What Did Richard Garriott Do In Space?

Well, he didn't go there to hang out, eat freeze dried ice cream and float his rat tail. Garriott, son of astronaut Owen Garriott and designer of the Ultima franchise, went to space to work.

"I took saliva, urine and blood samples, kept logs of my sleep and used special instruments to measure my inner eye pressure," Garriott said. "The data I collected was combined with similar samples from other astronauts to study how space suppresses the immune system, makes sleeping difficult, affects balance, weakens bones and causes muscle and back pain."

That's not all, he also snapped 2,600 digital pictures of Earth, which are being compared to photos his father took 35 years ago from the Skylab space station to see how our spinning blue planet has changed. There's more! His research on the effects of microgravity on human bodies can be used in studying osteoporosis. He also grew crystalline proteins, which can be studied back on Earth to better understand the protein building blocks.

In October 2008, Garriott flew to the International Space Station as the sixth space tourist and the first offspring of an astronaut to go to space. It's reported that Garriott paid US$30 million for the trip.

Experiments in Space: Richard and Owen Garriott on How Private Space Flights Can Advance Important Science [Popular Mechanics]