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7 Strange Items That Astronauts Have Brought With Them Into Space Over The Years

Most people know we’ve sent a man to the moon, leaving an imprint of “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” But how many know we’ve taken things a step further, and propelled some very strange artifacts into the galaxy for the sake of furthering science or, for sentimentality, or, in some instances, for no good reason at all?

Space is the final frontier, so they say, and these objects “have slipped the surly bonds of earth” and taken flight, taking hopes, dreams, and amusement along with them.

Photo: jpl.nasa.gov/NASA/JPL-Caltech/LEGO

Lego Figurines

With hopes of increasing kids’ interest in science, engineering, and technology, NASA sent three LEGO figurines into space aboard its Juno spacecraft in 2011. Seeing as the space probe was heading off to study Jupiter, the three LEGO people were named Galileo, Jupiter, and Juno. 

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/The Silent Wind of Doom

Dirt From Yankee Stadium in New York

Talk about hitting one out of the ballpark… A huge New York Yankees fan and astronaut, Garrett Reisman, took along a vial of dirt from the Yankees’ pitcher mound, as well as a Yankees banner on his first space mission. He stayed on the International Space Station (ISS) for three months, and while there, he threw a ceremonial first pitch for a Yankees game taking place 200 miles or so below him.

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org/Rick

A Corned Beef Sandwich 

Gemini astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto his first space mission. While in the Gemini 3 capsule, Young pulled out the sandwich he had zipped into his spacesuit pre-launch, and took a bite, sending small crumbs of rye bread floating around. Since then, sandwiches aren’t allowed in space. The particles could float into equipment, causing serious problems or malfunctions.

Photo: pxhere.com

The Sound of Herding Sheep

Voyager 1 and 2 blasted off into space in 1977. As they would be the first human-made objects to leave our solar system, NASA outfitted each spacecraft with a shiny golden record etched with photographs, greetings, music, and Earth sounds. One of the record sounds was someone herding sheep. Although the quality isn’t great, you can hear distinct “baaaa” sounds coming from the herd.

Photo: flickr.com/Voodoo Queen

A Buzz Lightyear Toy

Looking to pique kids’ interest in space, science, and NASA, a Buzz Lightyear toy was sent to the ISS aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The toy resided at the space station for 15 months before returning to Earth. The journey was considered a lighthearted adventure.

Photo: warren.af.mil/Matt Bilden

Dinosaur Fossils 

In 1985, NASA astronaut Loren Acton brought dinosaur fossils aboard the space shuttle Challenger. The fossils included small bone and eggshell pieces from a hadrosaur nesting site. Maiasaura peeblelsoraum, the “good mother lizard,” was 76 million years old.

Photo: flickr.com/BXGD

Pizza Hut Pizza

Talk about a slice of heaven. In 2001, Pizza Hut became the first restaurant chain to deliver food to space. It cost the brand over a million dollars to orchestrate a pizza delivery to the ISS, but the astronauts weren’t allowed to eat any because NASA was against what was perceived as the commercialization of their spacecraft.

This is quite the list, right? Who knows what’ll be the next item to make it up to space…