By Ng Yi Shu
On Feb 6, space became the final frontier for Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster, the latest of strange things humanity has sent into the void.
Blaring songs such as Space Oddity, Starman and Life On Mars, the car was carried into orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy — touted as the world’s most powerful rocket.
Just two weeks earlier, New Zealand startup Rocket Lab launched a 65-sided giant disco ball, the Humanity Star, to be the brightest object in the night sky for nine months when it will re-enter the atmosphere. Scientists have condemned the object as mere space graffiti.
But strange objects have been sent to the heavens for manyyears now.
In 2011 Curiosity was sent to explore the Red Planet; its cargo included a 1909 US penny — a homage to the practice of using pennies to measure objects by geologists, according to NASA.
The same year, NASA launched the probe Juno to orbit Jupiter, carrying three Lego figurines: the Roman god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and the first observer of the planet’s moons, Galileo Galilei. Unlike Lego’s other plastic figurines, these are made out of aluminium to withstand the harshness of space.
Farther away, attached to New Horizons, are the remains of Clyde Tombaugh, an American astronomer who was the first to discover Pluto. His remains are on the probe currently making its way out of the Solar System.
Other notable people who have been buried in space include Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.