Steve Munt, a quantum physicist, retried from NASA, but his love for space exploration carries on. With time on his hands following his retirement, he began to study animal nutrition. In doing so, he adopted seven cats who all live with him at home, in Portland, Oregon. His latest mission, is to send his late cat’s ashes into space.
Pikachu, his beloved cat passes away
One of Munt’s pet cats was euthanized in January and now the former NASA employee is raising funds to send his cat’s ashes into orbit. This escapade is likely to cost around $5,000. Steve Munt commented “I don't see this as something frivolous. You know, to me, it's a very deeply effecting experience for me.” He was obviously very attached to his pet, Pikachu. A portion of this cat's heart will be sent into space.
Many species of animals have been first space travellers
Since the 1960s and 70s, many spaceflight programmes have involved scientists sending animals into orbit. Laika, a dog and Ham a chimpanzee are probably the most noted animals that have been into space. Many others species, such as fruit flies, mice, rats, dogs, rabbits and a monkey have all been used in space travel experiments.
The first live cat sent into space
The first feline that travelled into the atmosphere, was a French cat, in 1963. Félicette flew 130 miles in a rocket, then successfully returned to earth some 15 minutes later. This live French cat that ventured into space, made a valuable contribution to space and scientific research.
Although human ashes have circled the earth, this will be the first time that a cat's remains have taken this amazing journey! You can donate to the Pikachu fund here.