9 funny stories about NASA

(ORDO NEWS) — Events from the life of NASA are connected not only with space achievements. Here are nine curious stories about NASA, which are sometimes embarrassing to talk about. But reading is funny! Just one incident with flying… um… waste is worth something.

1 – Crocodile conflict

Since 1968, NASA’s main space center, the Kennedy Space Center, has been based on Merritt Island in Florida. However, only 9% of the spaceport area is used for its intended purpose, and the rest of the territory is occupied by a wildlife sanctuary.

This means that residents of the National Park sometimes become guests of the space center. All such “tourists” do not cause problems for NASA employees, except for one – the American alligator. Local water bodies are an excellent source of food for the reptile, and from time to time they like to soak up the sun near parking lots, airstrips or pedestrian areas.

In addition to the fact that the alligator poses a danger to visitors to the spaceport, the crocodiles themselves may also suffer: it is difficult to say whether NASA technologies are harming the environment and its wild inhabitants. And on the video, by the way, an alligator.

2 – Songs performed by the Earth

In 2012, NASA released an audio recording called “Earthsong” (“song of the Earth”), which was “sung” by the planet itself. The recording was made by NASA’s two Radiation Belt Spacecraft (RBSPs, also known as Van Allen Probes).

Earth sounds are the result of an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by plasma waves in the planet’s radiation belt. Scientists poetically called this phenomenon “chorus”. According to Craig Kletzing of the University of Iowa, who helped build the EMFISIS receiver for collecting signals, this is how we would hear the radiation belt if we had built-in radio antennas in our ears.

3 – The perfect swimsuit from NASA

Remember the swimsuit controversy at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics? Swimmers dressed in LZR Racer swimsuits showed unprecedented results: athletes broke many world records and won 33 Olympic medals.

After the Olympics and the following European Short Course Championships, the International Swimming Federation changed the swimsuit requirements, effectively banning the LZR Racer. Speedo’s LZR Racer suits were developed in partnership with NASA to reduce drag as much as possible, drawing on NASA’s knowledge of aerodynamics.

More than 60 fabric samples were tested in wind tunnels, and as a result, the LZR Racer swimsuit was created, which, instead of the traditional seam, was “sewn” by ultrasonic welding. In general, just space, not a swimsuit.

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4 – NASA Astronaut Survival Course

An obligatory item in preparation for a flight into space. Yes, surviving in outer space is not so bad, it is also necessary not to die on Earth if something went wrong during landing and the astronaut turned out to be much further from the planned landing site.

Astronauts have been trained in wilderness survival skills since the 1960s at air bases in Nevada and Panama. True, so far in the history of NASA, the most severe landing deviation occurred with the pilot of the Aurora-7 spacecraft Malcolm Carpenter: the capsule was 400 km away from the point where it was expected.

The astronaut was discovered in less than an hour and almost immediately picked up by a ship. In this, he was much more fortunate than the Soviet cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyaev – their Voskhod-2, due to a number of malfunctions, “missed” by about 165 kilometers.

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5 – The weather in the house at NASA is created independently

NASA designs and builds some of the largest spacecraft in the world. For this, respectively, they require huge and tall buildings. For example, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), where spacecraft are assembled, is one of the tallest in the world.

The internal volume of VAB is 3.7 million cubic meters. Due to the size of the VAB and the humid climate of Florida, NASA has encountered an unexpected problem – sometimes clouds begin to form in the building itself.

When assembling spacecraft worth billions of dollars, every detail counts, and such climatic quirks could be a serious handicap for NASA. To overcome this phenomenon, it was necessary to create a special air conditioning system weighing 10,000 tons.

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6 – The unpaid fine for dumping garbage

Has been waiting in the wings for 30 years. Skylab, the US national orbital station, deorbited and collapsed in 1979.

The points of impact of the unburned parts of the station shifted from the intended course and fell off the coast of Western Australia. The Australian county of Esperance presented NASA with a bill of $400 for dumping garbage, but the fine was paid only 30 years later, after the story was told on California radio.

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7 – The issue of biowaste

In space has always been a problem for NASA. Today, astronauts use high-tech latrines, but that wasn’t always the case.

The situation with space toilets is perfectly illustrated by the case during the Apollo 10 mission. Spacecraft captain Thomas Stafford discovered excrement floating through the air. This story gained publicity after the transcripts of conversations on board.

Finding out which of the astronauts owned such an unpleasant flying object, almost overshadowed the test flight to the moon itself. By the way, none of the crew members confessed, and the mystery still remains unsolved.

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8 – “Sniffer” is a NASA position

Meet George Aldrich, his official job title is Chemicals Specialist. In essence, George is the main nose at NASA: he has to sniff out everything that NASA is going to send into space.

Closed space and warmth increase odors, and the astronauts will not have the opportunity to open the window and ventilate the room.

Therefore, the task of the “sniffer” is to save crew members from unpleasant odors during the flight. George Aldrich isn’t the only one: NASA has an entire snuff squad. Its employees undergo a special aptitude test every four months – they need to determine the contents of ten cans by smell.

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9 – Riot on the ship. On a spaceship!

The crew of the third expedition to the Skylab station (SL-4, 11/16/1973 – 02/08/1974) spent 84 days in space – this is quite a long time for the team, and remarkable stress tolerance is required for everything to go smoothly.

So, about a month before the end of the mission, the crew staged a kind of rebellion: the astronauts took an unplanned day off, turning off all means of communication with the mission control center and, instead of the usual hard work, admired fantastic landscapes.

Of course, MCC was not enthusiastic about such a scenario, but this flight was an important milestone in the study of the impact of space flight on the human psyche. Since then, NASA, when planning a mission, has been especially careful about the rest of the astronauts.

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