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Interesting space travelers

Astronaut Ron Garan took the remains of 19th century nun St. Therese of Lisieux aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 2008. In March, a relic containing the remains arrived in Jerusalem, where it will be worshiped by Catholics. However, it's unlikely the relics from that cosmic voyage are the same ones now in Israel, since the reliquary that arrived Monday would be too large for space travel. St. Therese was born in France in 1873 and is one of only a few Doctors of the Church, a designation granted to distinguished Catholic thinkers.

Photo by AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Astronaut Ron Garan took the remains of 19th century nun St. Therese of Lisieux aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 2008. In March, a relic containing the remains arrived in Jerusalem, where it will be worshiped by Catholics. However, it's unlikely the relics from that cosmic voyage are the same ones now in Israel, since the reliquary that arrived Monday would be too large for space travel. St. Therese was born in France in 1873 and is one of only a few Doctors of the Church, a designation granted to distinguished Catholic thinkers.

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  • In 2007, NASA took three green starter's flags from the Daytona 500 aboard space shuttle Atlantis, which was headed to the International Space Station, to mark the 50th anniversary of NASA and NASCAR's premiere race. NASCAR drivers have used NASA technology in the past, such as cooling suits very similar to what astronauts wear during spacewalks. The Daytona race track is less than 100 miles away from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and it is common for drivers to pause during a race to watch space shuttles streak into space.
  • Astronaut Ron Garan took the remains of 19th century nun St. Therese of Lisieux aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 2008. In March, a relic containing the remains arrived in Jerusalem, where it will be worshiped by Catholics. However, it's unlikely the relics from that cosmic voyage are the same ones now in Israel, since the reliquary that arrived Monday would be too large for space travel. St. Therese was born in France in 1873 and is one of only a few Doctors of the Church, a designation granted to distinguished Catholic thinkers.
  • Before he died in 2005, James Doohan, known for his role as Star Trek's engineer Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, asked that his ashes would be shot into space. A rocket operated by private company UP Aerospace took his remains and those of another 200 people to sub orbit  for four minutes before it fell back to Earth. The rocket landed in rough mountainous terrain in New Mexico and was later found in good condition according to Aerospace. The same rocket also had aboard scientific experiments by 800 students from around the world.
  • The ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper were in the same rocket that flew James Doohan's remains. A member of the 'Original Seven', NASA's first group of astronauts, he flew aboard the Mercury spacecraft. It was the longest U.S. human space flight until that time and Cooper became the first astronaut to sleep in space. He died in 2004 at the age of 77.
  • One can say that it was thanks to Ham the chimpanzee that humans can fly in space. In 1961, the 3-year-old chimp became the first primate in space aboard a Mercury-Redstone spacecraft before it splashed into the Atlantic ocean. NASA used chimpanzees and other primates to test the Mercury Capsule before launching the first American astronaut Alan Shepard in May 1961.
  • When China's second manned space mission, Shenzhou VI, went into space in 2007 it carried sweet potato seeds that were later grown on the beaches of southern Hainan Island. Restaurants have since made money selling dishes prepared with the Spacial Purple Orchid III potato. However, the Chinese learned that the sweetness and the taste of the potatoes were not different than regular ones. Officials involved in the Shenzhou VI mission said that it produced a number of mutated vegetables.
  • Space shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission carried equipment to construct the International Space Station but it made this list for bringing along Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from 'Star Wars Return of the Jedi'. The prop was packed in foam and spent two weeks in orbit. The flight helped celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars trilogy. Enthusiasts dressed as characters including Chewbacca and X-wing pilots escorted the item to an airport in California for the flight to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it was packed into a shuttle locker and taken to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., for loading aboard Discovery.
In this photo, astronaut Jim Reilly helped welcome R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker's lightsaber from Star Wars to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
  • The crew of Apollo 11 took a swath of fabric and a small piece of a wooden strut from the Wright Flyer to moon. The Wright Flyer was the first successful powered aircraft 1903 and got only a few feet off the ground. In 1969, it finally landed on the moon.
  • STS-116 mission commander Mark Polansky took a replica of a Holocaust survivor's teddy bear aboard space shuttle Discovery to honor his late father. The original bear was too fragile to travel in space and the replica has since returned to the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Astronaut Alan Shepard carried golf balls to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971. He hit two balls with an improvised club. In 2006, a Canadian golf company sponsored another spacial tee off with a contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency. The golf task was performed during Expedition 14's spacewalk (photo). Despite scientists' concern that the ball could damage the station or hit a subsequent orbit causing catastrophic damage, its light weight -- three grams compared to 1.62 ounces for a standard golf ball -- was unlikely to cause any damage.
  • Flight engineer Catherine Coleman has a 100-year-old wooden flute aboard Expedition 27. She borrowed it from traditional Irish music band the Chieftains to take on a six-month mission to the International Space Station. Before her, Ellen Ochoa brought a flute in space shuttle Discovery in 1993 and John Herrington brought a Native American flute aboard mission STS-113 in 2002.
Coleman played the flute to celebrate her Irish heritage on St. Patrick's Day. 
To watch the video click on: http://www.spacetimesnews.com/videos/detail/happy-st-patricks-day/
  • Colonizing other planets is not only science fiction stuff anymore and sea urchins can help humans get closer to it. Today, space stations have proven that humans can live for periods of time in space and the ability to explore other planets is a matter of time. One of the scientific questions to ask before men and women from Earth settle in space is what are the effects of microgravity on reproduction. NASA sent sea urchin sperm into space to answer that question and studies conducted in 2002 have shown that gravity, or the lack of thereof, could indeed have a significant effect on fertilization in space.
  • Why would astronauts grow Salmonella in a spacecraft? Experiments conducted during missions to the International Space Station in 2006 and 2008 showed that the bacteria grown is space are many times more deadly than their equivalent grown on the ground. Space agencies may need to worry about the increased virulence of microorganism in long manned mission. But the study might also help find new strategies to combat food poisoning caused by Salmonella on Earth.
In this photo: Astronaut Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper holding a container of Salmonella aboard mission STS-115 in 2006.

Not only astronauts get to fly in space. They are often allowed to bring along important objects and small tokens -- each astronaut is allowed up to two pounds of mementos. Some of these objects never leave space and are stuck to the walls of the International Space Station. But people from Earth have also sent interesting objects and even human remains aboard of spacecrafts.

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