UCI News

Anteater sent into space aboard Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off into space Wednesday, Aug. 8, carrying its flight crew, teacher Barbara Morgan and UC Irvine's…

August 9, 2007

Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted off into space Wednesday, Aug. 8, carrying its flight crew, teacher Barbara Morgan and UC Irvine’s mascot, Peter the Anteater. The 3-inch stuffed anteater hitched a ride aboard the shuttle in a small box designated for items from colleagues of the astronauts. Tracy Caldwell, one of the astronauts, came to UCI in 1997 as a Dreyfus Environmental Postdoctoral Fellow with Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and John Hemminger, who now head AirUCI, the campus’s atmospheric chemistry research group. Caldwell asked AirUCI if it wanted to contribute something to the Endeavour box, and AirUCI sent her Peter with an AirUCI patch on his belly and a flag in his paw that says, “First EMSI in Space.” EMSI stands for Environmental Molecular Sciences Institute, the National Science Foundation-funded program that supports AirUCI.