10 Offbeat Things Humans Have Launched Into Space

Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber

No well-dressed Star Wars devotee (or costume-enthusiast, for that matter) would dare to be seen without the series' most recognizable weapon: a lightsaber. Turns out, neither would the Space Shuttle Discovery.

In 2007, the Discovery traveled into deep space with an assortment of artifacts reflecting earthly accomplishments, including a plastic movie prop once wielded by actor Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in "Return of the Jedi." The lightsaber handle embarked on its storied journey some three decades after the original Star Wars trilogy was released. At the end of its 14-day trip, Skywalker's lightsaber was returned to moviemaker George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.

Some icons, however, have a long shelf life in space, where they remain plastered to the International Space Station walls. Among the more memorable items are a golf ball, a family portrait and a series of digitally encoded signatures [source: Siceloff].

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