Space is often called the final frontier—thank you, Gene Roddenberry—the place where the next step in the evolution of humanity and society will take place, eventually. But getting there is hard. Really, really hard. More or less impossible unless you’re an astronaut or eccentric billionaire. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get close to it. In museums and remote corners of the world are the remains of objects that have been there. Some of these extraterrestrial artifacts originated in the cosmos, while others are from Earth and completed a round trip.
In a remote Namibian Valley, down a dusty road, you will find the Hoba Meteorite—the largest in the world. The 60-ton iron-nickel behemoth collided with the planet more than 80 million years ag0. Discovered in 1920 by a farmer plowing his land, the massive space rock was to be relocated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. However, they couldn’t budge it, and it has since been declared a National Monument. Inside the space gallery of the Connecticut Science Center, a much much smaller rock holds a similarly great weight. This sliver was formed more than three billion years ago, and comes from the “Great Scott,” a massive lunar sample that arrived on Earth via Apollo 15 in 1971. From the crash site of the landmark Soviet satellite Sputnik (in Wisconsin) to a wheel of cheese that is truly out of this world, here are a dozen places to think about the great beyond.