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They Took What Into Space?

July 11th, 2011

photo credit: NASA

They Took What Into Space?

July 11, 2011 — Some of it in the name of science, some for sentimental reasons, and some just plain wacky … some “out there” things that have travelled, well, out there!

On Atlantis’ final mission there are reportedly about 30 mice, an iPhone, and some supergerms, all of which are being tested and experimented upon. Fittingly, there is also a commemorative flag from the first ever shuttle launch 30 years ago being taken up on this last one.

But over the years, all seriousness aside, they have also taken up some things that make you go hmmm…

The home plate from Shea Stadium? Really? It didn’t fit into the space shuttle’s locker designed for memorabilia, but that didn’t stop them. They trimmed it so it would fit! Astronaut Mike Massimino was one devoted Mets fan!

Taking a break from training. Photo credit: NASA

Astronaut Garrett Reisman’s baseball souveneir was a bit less ambitious but no less meaningful. Reisman was a huge New York Yankees fan and took with him a vial of dirt from Yankee Stadium. And he got to throw out a virtual first ceremonial pitch, via satellite, from space!

There seem to be a lot of astronaut sports fans. In addition to baseball mementos (if you can call an entire home plate a memento), there have also been NASCAR starter flags taken into space, as well as football jerseys, baseball jerseys, and even Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s cycling jersey.

More in line with the theme of space, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber was flown on a shuttle mission! It was the original prop that actor Mark Hamill, who played Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, used. It marked the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars films. The lightsaber was handed back to director George Lucas upon its return.

credit: Masters Replicas/NASA

And, Buzz Lightyear went into low-earth orbit! It isn’t exactly “to infinity and beyond”, more like 200 miles*, but pretty cool nonetheless. He spent over a year in space, and even got his own ticker tape parade when he came home! Out of this world.

*up to about 930 miles, roughly.

The compilation of the unusual items in space was adapted from the June 29, 2011 article by space.com Staff Writer Denise Chow, called “9 Weird Things NASA flew on Space Shuttles” .

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