Toy Dinosaurs, Olive Branches and Penis Doodles: Bizarre Objects that Astronauts Took To Space
While many of us love to carry mementos, keepsakes and comfort items on our travels, the items that astronauts carry to space may leave you surprised.
Earlier in June, two NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley hurtled into space aboard a SpaceX mission to the International Space Station. With them, they carried a toy dinosaur which their sons, both of whom are interested in dinosaurs, chose as their totem. Videos of the sequined toy floating in zero gravity went viral on social media as the "Dragon Crew" made its way to the ISS.
But the toy dino is not even the strangest thing that an astronaut has taken to space. As travel author David Bramwell writes in The Guardian, Buzz Aldrin who reached the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969, carried with him a "miniature chalice, wine and bread".
A devout Christian, Aldrin allegedly poured the wine on the surface of the moon as he read from the Bible, making alcohol the first liquid that humans poured on the surface of the moon.
The report further cites how astronaut Alan Shepard took a gold club and balls to the moon and even knocked a few balls in space. three of those balls remain in space.
The Apollo 11 which included Neil Armstrong who was was the first man to land on the moon also carried with it a golden olive branch which they left on the moon as a symbol of peace, perhaps for alien civilizations yet to find us.
In an inventory created by archaeologist and anthropologist at New Mexico State University, Dr Beth O'Leary, who focuses on space, has created a database of the items that astronauts left behind on the moon between the years 1969 to 1972.
These include a bunch of gadgets and equipment, flags of the United States, family photographs such as the one left behind by Charles Duke from the 1972 Apollo 16 mission, and of course, a bag of human poop.
But perhaps the most interesting thing that was ever sent to space is not one that was taken there by astronauts but sneaked into one of the spacecraft as an act of mischievous rebellion.
An artwork called "Moon Museum", created by artist Forest Myers and containing the works of six leading artists from the 1960s including Andy Warhol, was sneaked onto the moon aboard the legs of an Apollo 12 module which currently remains on the moon. The artwork consisted mainly of a ceramic wafer that contained images from the six artists. What did Warhol draw and send to space? The doodle of a penis.