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Astronauts call the objects they carry with them to float around the space station in microgravity “zero-G indicators.”
The rest of us call them toys.
According to the blog Collect Space, the tradition goes all the way back to the first launch of a human into space in 1961. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a small doll with him to watch it float. Ever since then a variety of “zero-G indicators” have hitched a ride to space from baseballs to Buzz Lightyear.
Also known as “mascots,” the most famous is probably Snoopy who has a long relationship with NASA dating back to the Apollo missions. Artist Charles Schulz created comics with Snoopy on the moon to help inspire excitement about America’s new space program. The Apollo 10 command module was named Charlie Brown and the lunar module was named Snoopy. But