After departing on October 12 to the International Space Station, with a round-trip ticket that cost him $30 million, famed videogame creator Richard Garriott returned safely back to Earth on Friday (via the Associated Press). It was a trip Garriott had been planning and preparing for since September, 2007.
“What a great ride that was,” Garriott said, after emerging from the capsule he and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergei Volkov returned in. Later, in televised comments, Garriott added, “I’m looking forward to some fresh food and to calling my loved ones. I’ve got my father here, but I’ve got other family back home I want to get ahold of.”
Interestingly, Garriott’s trip into space makes him America’s first second-generation space-traveler — his father, Owen Garriott, was an astronaut himself. Richard “Lord British” Garriott, of course, is the creator of the Ultima RPG series.
The AP story notes that while on the space station, Garriott “conducted experiments,” although what they entailed weren’t detailed. But there’s one thing we do know he did: ensure humanity’s immortality. As part of what Garriott called “Operation Immortality,” he delivered and stored digital human DNA data on the International Space Station, including data from none other than Stephen Colbert. The idea, we suppose, is that if humanity ever goes extinct, the data could be used by far more advanced alien civilizations to recreate our species.
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