him being recognized as a celebrity was because of the training that allowed him to perform tasks during spaceflight. He was the FIRST animal to actually INTERACT with a space vessel rather than simply ride in it! Laika, a stray dog also became the first animal to orbit the Earth. USSR in 1957, launched him with the famous Sputnik-2 where he was on board a small satellite.
9. Movie Props
Luke Skywalker's lightsaber used in the film "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" was flown into space and back in 2007. It flew and came back on the Discovery shuttlecraft with a team of seven astronauts and marked the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars film in 1977. The Force was with the shuttlecraft crew, obviously!
8. Golf Club and Ball to play on the moon
Astronaut Alan Shephard, the commander of the Apollo 14, became the ONLY person to hit a golf ball on the Moon. On the Moon, with no air resistance and only about a sixth of Earth's gravity, it's technically possible to hit a golf ball for miles! But Shepard, swinging one-handed in a stiff, bulky 1970s spacesuit, didn't have a shot at that kind of precision. In fact, he took two swings at the first ball, because the first swing connected with "more dirt than the ball" on the first try, as he says in NASA's video. On his second try, he was able to shot the ball about 200 yards away, where it landed near some scientific instruments the astronauts were leaving behind. That would have been an impressive shot on Earth, where the current record is 515 yards (set three years after Apollo 14). Currently, Astronaut Shephard holds the record on the moon that's gone unchallenged for the past 49 years!
7. Pizza Delivery
In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first company to deliver Pizza into Space! Pizza Hut struck a deal with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos to deliver the Pizza to the International Space Station. The delivery was reportedly worth $1 million at the time. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov was the lucky recipient of this unusual delivery! The pizza was a bit modified to get through this journey. Salami was used instead of pepperoni, as pepperoni did not withstand the 60-day testing process, and extra salt and spices were used in order to tingle the taste buds that are depleted in microgravity.
6. Musical Instruments
When humans made the journey into space, it wasn't long before music followed. On the International Space Station, where astronauts have lived for long periods and have had more leisure time, instruments have been a part of the space-station living! When you are living at the Space Station and there is no gravity, it's not easy playing the instruments! Astronauts have to adapt to playing without gravity, figuring out clever ways of holding themselves in place while they strum or tap the keys! But the instruments don't sound any different!
There are a lot of astronauts play instruments on the Space Station. There's even an astronaut rock-and-roll band! And a surprising variety of musical instruments have found their way into space: in addition to the keyboard, there's been a flute, a guitar, a saxophone, and an Australian aboriginal wind instrument known as a didgeridoo.
5. Space Burials
Space is filled with potential dangers that could cost you your life, BUT if you are already dead, then you don’t have to worry about it, right? This may seem peculiar, but it has been the last wish of certain people who feel a strong affinity with the night sky and space to have their REMAINS LAUNCHED INTO SPACE — a space burial! It was Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original "Star Trek" series that first wished for it. In his will, he requested that his remains BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE. So, a portion of his ashes was launched from Earth on the space shuttle Columbia for the STS-52 mission. Another famous example is Clyde Tombaugh, the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. His ashes are on board NASA's New Horizons mission, which was shot at insanely high speeds towards the distant dwarf planet in 2006.
Having a long partnership with NASA, the Lego Company launched 3 figurines along with the Juno mission that took them to Jupiter. There were three Lego mini-figurines – Roman god Jupiter, Jupiter's wife, Juno, and Galileo Galilee, who made several important discoveries about Jupiter. This trio was placed on the Juno spacecraft as part of the "Bricks in Space" project — an outreach program between the Lego Group and NASA to inspire children's interest in STEM-related subjects.
3. 100,000 Craiglist Advertisements
In a 2005 publicity stunt for the Guinness World Records, Craigslist temporarily added a checkbox to their classified submission form. It asked: In addition to posting this ad on Craigslist, do you also want it beamed into space? More than 100,000 people – including the one who posted "Free kittens to a good home" – chose this option. With the help of the Deep Space Communications Network, those Craigslist ads joined the estimated 128 million pieces of junk in outer space. Just in case aliens ever want to look for an apartment on Earth, they’ll be glad to know someone has got them covered!
Not just that, Australians also sent 25,800 text messages to a red dwarf star in 2009 as part of a feel-good project called Hello From Earth. Traveling at the speed of light, those orbital messages in a bottle ( with embarrassing autocorrects and random emojis) haven't even arrived yet. They're expected there in December 2029! Talk about your slow cell service?!
2. Dirt from Yankee’s Stadium
We often don't think twice about the items we stuff into our carry-on bags: snacks, headphones, a magazine. But crew members on NASA space flights – who are allowed to take about two pounds of mementos on their flights – are dealing with much tighter restrictions. Over the years, astronauts have taken small personal items like wedding rings and family photos. Astronaut Garrett Reisman got extra creative with his stash! A huge Yankees fan, the New Jersey native brought along some dirt from the pitcher's mound at the Yankees Stadium. During his flight, Reisman regularly kept up with the Yankees' stats from the helpful team at mission control in Houston. Upon his return to Earth, Reisman was honored with throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees game!
1. Tesla Car
On Feb. 6, 2018, SpaceX performed an extravagant launch of the Tesla Roadster and Starman — SpaceX's spacesuit-clad mannequin driver. Both Tesla and SpaceX are owned by Elon Musk, and he and his team thought that this car delivery would be an appropriate way to celebrate the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
SpaceX shared a live stream from within the car as it floated through space. The words "Don't Panic!" could be seen on a screen next to the steering wheel. Musk said that the car's stereo would be playing David Bowie's "Life on Mars" on repeat as it traveled through space. And in space, it will remain, at least for the foreseeable future — the car is in orbit around the sun which crosses the orbit of Mars before overlapping with Earth's orbit for a bit. Models predict the car will crash into Venus or Earth a few tens of millions of years from now!