We have sent a lot of strange things into space, and there is no sign that we will stop putting weird things into space any time soon. From light sabers to sea urchins, it doesn't seem like there is any limit to what we will send into space. Another thing we have sent into space is bacteria. Scientists were curious about what would happen to bacteria in space, and they found the answer after they sent some salmonella for a journey and then tested it on animals when it came back to earth. They found that the space bacteria had grown much stronger. Because of that, cleanliness in space is of utmost importance. The cost of sending things into space are very high so it must have cost one space tourist a lot of money to get a seat on a rocket headed to the International Space Station. It takes a huge amount of energy to get a rocket free of Earth's gravitational field and for each additional body you have to add a lot of weight in terms of body mass as well as all of the supplies that each person needs to survive.
In the name of science, NASA and various organizations have sent dozens of random things into outer space. Here are the geekiest and weirdest ones.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox191 VOTES
Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber
As 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 into space as part of the 30th anniversary celebration for the first Star Wars film.
In fact, the Jedi weapon was personally sent off in the presence of Chewbacca himself. "It might not be going to a galaxy far, far away, but it's still a six million-mile journey, and that's pretty cool," said Doug Mattice of Space Centre Houston, NASA's visitor complex.
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The Ashes of Scotty and the Creator of Star Trek
Leave it to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to request part of his ashes 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 to point at the skies and tell their children that up there, somewhere, it was Gene.
James Doohan, better known as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on Star Trek, decided that he also wanted his ashes to travel into space in 2007. 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 Majel's ashes into space along with digitized fan letters.
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Space Tourist Richard Garriott
For the small price of $30 million, apparently you can visit outer space. 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 second-generation American space traveler when he spent 10 days in the International Space Station.
Talk about Best. Vacation. Ever.
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Tardigrades, or "water bears," are microscopic eight-legged critters known to survive extreme temperatures, tons of radiation, and nearly a decade without water on Earth.
Since these little guys (who kind of look, adorably, like porpoises) can pretty much withstand ANYTHING, scientists thought they'd send them into space to see what happens.
In 2007, these creatures proved their survival in the extreme environment of outer space. Upon their return to Earth, it was clear that the little invertebrates survived in perfect health. Some females had even laid eggs in space, and the newly-hatched young were healthy.
“No animal has survived open space before,” said developmental biologist Bob Goldstein of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not affiliated with the study. “The finding that animals survived rehydration after 10 days in open space – and then produced viable embryos as well – is really remarkable.”
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This 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 sported some white guano spatters three weeks prior to liftoff, and despite regular Florida thunderstorms, they were still there upon takeoff... and were still there when the shuttle returned.
During launch, the shuttle was sprayed with 300,000 gallons of water and the craft accelerated from zero to 17,500 mph in just under nine minutes. Despite such a voyage, the shuttle was still sporting the white blotches on the aircraft as it blasted into space.
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Inflatable Space Station
It seems that anyone can get in on the space "game" nowadays, provided they have enough money to throw at it. In July 2006, space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow and his team at Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas successfully launched their pathfinder mission: Genesis I. The project centers on the implementation of Earth-orbiting inflatable modules. These habitable structures are designed to serve as lodgings for tourists, but also bases for research and manufacturing.