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Star Trek Creator's and Scotty's AshesLeave 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 in the TV series 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.
Another anticipated 2012 space trip will send 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: A New Hope, NASA took the lightsaber that Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill) used to fight the Dark Side 6 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 awesome, awesome light-weapon handcrafted by the finest Jedi since his father was then returned to LucasFilm. It currently resides with Lucas himself and in all of our dreams.
FACT: Absolutely no one launched anything into space after seeing The Phantom Menace... except for maybe their childhood.
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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 Gladiator 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. These cute little invertebrates survived in perfect health upon their return to Earth.
I, for one, welcome our new, microscopic, tiny-handed overlords and their reign of horrible, horrible terror.
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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... I feel screwed when United charges me for what's essentially Shasta soda).
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.
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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 is sprayed with 300,000 galleons of water and the craft accelerates 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 crap about your car being covered in bird poop, you can point them to this fact... and then to your bank account.
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