Sunday, October 12, 2008

2008: A Space Odyssey

Richard Garriot is a millionaire computer game designer and son of an astronaut. He had always dreamed of going to space. Now he has, becoming the most recent tourist-astronaut. As part of a 3 man crew, Garriot is aboard spaceship Soyuz TMA-13 en route to the international space station. In addition to enjoying the view, Garriot will conduct a variety of experiments, including taking survey photographs of the Earth as his father, astronaut Owen Garriot, did 25 years ago.

Garriot is also helping to establish a sort of time capsule of humanity on the space station. The so-called "immortality drive" contains, among other things, a collection of digitized DNA sequences from a variety of earthlings including astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and satirist Stephen Colbert. But don't worry, it's not only people named Stephen that will represent humanity forever. In an apparent attempt to completely invalidate the project, the drive also includes the sequence of "Beast" from the television show American Gladiators. Couldn't we have voted on this? (h/t Wired)

(image credit: AP, wired.com)