Humans have always been curious and obsessed over the vast darkness looming above us: outer space. So over the years, we have conducted numerous special studies, extensive research, and experiments involving space. Then as our thirst to know more and experience more of the universe cannot be quenched by simply studying and observing from afar, we started to send people out into the unknown. But, aside from actual people like astronauts, humans have also been sending a lot of stuff into space. Lots and lots of weird stuff.
The Beatles’ Across The Universe
NASA had the iconic English band’s song “Across The Universe” beamed towards the North Star, Polaris which is located 431 light-years away from Earth. The song also came with a message from Paul that said, “Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.”
Yankee Stadium Dirt
Astronaut Garrett Reisman was a huge New York Yankees baseball fan, so he took a vial of dirt from the Yankee stadium and brought it with him to hist first mission in space. He was such a big and lucky fan that he was given the honor to throw a memorable first pitch for the game while he was literally outside the planet.
NASCAR Starter Flags
In 2008, both NASA and NASCAR were celebrating milestones so NASA participated in NASCAR’s event and flew three starter flags in the space shuttle. After an 11-day flight, the flags were returned to Earth.
Sound of Herding Sheep
In 1977, NASA sent spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 into space and with the hopes and possibilities of extraterrestrial beings getting in contact with our spacecraft, NASA curated the Golden Record. The Golden Record contained 115 images and a variety of natural sounds that represent life on earth, such as the sound of herding sheep.
The Yevpatoria Planetary Radar sent a series of interstellar radio transmissions to space in August-September 2001, the project was called Teen Age Message. The transmissions were divided into three parts which included a live theremin concert.
NASA has a longstanding partnership with the LEGO company and decided to fly three special LEGO figurines to Jupiter aboard the NASA Juno spacecraft. The three specially-constructed figurines were the father of science, Galileo Galilei, Roman god Jupiter, and his wife Juno.
Space ranger Buzz Lightyear stayed aboard NASA’s space shuttle Discovery’s STS-128 mission for 15 months before returning to Earth. This joint project from NASA, Disney, and Pixar was made for educational purposes. This was to get more kids interested in space and science.
Pizza Hut Delivery to Space
Pizza Hut took advertisements to great heights in 2001, arranging an actual pizza delivery to NASA’s International Space Station. The project took months of preparation and cost over a million dollars but it was all well worth it when the pizza arrived at the station and Russian astronaut Yuri Usachov munched on the pizza heartily.
Luke Skywalker’s LightSaber
The force has been with NASA’s shuttle Discovery in 2007. In celebration of Star Wars’ 30th anniversary, NASA sent the lightsaber prop used by Mark Hamil in the movies together with the astronaut equipment to the ISS.
Playboy Magazines to the Moon
After spending a lot of time floating around in timeless space, astronauts have gotten into the habit of playing fun and harmless pranks on each other to make their life away from Earth livelier. Astronauts from the Apollo 12 mission got pranked by their commander and had pictures of Playboy bunnies strapped to their wrists next to their tasks.
Online diamond retailer 77 Diamonds launched a $15000 diamond into outer space with a helium balloon in 2015. The retailer promised that whoever found the gem after it lands back on Earth gets to keep it.
Bright Red Tesla Roadster
In 2018, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX launched a bright red Tesla roadster to space. It came complete with a dummy driver named Starman. The roadster continues to orbit around the sun, the Earth, Mars, and possibly other neighboring planets.
Star Trek Ashes
James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty in the 1960s Star Trek television series wished that his ashes be sent to space when he dies, so in 2012, his ashes were launched to space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Did you know that NASA’s longest-serving astronaut almost lost his career because of a sandwich? John Young was aboard the Gemini III in 1965 and during a lull in their flight, reached over his pocket and took out a smuggled corned beef sandwich. Young packed it in a spacesuit hoping it would hold out for days. He offered the sandwich to his co-pilot Gus Grissom, and the two had a laugh over it. But smuggling unauthorized items into spacecraft is against the rules so Young faced numerous reprimands that almost cost him his job.
In 1985, astronaut Loren Acton brought dinosaur fossils to space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. She brought a fossil of an Ornithopod called Maiasaura (Maiasaura peeblesorum).
Tardigrades also called water bears are microscopic animals with long, plump bodies and scrunched-up heads. They proved to be a species that can withstand extreme highs and lows of temperatures and scientists wanted to know if these creatures could survive extreme habitats, so they were sent to space. And yes, they can survive in space.
Just in case aliens come looking for apartments in the future, craigslist has got them covered. In March 2005, the very first commercial transmission of a website was beamed into space. Over a hundred thousand postings from craigslist.com were blasted to an empty space about 3 light-years away from Earth.
Pieces of the Wright Brothers’ Plane
The Apollo 11 was the first spacecraft to land humans on the moon in 1969. Even during the preparation for the flight, the mission was already a big deal, so astronauts brought a variety of things with them to leave on the moon and that included several pieces of the Wright Brothers’ original plane. They figured that the two missions concerning flight were both relative and monumental for mankind.
Movie Opening In Space
The remake of the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still opened both on Earth and outer space. They had the Deep Space Communications Network beam the movie four light-years away to Alpha Centauri.
Coke and Pepsi’s race in becoming America’s number one cola company extended out to outer space in 1985. Coke made the first move and devised a specialized can and recipe fit for outer space, shortly after, Pepsi followed suit. By the time the shuttle mission finally launched, the astronauts came up with a comparative challenge: the day shift dranks the Coke and the night shift drank the Pepsi. The verdict? Both colas sucked.
Thousands of texts
In 2009, the Australian government teamed up with NASA for the Hello from Earth Project which involved sending 25,878 text messages to space. The messages were beamed to an Earth-like planet 20 light-years away, Gliese 581d.
Some of the most interesting messages sent in the project went like, “Hi there. Sorry about the Outer Limits; hope you enjoyed I Love Lucy. Have you got all our missing socks? Love, Earth.” — Fred Mason, Roberts Creek, Australia, or “If someone is reading this, I hope that our children will someday have the privilege of meeting one another.” — Tegan Larsen, San Antonio, United States, and “There is only one thing bigger than this vast universe, the desire to discover. I hope I discovered you.” — T.S.M., Skopje, Macedonia.