Former presidents of the United States – George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan – embark on an exciting journey into outer space. Of course, it’s not their bodies that will be delivered to space, but only samples of their hair.
Samples containing fragments of their DNA will be included in the memorial space mission Enterprise Flight of Celestis from Houston. Along with the strands of the presidents’ hair, the cremated remains of the late astronaut Philip Chapman, as well as the creator of “Star Trek” Gene Roddenberry and other actors from the cult American television series of the 1960s will also be delivered to space. The name of the mission was taken from the USS Enterprise, a starship from a sci–fi show whose mission was “To boldly go where no man has gone before!”
Representatives of Celestis said that the strands of hair of the four former presidents were donated by an anonymous sponsor and were accompanied by certificates of their authenticity. They say the samples come from the collection of Louis Mushro, a “collector and connoisseur of celebrity hair” from Michigan. “These hair samples have been in a climate–controlled room for several years in preparation for this mission,” Celestis said in a statement.
According to the company, this journey is a kind of immortality. For more than 25 years, Celestis has been collecting batches of cremated human remains, DNA samples, hair strands and other memorabilia to be sent into space aboard suborbital and orbital rockets. One mission even went to the Moon. The batch of capsule samples is light in weight and about the size of a tube of lipstick.
Theoretically, DNA in cells, for example in hair, can be preserved for a long time in deep space, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years. If the samples are well protected from cosmic radiation all this time, it means that space civilizations will theoretically be able to restore the genetic code of the four presidents, if their technologies have advanced far beyond our current capabilities.
The time capsule will be sent into space this year aboard the Vulcan Centaur rocket from the United Launch Alliance. The goal of the mission is to put the capsule into a stable orbit around the Sun.
During the memorial flight, the Vulcan Centaur rocket will also deploy two satellites and send a commercial lunar lander to the Moon. Only then the payload will detach with samples of hair and ashes into deep space. ULA President and CEO Tori Bruno said it was “a huge honor to work with Celestis on this launch on our Vulcan launch vehicle.”
In 1997, Celestis had already sent some of Gene Roddenberry’s ashes into orbit around the Earth during its first launch called Founders Flight. Everyone can use the service of space “burial”: The Houston-based company charges USD 4,995 for launching ashes into near-Earth orbit, and a trip to deep space beyond the Moon starts at USD 12.5 thousand.
Earlier we reported on the plans of space agencies for 2023.
According to Phys
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