Deep into the cosmos, further than our moon’s orbit, a piece of a northern Ontario girl will soon venture. The DNA of seven-year-old Victoria Lehto will embark on a journey few humans can dream of, securing her unique place in history as the youngest person to send their genetic material this far from Earth.
Victoria’s upcoming adventure into the unknown is the result of a unique partnership. Her father, Ryan Lehto, a respected authority in DNA preservation, has joined forces with Celestis, a company distinguished for its memorial spaceflight services. Ryan, recognized for pioneering numerous Biobanking and DNA preservation techniques, designed ground-breaking technology to ensure the DNA’s survival in space.
The idea for this exceptional jaunt came about when Celestis proposed to dispatch the DNA of one of its collaborators in their forthcoming space launch. Ryan seized the opportunity, suggesting, “let’s shoot Victoria up there.”
Described by Celestis co-founder and Space Services Holdings Inc. CEO, Charles Chafer, as “the ultimate father-daughter project,” this initiative beams positivity and future faith far into the universe.
Victoria herself eagerly lent a hand to this unprecedented venture, explaining how she helped prepare her own sample. “I extracted the DNA – I spit in the cup.” she shared with a bright sense of wonder. It’s clear that following her father’s legacy into the realm of scientific discovery holds substantial appeal for this enterprising youngster. Victoria even started her own YouTube channel more than two years ago, aiming to inspire her generation’s interest in science.
The DNA’s journey into the cosmos will be a lengthy one, expected to orbit either Venus or Mars eventually. Though it is the pure stuff of mischief for Victoria to suggest that extraterrestrial beings might possibly find her DNA, clone her and besiege Earth, there is a palpable sense of curiosity and hope internationally as this special girl’s genetic code prepares for a journey of astronomical proportions.
Originally scheduled to set off in May but postponed due to a hydrogen leak in one of the rocket’s stages, Victoria’s DNA, along with hundreds of others, is now slated to launch this December. Ryan Lehto expresses that despite the initial frustration caused by these delays, it has provided an unexpected opportunity. The DNA preservation scientist is thrilled that he and Victoria will now be able to witness the rocket’s majestic ascend into the cosmos in person – an experience few can even dream of.