Arthur C. Clarke’s hair will travel three million kilometers towards the sun on Nasa’s first–ever solar sail voyage at the end of next year—half a century after the legendary futurist described solar sailing in his story “Sunjammer,” from which the soon-to-launch craft has also gotten its name. When preparations for the mission began in 2000, an organizer approached Clarke about donating a hair sample containing his DNA. He got “a few strands” and a note of apology from the author, who at 83 claimed he didn’t “have any [more] to spare.” Clarke contributed more than 100 books to the sci-fi genre, from his famous 2001: A Space Odyssey to The Light of Other Days, in collaboration with Stephen Baxter.
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This article originally appeared on Zola Books.