Neutralino in Space

In March 2009, at the request of CERN, I created a plush neutralino, a particle of supersymmetry, to fly with astronaut Christer Fuglesang in the next Discovery launch (STS-128), scheduled for mid-August 2009. Because he worked at CERN as a graduate student in the 1980s, Fuglesang offered to bring an object aboard to represent their research. NASA astronauts are allowed to bring certain designated objects with them in their Personal Space Kits. After some deliberation, physicists at CERN decided a neutralino would be most appropriate, as it's a particle that relates ideas of astrophysics to particle physics. Because of the size constraints for carry-on luggage in space, I constructed a flat plushie with a velcro closure that could be stuffed later. I also made a fully sewn-up, stuffed version for Fuglesang's personal archives. Bearing ESA and CERN logo patches, the plush neutralino shall be thrust where no Particle Zoo plush has ever gone, to spread goodwill and cuteness across the sky as it orbits the Earth, cutest planet in the solar system.

Read more about the Particle Zoo's Neutralino and his wild journey into space at Quantum Diaries.