Space exploration has been a source of fascination for humans for decades. While we often think about rockets, astronauts, and scientific instruments heading into the great beyond, there have been some rather peculiar items that have made their way into space. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the strange objects that humans have sent into space.
In 2018, SpaceX made headlines when they launched a red Tesla Roadster into space as part of the Falcon Heavy rocket's maiden flight. With "Starman" (a mannequin dressed in a spacesuit) behind the wheel, this car is now cruising through space, providing some truly surreal images of our planet.
In 1977, NASA sent out a message to potential extraterrestrial civilizations in the form of a gold-plated record aboard the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. This record contains a diverse selection of sounds and music from Earth, as well as greetings in 55 languages.
Yes, you read that right. In 2007, a lightsaber hilt prop from the Star Wars franchise was sent to the International Space Station (ISS). It was part of a promotional effort by Lucasfilm to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.
James Doohan, who played Scotty in Star Trek, had his ashes sent into space in 2008. A portion of his remains was placed aboard the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, fulfilling his wish to journey among the stars.
Astronauts on the ISS often need to get creative with their recreational activities. In 2018, a soccer ball was sent to the ISS, and astronauts filmed themselves playing soccer in microgravity. It was a fun and unusual way to promote sports in space.
The Hubble Space Telescope has provided stunning images of distant galaxies and nebulae for years. But did you know that its backup, known as the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, was never launched? It remains on Earth as a backup, a testament to meticulous planning.
In 2008, NASA sent a Buzz Lightyear action figure from Disney's Toy Story to the ISS. The toy was part of an educational outreach program to get kids excited about space exploration.
In 1965, astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto the Gemini 3 spacecraft. While this may not have been an intentional item sent to space, it highlights the quirks of human spaceflight.
NASA's Apollo missions brought back lunar samples, but a few tiny pieces of the moon have found their way to space again. These moon rock fragments were carried aboard various spacecraft as good luck charms.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union developed a space gun known as TP-82. This survival weapon was sent on missions to provide cosmonauts with protection against wildlife and to signal rescuers in case of emergency landings.
LEGO partnered with NASA to create custom minifigures of female astronauts Maia Weinstock and Ellen Stofan. These tiny astronaut figurines have become a symbol of women in space exploration.
Artists have also contributed to the cosmic collection. Sculptures, paintings, and other artwork have been sent into space as part of various projects to explore the intersection of art and science.
Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology etched the entire Hebrew text of the Bible onto a silicon chip, which was then placed aboard the Beresheet lunar lander in 2019.
Microorganisms have hitched a ride on spacecraft, such as the Mars rovers, to see how they fare in the harsh conditions of space. This research helps us understand the potential for life on other planets.
In 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard famously hit a golf ball on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. He used a makeshift golf club, and the golf ball is still there today.
A bronze bust of renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan was sent aboard the MESSENGER spacecraft to Mercury. It was a tribute to Sagan's contributions to science and space exploration.
Children's toys have also made the journey to space. A plush toy owl named Owliena traveled to the ISS and became a mascot for educational outreach programs.
Astronaut Mike Massimino sent the first tweet from space in 2009, paving the way for social media interactions between astronauts and the public.
Spiders have been sent to the ISS to study their behavior in microgravity. These experiments help scientists better understand how living organisms adapt to space environments.
A small piece of a spacesuit worn by astronaut Alan Bean during the Apollo 12 mission was accidentally left on the moon. It serves as a unique historical artifact on the lunar surface.
In conclusion, humans have sent an array of unusual objects into space, ranging from cars and lightsabers to sandwiches and stuffed animals. These items not only showcase our creativity and sense of adventure but also contribute to the rich tapestry of human exploration beyond our planet. As we continue to venture into the cosmos, who knows what other peculiar objects will join this cosmic collection.