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NASA Media Movies Space Star Wars Prequels

NASA To Send Luke's Lightsaber Into Space 290

Posted by kdawson
from the may-the-force-ahh-never-mind dept.
Verunks writes "In honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, NASA will launch Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber into space along with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery. The launch is slated for October."
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NASA To Send Luke's Lightsaber Into Space

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  • Fired (Score:2, Funny)

    Fired... out of a cannon... into the sun.
    • Fired (Score:3, Funny)

      by blahlemon (638963)
      So Darth Vader gets screwed again. Lets face it, the whole series is really about him but noooo, his glory robbing little snot faced kid has got to prance around and steal his thunder. Typical younger generation...
  • by writertype (541679) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:36AM (#20381021)
    Basically, this is the equivalent of "first post", for this topic, at least.
    • While you're there, can you send Ben Affleck with them too. It'd be great if you could 'accidentally' jettison him into the sun; we'd all appreciate it.
      • I was thinking we could send the first three movies and pretend they never happened.
  • Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:38AM (#20381023)
    Glad to see NASA focusing on the important stuff when it comes to space.
    • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:47AM (#20381071) Homepage Journal
      Rutan recently said, "Admitting that the shuttle was wrong is an honest thing, but there is not the courage to actually try something we don't know will work. It means that we are absolutely, positively guaranteed to not solve the problem" of the dangers and expense of spaceflight.

      • To quote Rutan about the space shuttle, is like quoting Lee Iacocca about General Motors...

        Sure he has experience in the field, but you have to keep in mind he is trying to sell you his solution.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          At least he's offering SOMETHING new. That beats the Hell out of NASA for the last 30 years. "Hey look, we added wheels to the Viking Lander!!" may excite *some* people, but it's pretty sad compared to what they did in the 60's (even taking into account the smaller budgets).
    • by Nymz (905908)
      If firing a Star Wars movie prop into space, is what it takes, to get the next generations attention and acceptance of continued funding of NASA programs, then perhaps we should rethink the whole thing. Isn't teaching the truth about outer-space enough? because I don't think another Lance Bass [people.com] is the way to save NASA.
      • by kamapuaa (555446) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:44AM (#20381369) Homepage
        Lance Bass didn't actually go into space, but as a rich person who wanted to spend his own money to make it into space, that sort of thing is exactly what the space program needs. Private enterprise realizing financial opportunities in space flight would be about the best possible thing that could happen to NASA, whether it's exotic vacations, or increased satellites, or zero-G research, or mining some exotic kind of space narcotic, or whatever the fuck people might want from outer space and be willing to spend money for. NASA right now exists somewhere between being a long term investment and as a propaganda arm of the US government, its future is always going to be in doubt while that's true.
    • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:04AM (#20381169) Journal
      If you're sending up space shuttle Discovery, I doubt there's a lot of wasted costs on putting a lightsabre in there. :-p

      You could look at it in another way too -- without publicity for the masses (and not just space geeks), theye will lose interest in it. This seems like a very effort free way of raising publicity, and quite different on truly having their wrong focus by launching satellites for fun.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by opec (755488) *
        If you're sending up space shuttle Discovery, I doubt there's a lot of wasted costs on putting a lightsabre in there. :-p

        The average cost per pound to send to Low Earth Orbit is $3632 - $4587. [1]

        [1] Source: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=301 [spaceref.com]
        • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @03:00AM (#20381429) Homepage Journal
          So what you're saying is that this is really cheap advertising.

          Personally, I think NASA could more easily improve their image by putting a few cameras on the shuttle.. and showing us what the astronauts are actually doing when they're going through the procedures to return to earth, say, instead of showing us shot after shot of the landing strip, 4 hours before the shuttle is even scheduled to enter the atmosphere.

          Maybe put together some CG of the shuttle doing what it does when the astronauts press the buttons on the flight deck. Show us that when they're going through the procedures.. instead of the same shot of the earth from the ISS for 40 minutes.

          Ya know, actually engage the people on the ground in the process.
          • Re:Glad to see... (Score:5, Informative)

            by fr4nk (1077037) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @03:14AM (#20381475)

            Personally, I think NASA could more easily improve their image by putting a few cameras on the shuttle.. and showing us what the astronauts are actually doing when they're going through the procedures to return to earth, say, instead of showing us shot after shot of the landing strip, 4 hours before the shuttle is even scheduled to enter the atmosphere.
            You should have a look at NASA TV [nasa.gov] during Shuttle missions.
            • by QuantumG (50515)
              That's what I'm talking about (what else would I be talking about).

              Last shuttle mission, coming down, 3 hours of looking at the runway.. or looking at the guys in the control center looking at the runway.
              • Thats because its next to impossible to transmit visuals for a good chunk of the landing, heck for a portion of the landing the shuttle cant transmit anything but some data, not even voice. Nothing NASA can do about it but if humans continue to destroy the upper atmosphere NASA wont have to worry about it for much longer.

                And even for what they can transmit, do you think they would want to? God forbid something else happened would you WANT to see people dying on their way in?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by GeckoX (259575)
                  Um, I was watching Columbia when it burned up, as was just about everyone else in school at the time in North America. Just saying...
          • by bytesex (112972)
            The US admin will never go for it; another camera that can be accidentally left on when they're doing supersecret stuff up there.
          • by mwvdlee (775178)
            You mean like advertising... but with truth?
        • glass of water (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 7bit (1031746)

          If you're sending up space shuttle Discovery, I doubt there's a lot of wasted costs on putting a lightsabre in there. :-p

          The average cost per pound to send to Low Earth Orbit is $3632 - $4587. [1]

          WoWz! So why aren't we training horse-jockeys [jockeysroom.com] to be astronauts?

          And if each astronaught has a glass of water before getting onto the shuttle? That would be pretty expensive too!

          I suspect the weight of the light saber safely falls within the margin of error they build into their fuel calculations and as such won't really cost them any more than they are already going to spend/use in fuel anyway. Well worth it in my opinion. There isn't any reason why we can't make all our endeavors a little more fun

          • by YGingras (605709)
            I just fail to see what is inspiring in launching a cheap flashlight handle in the great void. Launch the ratchet used by Rutan or take the solemn moment of the light saber throw to have an astronaut read an essay on _his_ quest for science instead. I want to hear about this real space explorer, not about a cheesy fictional hero from an over hyped space opera.
        • by click2005 (921437)
          Dont forget to add the cost of the lightsabre itself. It sold on Ebay a while back for around $25,000.
          I'm assuming this is the same one.
    • by BuR4N (512430)
      I would say that its a bigger issue that they still send upp the shuttle than the lightsaber in question.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I wonder how much that lightsaber weighs in relation to all my taxpayer money they've blown into space since the end of Apollo?
  • Careful... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Treskin (555947) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:41AM (#20381033)
    Hey, now. That's one of the great artifacts of geekdom, and they're risking it on a shuttle launch? I seem to recall NASA's shuttles being a little... what's the word... explody, at times. Losing another crew would be bad enough, but Luke's saber? C'mon!
  • by dotslashdot (694478) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:42AM (#20381045)
    What would be really cool is if some aliens found it and made operational and then shipped it to me using GalEx (GalaxyExpress). Then I could go up to my boss, rattle my light saber by saying "Look. I am your fodder." Khoo khaa.
    • You mean "Galaxy Quest" style?

      You got me thinking what would happen if some aliens saw other Sci-Fi films and made them real.

      For example:

      Alien? Then manufacture a 7ft killing machine of an alien.
      Babylon5. I think that would be kind of cool.
      'Trek, best not to go there. Galaxy Quest got there first.

      But what would they make of 2001, A Scanner Darkly, Solaris or ET? I find the idea of making the ship from ET somehow ridiculous. The old classic Cygnus from "The Black Hole" would be most excellent
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      We should send this; http://www.realdoll.com/ [realdoll.com]
  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:44AM (#20381053) Homepage
    At a cost of about $9,000 per kilogramme to get something into orbit with the shuttle, is this really the best use of tax payers' money ?
    • by Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:50AM (#20381095)
      Actually, though this may come as a surprise, the space shuttle is not fueled by money, it's fueled by rocket fuel. The $9,000/kilo figure is just an average based on how much it costs to launch the shuttle and how heavy the shuttle is. Adding a .5kg lightsaber doesn't change how expensive the launch will be, at all.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SamP2 (1097897)
        No, but it means that something else (of potential scientific or utilitarian use) will be left behind.

        Saying a lightsaber doesn't add an extra cost to a shuttle is like saying you should ride the bus free because the bus is driving anyways, and 1 more person won't change the cost of paying for the gas or the driver's salary. But that either means someone else won't be able to get on, or the bus generates less revenue which will simply rollover to either less bus service in the future or higher ticket costs
        • by QuantumG (50515)

          especially when there are a ton of legitimate things waiting YEARS for a chance of being lifted into space.
          Meh, the reason why things, and people, wait years to get a chance to fly has nothing to do with technical capability and everything to do with politics.

          That's what being an astronaut is.. suckin' ass for your chance.

        • by poopdeville (841677) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:43AM (#20381363)
          There's a REASON there's such a huge pricetag on lifting anything in orbit, and you can't say "well the shuttle's gonna fly anyways so I might as well throw this trinket in", especially when there are a ton of legitimate things waiting YEARS for a chance of being lifted into space.

          Too bad they weigh enough that they don't fit in this flight's spare capacity, like the light saber does. There's a limit to how much each flight can carry. They fit as much scientific stuff as they can on each one. But there's often spare capacity.

          You're just wrong.
      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        Actually, though this may come as a surprise, the space shuttle is not fueled by money, it's fueled by rocket fuel. The $9,000/kilo figure is just an average based on how much it costs to launch the shuttle and how heavy the shuttle is. Adding a .5kg lightsaber doesn't change how expensive the launch will be, at all.

        Actually, the Mercury astronauts hit it on the head in one when they said, "No bucks, no Buck Rogers." Gotta buy the rocket fuel...

    • by RuBLed (995686)
      I'm pretty sure it's worth it. The astronauts are bored with their Force Push and Force Pull powers, they want something different to do in their idle times. I heard that they wanted to bring Darth Vader's mask too but they we're turned down.. too bad.. oh well..
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Use the budget Luke.
  • If they really wanted to fire imaginations and send it where Geeks dream of going they should send it to a whore house in Nevada. It'd be cheaper, get more press, and inspire generations of Geeks to shoot for the stars, former porn stars but they're still stars damnmit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:54AM (#20381107)
    Think about it: Russia gets ~$20m for launching a 150lb person into space; by making itself popular, NASA gets _at least_ $20m in extra funding from Congress for sending a 1lb piece of pop culture into space. American efficiency at its best!
  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chlorus (1146335) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:05AM (#20381173)
    ...now some alien civilization will find it and a) sell it on Ebay for a ludicrous amount or b) brag to various and sundry that they own the original prop. Or they'll just do with it what they'll probably do to the Voyager probes: Toss it in the trash.
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jartan (219704) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:05AM (#20381175)
    I'm not much of the sort to care about this thing usually but I have to question what the point is of sending a expensive cultural item flinging off into space is? Shouldn't the thing be in a museum or something somewhere? Or perhaps sell it and get the Astronauts some new cupholders?
    • Shouldn't the thing be in a museum or something somewhere?
      It belongs in a museum!

      Sorry, that was one in a million.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by edmazur (958154)
      FTA:

      The laser-like Jedi weapon is being flown to the orbiting outpost and back in honor of the 30th anniversary of director George Lucas' franchise.
  • by Derek Loev (1050412) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:21AM (#20381249)
    Guys, don't worry, I'm sure it's not the real lightsaber. The real one was lost years ago. This is a digitally remastered (better) lightsaber with added features and toys! Very soon you will be able to buy your own original (digitally remastered and better) lightsaber at your local convenience store and you too can shoot it off into space. And it really is a good buy, George Lucas has assured us the money will go to deleting the entire Obi-Wan Darth Vader duel of A New Hope and adding a new scene (digitally remastered and better, of course) with Ewan McGregor. It's going to be great!
  • We seem to be... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Derek Loev (1050412) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @02:25AM (#20381267)
    Star Wars Fans: We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life.
  • After Vader cut off Luke's hand, I thought the saber would be tumbling somewhere in the Bespin system.

    The irony of that moment is that Luke's father "wanted him to have it", except Luke's father cut off his hand to disarm him of it. And apparently Obi-Wan's interpretation of "he wanted you to have it", is "I took it from him after I left the bastard for dead." Though, I imagine his phrasing seems a little more sentimental.
  • Don't drop that light saber [youtube.com] laser down first...
  • To study of the effects of weightlessness on tiny screws.

  • ...there will be a great battle between the Yodanians and the Jarjarites over possession of the staff of the great Lord Lucas.

    You think the Star Wars geeks are scary now. You just wait.
  • First the StarWars Kid and now this!

    I can't wait to see astronauts "training with a remote" videos and letting people here on earth do the video editing. :) Please, someone donate some storm trooper armor and other stuff as well! :)
    • by DarthVain (724186)
      ok that would be freakin' funny.... if one of the guys smuggled up a stormtroper helmet and perhaps the upper body stuff, for when they send a video feed back. I know there is no way they could smuggle that much stuff on undetected, but what a practical joke that would be. "Unnn sorry this isn't the spacecraft you are looking for, what are you doing on the imperial channel!" lol
  • by DrXym (126579)
    What an utterly pointless and futile act. They should have auctioned the light sabre off and donated the proceeds to something that promotes or furthers science in some way.
  • by mattcoz (856085) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @04:55AM (#20381779)
    One of the crew members on a recent shuttle trip to the international space station brought the Firefly and Serenity DVDs up with them. Breaking Atmo [breakingatmo.com]
  • NASA will launch Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber into space along with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery.
    What I wanna know is how did NASA pick the crew? Pick a straw, any straw. If you pick the smallest you'll be sent tumbling into space attached to a Starwars toy lightsaber. Yup, even the pilot. Nope, we'll land the shuttle by remote control, nice try.
  • Mark Hamill? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inicom (81356) <aem&inicom,com> on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @05:40AM (#20381903) Homepage
    Am I the only one sad that Mark Hamill isn't part of the ceremony? I'm sure it couldn't be a question of cost. Instead, the only "dignataries" at the send off and return are costumes. If Luke's saber is being used for publicity, the hand that wielded it should be as well.
  • The Evil Empire, having captured Luke, will send his weapon away?

    Some Jedis y'all are.

                mark "bad Jedi! Trying! No lightsaber!
  • Considering the tremendous amount of fanfare that the article describes will take place in transporting this old movie prop, and its overall shape, one could be forgiven for mistaking it for an inanimate carbon rod [youtube.com].
  • Don't tell me the odds!
  • by seebs (15766) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @08:31AM (#20383069) Homepage
    They're gonna have to be extra careful not to blow this one up or anything, that saber's irreplaceable.
  • Okay, this deeply concerns me. We have already lost two shuttles due to accidents, and now NASA is inviting a third. Astronauts will get bored in space and will undoubtably engage in horse play. One of them will invariably remember the light saber and procure it from its handy storage bin. Once he has it in hand, he will likely activate it and start swinging it about---like we all do with a toy light saber. Except, this is _Luke's_ light saber; so it's real. I expect that he'll probably cut some critical co
  • In honor of the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, NASA will launch Luke Skywalker's original Jedi lightsaber into space along with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery.

    Hopefully this includes the space shuttle Discovery itself as well.

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