We humans are an inquisitive, brilliant bunch. We’re also quite thick. To prove it, here’s a short list of inane objects that we’ve put into space, because #progress.
Space. The final gap between cushion and sofa. No sooner than man had discovered the ability to fly, and french the face of God (ewww – Ed.), had we decided to fill His loungeroom with complete rubbish.
Now, it’d be unfair to blame the communists (although that, much like dub-denim, is suddenly fashionable again), so let us bookend this ramble with two examples.
Russia Laika with Love and the Great Gig Vynyard in the Sky
The Russians put Laika into orbit in 1957. The startled (and adorable – Ed.) mutt was, in an hilariously Soviet move, just some stray picked off the street. From guttersnipe to a hero of the soviet union, just like Joe Steel.
Conversely, the Chinese, who now have a space program of their own, sent grape vines into space last week. Presumably to test if they can build a genuine imitation Italian restaurant up there. However, the grape vine stunt is not the strangest object to travel where we mortals never will, as the past 59 years have seen us launch some real corkers.
2007: Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber
In the words of Austin Powers, “blimey”. Followed by “nerd alert”. Presumably, the poindexters who launched the mission wanted to send the iconic piece of military hardware home.
To a galaxy far far away, and also, somehow back in time.
It was escorted by, and I’m not making this up, a bloke dressed in full Chewbacca garb to Cape Canaveral, where it was met by more Star Wars cosplay geeks, before being blasted off into space.
It later returned, perhaps solidifying the pertinent lesson here which is that IT’S A MOVVVVIIIIEEEEE. Please don’t kill me.
2007: The ashes of “Scotty” from Star Trek
Oop. I’m sensing a pattern here, and I’m making some sweeping generalisations, but the “Trek/Wars War” is a competitive one, so presumably that’s why in the same year the ‘saber went up, the remains of James Doohan, the actor who played Start Trek‘s “Scotty”, did too. I’m unsure if the Trekkies killed him to make a point. Sadly for the Doohan (and fans), multiple attempts failed, leaving him to crash down onto the New Mexico desert and scatter over the Pacific Ocean. I’m not scoring points here, that is a +1 for the Star Wars set, right?
Interesting side note, LSD supremo Timothy Leary also had his ashes shot into space, but knowing that man, he’d probably have been far higher than that, man.
1965: Corned beef sandwich
The very object that refutes the conspiracy theory that we faked the moon landing. Why? Because everyone knows (as do I, from experience) that the food table on set is always impressively stacked, no matter the quality of the production. The owner of the contraband was John Young who snuck it aboard the Gemini 3 mission, which could arguably be the first spousal packed lunch that has ever experienced liftoff.
Incidentally, NASA now use tortilla bread, instead of the meatier starches.
In space, no-one can hear you…never mind. Anyway, the crew responsible for this famous piece of smut was Apollo 12, the second manned trip to the moon. A calendar which did the rounds (of earth) later fetched $10,000 at auction.
Just hitting pause of a mo, I feel terrible for George Méliès, Copernicus and Galileo, great transformative minds who were unable to traipse the cosmos, only by virtue of circumstance. The great advancements they made ahead of their simpler times were amazing, but some frisky yobbos get to sneak titties onboard, purely for the lols? Puh-leeze.
The year of pointless spaceflight strikes again. Galaxy fanciers at Arizona State University popped the virus (and everyone’s favoured excuse for a sickie) into space, only to find that the bacteria went Ellen Ripley, stay-away-from-her-you-bitch crazy, becoming even more potent.
Luckily, that Corned Beef sandwich was within the use-by, as death by sandwich would be a particularly inelegant one. With apologies to Mama Cass.
2007: A treadmill named after Stephen Colbert
How is space exploration still funded after 2007? Anyway, spectacle enthusiast Stephen Colbert used his star power (lolz) to elbow his way into a competition where NASA was trying to rename a room in the space station. Colbert was disqualified, but as a halfway measure, they honoured the latest model of astro-treadmill after him. How nice! Now those up there can blast calves on the COLBERT, aka the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.