The final frontier isn’t the most popular destination globally—around only 550–560 humans have ventured into space. Many different items have tagged along with these brave individuals for the journey.
Most of these objects are various devices and infrastructure directly related to space travel, along with basic necessities for the astronauts. But sometimes, more unique items find a way to the cosmos. Read on to discover some of the most interesting objects to ever fly to space.
Items From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
The height of space exploration in America gave us the Star Wars movies, a cultural phenomenon that still captivates audiences to this day. While we as a civilization haven’t quite mastered hyperdrive space travel, we have managed to bring Star Wars props to the stars.
Luke Skywalker’s actual lightsaber, or rather the prop used by Mark Hamill, flew to space in 2007 to mark the 30th anniversary of the franchise. This saber, which starred in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, accompanied the astronaut to-and-fro.
Some astronauts prefer to “jazz up” their time in space, and there have been a few instances where instruments tagged along into the cosmos. In 1965, pilots on the Gemini 6A spacecraft packed bells and a harmonica. They played “Jingle Bells” through their communication system as a small prank on NASA. Today, you can find these very same instruments in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum!
While only three total people have ever died while in space, there have been instances of human remains entering the final frontier. Specifically, the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry were spread in space as per his last wishes. The astronomer who discovered Pluto, Clyde Tombaugh, also had his ashes laid to rest in the cosmos. Onboard the New Horizons spacecraft, his cremated remains traveled at high speeds toward the dwarf planet, the same year that researchers reclassified Pluto (2006).
Pizza Hut conducted the world’s first-ever space delivery in 2001. The pizza company delivered a not-so-fresh pie (heavily salted to ensure it wouldn’t spoil) to the Russians at the International Space Station. Costing around 1,000,000 dollars, this has to be the most expensive pizza delivery of all time! And no, it did not get to space in 30 minutes or less. Many astronauts enjoy comfort foods from home, so snacks like beef jerky travel to space often, along with other preserved foods.
The World’s Most Popular Toy
NASA and LEGO® are very close—in fact, three of those iconic figurines have made the trip to space before. In 2011, models of the Roman god Jupiter, Jupiter’s wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei boarded the Juno spacecraft. This publicity stunt was meant to interest young students in STEM subjects in school.
The most interesting objects to ever fly to space aren’t exactly crucial to many space missions. However, it sheds light on humanity’s urge to make any environment their home. These creature comforts help astronauts feel safe in an unforgiving area.