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Interactive video lesson plan for: 4 Offbeat Things Launched Into Space | What the Stuff?!

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Humans have blasted some astoundingly weird stuff into space! Want to know more? Check out the article below:

10 Offbeat Things Humans Have Launched Into Space

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"VHS" by Jahzzar

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The Lost Cosmonauts

2mm pin fire gun flare launch at night

Astronaut throws first pitch for NY Yankees

SQUID experiment atmospheric re entry

Trek Nation: Gene Roddenberry sends a special message to JJ Abrams

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Shea Stadium Home Plate

Kamchatka Brown Bear

Gray wolves in Bardu, Troms, Norway

At thousands of dollars per pound, hauling cargo into space has always been wickedly expensive, which means the amount of room available for non-essentials is limited. Nevertheless, humans HAVE blasted some astoundingly weird stuff into space.

Guns. Yes, _guns_. And ammo! According to space historian James Oberg, Russian cosmonauts traveling on board the Soyuz spacecraft always carried along a survival pack including a three-barreled firearm that could shoot rifle cartridges, shotgun shells and flares. The stock also folded out to reveal a machete blade. So what gives? Were they worried about Thermosphere Pirates? Bellicose moon men? Each other? [*Pause] Actually, none of the above: The gun was a survival tool for when cosmonauts crashed back on Earth, among the bears and wolves of the Russian wilderness. OK – so how about something not quite as clumsy or random as a blaster?

In 2007, the space shuttle Discovery flashed into orbit with a payload of cool artifacts from Earth, including an elegant weapon for a more civilized age: a lightsaber. Unfortunately, not one of those _working_ lightsabers we all suspect NASA has been secretly designing since 1977 – just a plastic prop from the set of a Star Wars production. Now I hear you nerds asking, “But, OMG, _which_ lightsaber? Darth Vader’s Red Menace? Mace Windu’s Purple Cleaver?” Actually, it was Luke Skywalker’s green saber from Return of the Jedi. **So obviously astronauts were looking at each other like: “You _want_ this, don’t you?”

On March 12, 2008, astronaut Garrett Reisman boarded the International Space Station carrying dirt from the pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium, which surely had a symbolic significance when Reisman “threw” the first pitch via video link at a Yankees-Red Sox game in April of that year. Not to see New York’s other team outdone, astronaut Mike Massimino packed the home plate from the Mets’ Shea Stadium among his personal effects when he went up a year later.

Human Remains. Even after _you_ have passed away, your opportunity to become a space traveler hasn’t. For a not-insignificant fee, there are several companies that will propel a sample of your cremains into space via rocket, where they may land on the moon, or orbit the Earth and burn up on re-entry. The first space burial mission took place back in 1997, carrying the ashes of famous space junkies like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and psychedelic voyager Timothy Leary.

If you were traveling up for a stay on the International Space Station, what weird thing would you take with you? Let us know in the comments and subscribe, and learn more by reading 10 Offbeat Things Humans Have Launched Into Space at HowStuffWorks!

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