So, I was listening to NPR's "Science Friday" show yesterday, and they were talking about NASA memoribilia. Apparently, astronauts take a huge duffel bag full of random crap with them every time they go into space. Then when they come back down, they give the stuff to schools, universities, stupid collectors, etc. I guess it's supposed to be like, "Here's your chalkboard eraser back, Mrs. Johnson's 4th grade class! It's been to space!" Which I'm sure kids would find really cool. Just make sure you keep it in a safe place and that Jimmy doesn't try to eat it. But I know that if I ever got something that had been in space, I would probably lose it. "Honey, where's the pen that's been in space?" "You mean the Space Pen that writes upside down?" "No, I mean the normal pen that I sent to NASA." "Have you seen the crockpot that's been in zero gravity?" And how do I know that NASA didn't just keep my stuff for like a year, do nothing with it, and then send it back to me? I have no way of knowing that something was in space. Also, how do I get NASA to send something into space? Is there a waiting list? Does Buzz Aldrin's stuff get priority over my stuff?
The expert NPR was talking to also mentioned that back in the day, people used to write NASA asking NASA to send them moon rocks. Um, you can't ask NASA for a moon rock! Sending a man to the moon was the largest peacetime project in the history of Western civilization! Do you think they're going to send the only thing they brought back from the moon to yahoos who write in? Do you think they brought back enough moon rock for everyone? I realize that a lot of the people who wrote to NASA were probably just curious kids, and I don't mean to make fun of them. Because it would be really cool to have a moon rock. But I'm pretty sure NASA isn't handing them out like candy. I would love to see the form letter they wrote to those people.
"Dear Joe Blow, Thanks for your interest in NASA and in the space program. Unfortunately, we need to study all the moon rocks to see what kind of monsters live there. I mean, to learn more about the moon. Also, Neil and Buzz took a lot of moon rocks home with them. And we felt really bad that Michael Collins had to stay up in the ship while he planned his Irish revolution, and couldn't walk on the surface of the moon, so we felt like we had to give him the biggest moon rock. It's only fair."