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The Ashes of Scotty and the Creator of Star TrekLeave it to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to request part of his ashes to be sent into space. In 1992, a lipstick-sized capsule was delivered to outer space by the space shuttle Columbia on its STS-52 mission. Roddenberry (or the remains of Roddenberry) orbited the Earth before eventually disintegrating in the atmosphere allowing Trekkies and Trekkers alike point at the skies and tell their children that up there, somewhere, it was Gene.
Another capsule was sent the same way in 1997 on Pegasus XL.
But wait, there's more!
James Doohan, better known as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on Star Trek, decided that he too wanted his ashes to travel into space. In fact, this idea for his final resting place was, coincidentally, given to him by Gene Roddenberry.
A 2012 space trip sent the rest of Roddenberry's and his wife Majal's ashes into space along with digitized fan letters. Unfortunately for Roddenberry, he got stuck with all the odd-numbered ash scatterings and those are ALWAYS the worst.
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Luke Skywalker's LightsaberAs an homage to the 1977 classic sci-fi film Star Wars, NASA took the lightsaber that Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill) used to fight the Dark Side and shot it six million miles into space.
In fact, the Jedi weapon was personally sent off in the presence of Chewbacca himself, interestingly enough.
After the six million mile journey in space, the elegant weapon (for a more civilized age) handcrafted by the finest Jedi since his father was then returned to LucasFilm, so now it could very well be stored deep within the Disney Vault.
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Space Tourist Richard GarriottFor the small price of $30 million apparently you too can visit outer space. What's more, is that someone actually paid that much just for a trip to space (it's pretty great and all, but who has that kinda cash lying around...
Texan computer game developer Richard Garriott paid that amount to Russia’s Federal Space Agency for a chance to board a Soyuz rocket in 2008.
Son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard became the first American second-generation space traveler when he spent 10 days in the International Space Station.
Best. Vacation. Ever.
- 4+ 26- 11
TardigradesTardigrades, or "water bears," are microscopic eight-legged critters known to survive extreme temperatures, tons of radiation, and nearly a decade without water on Earth. So what did science decide to do? Basically put them in a gladiatorial ring by saying, "You want more, do you?... Well..."
Since these little guys (who kind of look, adorably, like porpoises) can pretty much withstand ANYTHING, we thought we'd send them into space, see what happens.
In September 2008, these creatures proved their survival in the extreme environment of outer space. Upon their return to Earth, it was clear that these cute little invertebrates survived in perfect health.
I, for one, welcome our new, microscopic, tiny-handed overlords.
- 5+ 22- 8
Bird DroppingsThis is geeky because it falls in that same kind of Revenge of the Nerds clumsiness we expect from any kind of social hermit, so technically this might be a little more "nerdy". Nonetheless, this is pretty interesting and will allow you a get out of jail free card with people who don't respect you.
The Space Shuttle Discovery was noted as sporting some white guano spattering three weeks prior to lift off and, despite regular Florida thunderstorms, they were still there upon take off... and they were still there when they got back.
During launch, a shuttle was sprayed with 300,000 gallons of water and the craft accelerated from zero to 17,500 mph in just under 9 minutes. Despite such a voyage, the shuttle was still sporting the white blotches on the aircraft as it blasted into space.
So next time someone gives you guff about your car being covered in bird poop, you can point them to this fact.
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Anything You Want!A company in California, Masten Space Systems in Santa Clara, is offering you - yes you- the chance to send anything you want into space and back, as long as it'll fit in a Coke can and isn't too heavy.
Along with increasingly common and affordable CubeSats, these CanSats have been flying for years on smaller rockets as part of high school engineering and science fair projects. So you know those things we're not allowed to throw into the sea? Let's throw them into the place that protects us from rays and affects the life-giving sunlight that comes into our planet!
No really, there are many, many practical and research applications for CubeSats, but wouldn't it be fun to just send something into space for the most petty reasons? "Now he'll NEVER find his freaking keys!"
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Android PhoneA true science geek proposed The "Astdroid" project . This man's name is Danny Pier. The Astdroid Project is a venture to send an Android smartphone into space. Danny, a 25 year old self-proclaimed computer nerd is confident that he can create a weather balloon with an HTC Evo (running the Android OS) to track its journey into space with its camera, transmitter, computing power and GPS technology.
Unfortunately someone did it first in a project called SpaceDroid . That's the crappy thing about great ideas, someone's always done them.
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Sea UrchinsScientists have fired a lot of strange creatures up into space in the quest for knowledge and enlightenment and today, almost all shuttle missions carry rats, mice, flies, and even jellyfish for scientific experiments. As early as 1948 the US launched its first primate into space (poor Albert died on the trip) but it wasn’t until 1957 when the Russian dog named Laika became the first animal to orbit the Earth on board Sputnik II.
Since then a whole menagerie of creatures has gone supersonic including guinea pigs, frogs, snails, tortoise, spiders and cockroaches. In the 1990s sea urchins were aboard space shuttle Columbia for some top secret testing. If in a few years the army reveal their new ‘urchin’ cluster bomb we know who to blame.