Oregon Man Wants to Be the First Person to Launch His Cat’s Cremains Into Space

iStock.com/wanderluster
iStock.com/wanderluster

Pikachu won’t be the first live cat to be launched into space, but he could become the first deceased one to be “buried” among the stars. According to Geek.com, an Oregon man is hosting a crowdfunding campaign to give his beloved pet a celestial send-off. Steve Munt, of Lake Oswego, plans to send the cat’s cremated remains into Earth’s orbit via a rocket operated by a space-memorial company called Celestis Pets.

“Please help make history, and secure Pikachu's place in the heavens as a guardian angel of this Earth,” Munt writes on his GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $2100 of its $5000 goal. “A portion of his remains, from his heart, will be launched into orbit, where he will watch over the Earth, and we can track his location as he showers the world with love.”

Pikachu died in January 2019 after a yearlong battle with diabetes. People from around the world have been offering their support in the comment section of the fundraising page, including some who said they sympathized because they had a similar-looking orange tabby.

Celestis has been arranging space memorials for people since 1997, but its operations expanded to include pets in 2014. According to the company, it has blasted the cremains of two dogs into space, but no cats have received this cosmic treatment. “I wanted Pikachu to be the first, continue his legacy as an explorer, and show the world that a cat is just as worthy as a dog of a special tribute,” Munt told Space.com.

The company offers different packages, but its Earth Orbit service is one of the more affordable services at a cost of $5000. According to the website, a portion of cremains would enter Earth’s orbit, “where it remains until it reenters the atmosphere, harmlessly vaporizing like a shooting star in final tribute.”

[h/t Geek.com]

There's a Second Moon—a Mini-Moon—in Earth's Orbit

dottedhippo, iStock via Getty Images
dottedhippo, iStock via Getty Images

Moons are common in our solar system. In simple terms, a moon is a natural satellite caught in a planet's orbit. Based on that definition, a second moon—a mini-moon—has been circling Earth for a few years undetected by scientists, The Atlantic reports.

The Minor Planet Center—an international organization that studies asteroids, comets, and small natural satellites orbiting planets—announced recently that Earth has a new natural satellite of its own. The object, dubbed 2020 CD3, is roughly the size of a small car, and it's the only one of our planet's satellites, other than the actual Moon, that wasn't put into orbit by humans.

Astronomers concluded that 2020 CD3 has been there for at least a year and up to three, evading observation until February 15, 2020. It's not totally clear what the object it is, but most likely it was an asteroid that was pulled off course by Earth's gravity while flying close to the planet. There's a smaller chance it's a piece of the moon that flew into space following an impact.

The Moon's status as Earth's no.1 satellite isn't under threat. Mini-moons such as this one may appear fairly often, but because they're too small to reflect the Sun or be seen with the naked eye, most aren't documented before exiting orbit. The gravitational tug-of-war between the Moon, the Earth, and the Sun makes for unstable trajectories for such small objects, which eventually causes them to slip back into outer space. 2020 CD3, for instance, takes a wild, looping path around Earth that lasts about four months. The mini-moon may break away from our planet as early as April 2020.

2020 CD3 isn't the only noteworthy object in orbit. Here are five human-made things you can see from space.

[h/t The Atlantic]

How to See Venus and the Moon Share a ‘Kiss’ in a Rare Astronomical Event This Week

Mike Hewitt/iStock via Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/iStock via Getty Images

Venus is visible in the evening or morning sky for most of the year, but this Thursday, the second planet from the sun won't be alone in its spot above the horizon. As Travel + Leisure reports, Venus, also known as the "evening star," will appear right next to a crescent moon following the sunset on February 27, resulting in a rare celestial "kiss."

Why will Venus be close to the moon?

Venus is often among the first "stars" to become visible at twilight (though it's really a planet), and it's the brightest object in the night sky aside from the moon. Between January 1 and May 24, it shines brightly above the western horizon. For a few weeks in early May and late June, Venus is washed out by the light of the sun, and from June 13 to December 31, it's easiest to see in the eastern sky around sunrise.

This week, Venus will be in the perfect position to share a "kiss" with the night's brightest object. All the planets, including Venus, appear to traverse the same path across the night sky called the ecliptic. The moon follows a similar trajectory, and on some nights, the celestial body seems to come very close to the planets that also occupy the plane. This effect is just an illusion; while they will appear to be nearly touching on Thursday, the moon will actually be 249,892 miles from Earth on February 27, while Venus will be 84 million miles away.

The Moon just entered its "new" phase on Sunday, and it will only be partially illuminated by the time it meets up with Venus. The waxing crescent moon will rise in the perfect position in the western sky on Thursday to create a joint spectacle with our planetary neighbor.

When to see Venus and the moon "kiss"

The kiss between the moon and Venus can be spotted in the hours after sunset on Thursday, February 27. When you notice it getting dark, head outside and look to the southwest horizon if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. That will give you your best chance at catching the special event. If you miss it this week, you won't have to wait long for your next opportunity to see the Moon kiss Venus: The two bodies will return to a similar position on March 28, 2020.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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