10 Weird Things Sent Into Space

tl;dr: check out our 10 Weird Things Sent Into Space Infographic.

Space is a strange, strange place, but we as humans can be even more bizarre. Since the dawn of man, we’ve looked up into the night’s sky and have wondered what objects are up there or even, what is looking back at us.

With advancing technologies and a race between two superpowers, we’ve found ourselves with the ability and drive to explore the last frontier; space.

To better understand the heavens above, Scientists and Astronomers have done some pretty wild tests. Most of these tests included sending various objects, tools, scientific devices and even animals; among many other things up into space.

After having concluded countless tests and successfully sending orbiters, humans and even space stations into the great above; we’ve become restless and antsy to continue sending weird things into space.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the weird things people have sent into space, from animals to Legos, all the way to sandwiches!

You might think it’s a crazy feat to launch something into space, well, you’re right. It took how many thousands of years for mankind to perfect achieving orbital velocity and protecting whatever cargo it carried?

You’d probably be surprised to think that if you were to drive your car straight up towards the moon, you would arrive in “space” in less than hour.

The International Space Station’s altitude above Earth ranges from only 205 miles to 255 miles. If you left Earth (driving in your car) at sea-level, it’d only take you about 4 hours and 15 minutes to drive up to visit the International Space Station.

Enough already, let’s get to the main event! Here’s our list of 10 Weird Things Sent Into Space!

Weird Things Sent Into Space #10 – Animals

Cats, fish, rodents, chimpanzees, amphibians, nematodes, water bears, spiders, dogs and even our closest relative, the monkey have all been sent into space!



Image by NASA, http://goo.gl/hLeZsd


Some of these animals were meant to be recovered, but many others were never anticipated to see Earth again.

Why would Scientists and Astronomers want send animals into space?

Well, earlier, when humans hadn’t actually been into space, one of the prevalent theories around the risks of space flight was that humans might not be able to survive long periods of weightlessness.

For several years, there were serious debates among Scientists about the effects of prolonged weightlessness. To end their quarrels, Scientists decided to put their money where their mouths were and utilized animals to carry out the tests.

The hypothesis was that if Scientists were able to launch a living organism (animals) into space and have it return back to Earth alive and well, then surely a human could survive it!

Weird Things Sent Into Space #9 – LEGO Mini Figurines

If you thought THAT was weird, get ready to be surprised at the 9th weirdest thing sent into space.



Image by LEGO, http://goo.gl/zd7wi3


In effort to inspire young children to explore science and technology (in accordance with the partnership between NASA and the LEGO group), NASA placed 3 LEGO figurines in a Juno deep-space probe to help explore the planet Jupiter and assist in collecting further data on one of the most beautiful and the largest of the planets in our Solar System.

So who did NASA and LEGO decide to include on their mission to Jupiter?

Well, the first was the most obvious selection of all; the king of the Roman gods himself, for whom Jupiter is named after.

The second selection makes perfect sense, too, another LEGO resembling a female. This lady need no introduction, Juno, Jupiter’s wife holding a magnifying glass. You wouldn’t want the Roman god to be sent halfway through the Solar System without his BAE.

Last, but not least, one of the most famous Astronomers of all time and my personal favorite; Galileo Galilei. You’ll find him so quaintly holding both a telescope and a miniature planet of Jupiter.

Weird Things Sent Into Space #8 – Light Saber

Well, it just wouldn’t be a space mission if Star Wars didn’t make an appearance in some fashion or another. What better representation of one of the most successful and famous Sci-Fi movies of all time, than Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber.



“Lightsaber, silver hilt, blue blade” by 1993MR2Turbo – This is a drawing made in photoshop. A picture of a lightsaber hilt was used as reference material.Previously published: Not previously published. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/pBHsOe


Some fans argue that this weird object sent into space was simply fate and space is where it was always meant to be!

On-board the 23rd mission bound, the light saber was sent to the International Space Station in 2007 as a 30th anniversary celebration for the franchise.

Weird Things Sent Into Space #7 – Corned Beef Sandwich

Get ready for the 7th weirdest thing sent into space, cause you’re either going to lose your appetite or run to the refrigerator!

If there are intelligent beings out in space, what better way to introduce them to humanity than by a peace-offering of a corned beef sandwich?



“Katzs deli corned beef” by Flickr user dyobmit – http://goo.gl/SDPNo2. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://goo.gl/TwxUr2


Despite being aware of the fact that the sandwich’s crumbs could have very well found their way into the spacecraft’s sensitive equipment and caused deadly failure; John Young took the risk of sneaking a corned beef sandwich on the Gemini 3 mission back in 1965.

All is fair in love and war and this was clearly done out of the love for the almighty sandwich!

Weird Things Sent Into Space #6 – Cremains

It was in 1992 that NASA agreed to make history and conduct the first space burial. On the STS-52 space mission, NASA sent the partial remains of Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek franchise, (among others) on-board the Columbia Space Shuttle.



The Shuttle Enterprise – GPN-2000-001363.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://goo.gl/in0AGY


Years later, James Doohan, better known as Scotty from the original Star Trek series, wanted his ashes to be sent into space, a process that may seem easier said than done. However, his dreams never came true. In May 2007, after a brief flight into suborbital space on the back of a private rocket, the ashes crashed down to the New Mexico desert.

In another attempt conducted a year later to send his remains into the cosmos, a rocket carrying them exploded over the Pacific Ocean. Tough luck, Scotty. There was never anyone as good at beaming up than Scotty, himself.

If you’d like your remains to last forever in space, companies like Elysium Space and Celestis Inc. may send them at your request.

Weird Things Sent Into Space #5 – Playboy

Because boys will be boys… Apollo 12 launched in 1969 and on board it had a few scantily clad runaway items that you might not want your mom to find.



Photo by RRauction.com, http://goo.gl/2EIr9J


This act was part of a practical joke between the crew members. Among these included, a topless DeDe Lind calendar that made its way into space as the “unofficial 4th member” of the Apollo 12 mission.

This calendar was later auctioned off in 2011 and help raise more than 10 thousand dollars!

Weird Things Sent Into Space #4 – Paintballs

In 2013, Bemidji State University in Minnesota organized a weather balloon launch and called upon middle schoolers and college students to each think of something weird and send it up into space.

Interestingly enough, the college kids agreed and decided to send up boxes containing equipment and tools to measure radiation and acceleration. Leave it to college kids to try and learn something while having fun.



Image by, PaintballHelp.com, http://goo.gl/Rw5Ybt


But, give middle schoolers a little freedom and they’ll come up with something awesome! The middle school kids part of this experiment decided to send up paintballs (and some junk food for aliens, obviously) packed in a container.

The balloon traveled 98,000 feet up, the paintballs, however, never popped, what a bummer! Sorry, no chance of getting a glimpse at what near-space splatter art may look like.

Weird Things Sent Into Space #3 – Space Chair

The things people do for fame, we’ll never understand. As part of a marketing campaign designed to promote a new flat screen TV launch (pun intended), Toshiba appointed JP Aerospace to launch and film an armchair into space and record its descent back to Earth.



Photo by Cyril Attias, https://flic.kr/p/7h4QQ7


What’s interesting about this is that while the apparatus made it to 98,000 feet, the chair fell apart on its way back into Earth’s atmosphere. Luckily though, the camera gear survived as it parachuted back to Earth, landing within 12 miles of the launch site.

Weird Things Sent Into Space #2 – Hamburger

Why people feel compelled to send food up into space is a little weird. But that’s what this list is all about, sending weird things up into space!

In 2012, five adventurous students from Harvard decided to launch a stale hamburger up into space. Not sure what they were hoping the outcome would be, however, it made it all the way up to 98,425 feet.



Photo by Sean Carter, https://flic.kr/p/be5rgT


The hamburger however, fell back to the Earth not long after its launch. Certainly, there’s a ground beef joke in there somewhere…

Weird Things Sent Into Space #1 – Salmonella

While some fear salmonella, others study it. Well, when you know all there is to know about a bacteria and how it behaves here on Earth, the only thing left to do is send it up into space and study it there!

Scientists weren’t sure what would happen to this bacteria in the horrid ether of space, would it die, would it multiple, would it thrive? Who knew?



Photo by Microbe World, https://flic.kr/p/9RdFLz


So, in 2007, a sample of salmonella was dispatched in orbit aboard the Atlantis Space Shuttle. Scientists conducted studies while it was in zero gravity and found that Salmonella became even more virulent. It was then studied further and conclusions were made, ultimately, we still fear salmonella.

Interested in having something weird sent into space, maybe even your cremains? Well, you can contact the Masten Space Systems in Santa Clara and send anything from bird poop to your ashes up into space.

After having read this list, you’re probably thinking “what were they thinking”? But, believe it or not, there has always been a meaningful purpose behind each of these experiments.

Even if sending something weird into space was to simply prove a point. Nonetheless, Scientists spent years in school and decades perfecting their professions so they could one day participate in some of the most marvelous (and maybe ridicules) space experiments in history.

That’s our list of the 10 Weirdest Things Sent Into Space, we hope you liked it and would love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comment section below if we left anything off the list and as always, social sharing is caring!


Featured images by Hopeful in NJ, https://flic.kr/p/5Zfq3A

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