News | May 18, 2021

Flying dinosaur bones to space!

As part of its Dream Big Alabama initiative, Club for the Future recently teamed up with Huntsville Science Festival to fly dinosaur bones to space onboard the most recent mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. Club for the Future chatted with the Festival’s Founder, Joe Iacuzzo, who previously served as editor and content developer for Universal Pictures’ Jurassic Park Institute, to discuss the collaboration and all things dromaeosaurid bones.

Which dinosaur did the bones come from?
The dinosaur bones are from a dromaeosaurid in the raptor family, likely a Dromaeosaurus. The bird-like, feathered carnivorous dinosaurs were about seven feet long, stood just over two feet high at the hips, and had ‘killer claws’ on each foot that sliced into its prey when deployed.

A Dromaeosaurus, a dromaeosaurid in the raptor family. Image Credit: Julius Csotonyi

How many bones flew on New Shepard NS-15?
Nearly 200!

How old were the bones?
Likely 65 to 70 million years old. The layer of rock from which the bones were extracted was formed in a delta with a warm, moist climate.

Where did the bones come from?
The fragments were collected from private land in the Hell Creek formation of South Dakota.

Why was it exciting to send these dino bones up to space?
It seems very appropriate that a member of the raptor family of bird-like feathered dinosaurs would fly onboard New Shepard, a rocket that prominently features the Blue Origin feather. Unfortunately for dinosaurs, it was an asteroid falling from space that helped cause their extinction. Sending this dinosaur up to space seems like a fitting poke-in-the-eye to that asteroid!

What will happen to the dinosaur bones now that they’ve returned to Earth?
The bones will be used as tokens of appreciation for partners and supporters of the Huntsville Science Festival, which was founded by Innovation for Education Foundation, a Huntsville based non-profit, and Dream Big Alabama, a state-wide initiative to give every student direct access to space thanks to Club for the Future and Blue Origin’s rockets.

The Club encourages others to join us as we strive to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and make progress toward our mission of inventing the future of life in space. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please reach out!

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