21 Amazing Nasa and Astronaut Facts That Are Unreal

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12 Astronauts Grow 2 Inches Taller In Space

apollo11

So this phenomenon sounds a little weird at first, but it quickly makes sense once you dig into it a bit. Did you know that astronauts grow taller in space? It’s probably not something that you would normally put a lot of thought into, but it’s true. But how much taller do astronauts grow in space?

OK, so the growth isn’t an instant think like espresso coffee. It’s a gradual growth over a period of weeks. If an astronaut spends only a week in space the growth is only going to be a few millimeters, which would hardly be noticeable. However, extended stays in the almost completely weightless environment of space drastically increases this growth. When astronauts have been in orbit for twelve weeks or more they can grow up to an additional two inches, or five centimeters. But why does this happen?

To be honest, no one knows for certain why astronauts grow taller in space. The most likely theory is that they believe it is because there is no gravity in space. No gravity causes astronauts to lose bone mass when they have been up there for extended periods of time. The lack of gravity, or very low gravity, also stops the spine from compressing. When the spine is uncompressed as it is on Earth from the gravity, it can be lengthened by up to two inches.

It’s for this reason that the space suits are made bigger for the astronauts, so they can grow in them. 

If you are wondering how this can even be possible, here’s a little experiment for you to try in your veery own home. You’ll only need three things. A pencil, tape measure and a bed. Before going to bed measure your height. After a good nights sleep, measure your height again the very first thing in the morning. You should notice a slight increase in height. This is because your body has been laying horizontal, and the spine isn’t being compressed by the gravity of Earth.

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astronauts grow in space

13 Neil Armstrong’s Late Application To Join NASA Nearly Cost Him A Trip To The Moon

neil armstrong late application

Neil Armstrong was a week late with his application to join the NASA space program as an astronaut. Just imagine for a minute what this could have meant for world history as we know it. The first person the place a foot on another terrestrial object could have been someone else. The famous first words that will echo throughout time from that amazing day in 1969, could have been different. This was a late application that could have altered history. But if it was late, why was it accepted into NASA?

As much as most of us would like to avoid it, we are all susceptible to it, running late. We can be late to a number of things, such as doctors appointments, weddings and even job interviews. But running late for appointments isn’t the only thing that we can be late with. We can be late in sending in important documents, as I was when I lodged a tax return late one year (palm on forehead). But rarely can a late form have the possibility of altering the history of the world. This is what could have happened with Neil Armstrong’s late application to join NASA.

Neil Armstrong nearly missed out on being the first person to walk on the moon. His application to be an astronaut was sent in a week late. Had it not been for a friend of his, Dick Day, he would have missed out, and someone else could have taken his place in the history books. The application had to be in by the June 1, 1962 deadline, and Dick saw it had arrived a week later, so popped it in with the rest of them. Luckily for Armstrong, and Day, no one noticed. But why did Day do this? Surely it was a fraudulent act that could have jeopardized his career, and also that of Armstrong’s.

It was simple really. Armstrong was an extremely talented pilot, earning his pilot licence before he could even drive a car. Day had worked with Armstrong at Andrews Air Force Base and knew how talented and brilliant he was, and that he would be an asset to the NASA space program. This proved to be true.

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14 What Is Armalcolite Named After Apollo 11 Crew

armalcolite named after

What is Armalcolite named after? Chances are that most people wouldn’t even know what Armalcolite is. But don’t worry, once you discover a little about this rock and its history you will be amazed and inspired.

Armalcolite is a titanium rich mineral that isn’t native to this world. It was first discovered in 1969 in the Sea of Tranquility. Now I suppose that most people are wondering where the Sea of Tranquility is. You won’t find it in any atlas’s, and searching Google maps won’t help either. In fact, there’s a reason why it was first discovered in 1969 and it has the name it does. Armalcolite it’s quite literally out of this world.

Armalcolite was discovered by the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during their time on the surface of the moon. They numerous samples of rocks from their time on the moon, and this particular rock had a very special name to commemorate the historic event.

So, what is Armalcolite named after?

We now know that Armalcolite is a mineral that was discovered on the moon by the Apollo 11 crew. The scientists at NASA decided it fitting to include the astronauts who made that special journey in 1969 in its name. Armalcolite is named after Neil Armstrone, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. They broke it down like this. ARMstrong, ALdrin, COLlins, ARMALCOL-ite. But it was nearly a very different name altogether because Neil Armstrong nearly missed his flight to the moon.

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armalcolite named after

15 Apollo 12 Had Playboy Pictures On The Checklist For The Lunar Lander

apollo 12 playboy pictures

The Apollo 12 check list for the lunar lander had small pictures of Playboy models on it. What was the purpose of having these small pornographic images on the checklist? Were they included to provide the astronauts with sexual relief, or were they there for some other reason?

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If you are like a lot of people you won’t find soft porn too offensive, especially when compared to the kind of material available online today. But nonetheless, the naked form of a woman is appealing, enticing and it can also be distracting for most men. That’s the most confusing thing thus far. If naked women are so distracting, and astronauts would definitely be aware of this, why place pictures of them on possibly the most important document on board the lunar lander? Well, would a prank sound like a good reason?

Following the successful mission to the moon by the crew of Apollo 11, NASA quickly made plans for a second landing. As with all missions, they had goals, and a backup support crew to fill in if the first group of astronauts were unable to make the trip. Obviously there was going to be a little bit of competition between the two crews, and the mission goal was the catalyst for the Apollo 12 checklist having Playboy pictures on it.

On board the Apollo 12 lunar lander were Charles Conrad and Allan L. Bean, while Richard F. Gordon remained behind in the orbiting shuttle. Among the many tasks set by NASA for Conrad and Bean to complete while on the mission was to improve the accuracy of the landing. Clearly a worthwhile goal, and something worth toying with.

The crew that went to the moon, Conrad, Bean and Gordon were from the navy. The backup crew were all from the air force. There was a little bit of rivalry between the two teams which was enhanced by them coming from different branches of the military. But the rivalry really only resulted in playful pranks, with each group taking turns in pranking the other. The ultimate prank however, came during the pinnacle moment of the mission.

This prank was set up by the backup crew who altered the mission crews lunar checklist slightly. What they did was place nude pictures of Playboy models onto the Apollo 12 checklist. Each list was attached to the wrist of the suit, and each page of the checklist had its own small Playboy cover page.

I could only imagine the reaction of the Apollo 12 astronauts when they discovered the checklist had nude Playboy pictures on it. But at least it shows that even astronauts working on important missions can have a sense of humor.

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16 Neil Armstrong And The Crew Of Apollo XI Have Moons On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame Instead Of Stars

hollywood walk of fame moon

Everyone knows what the Hollywood Walk of Fame is. But if you have been living under a rock for the past few decades, will will fill you in. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a permanent monument to the achievement of entertainers, be they actors, musicians, producers, directors, or even fictional characters, plus a lot more. Which makes the fact that astronauts have a monument on the Hollywood walk of fame that’s a moon, not a star.

When Neil Armstrong departed the lunar module and became the first person to place his feet on alien territory it was the biggest television event in the world. If people didn’t have television sets they were invited to friends houses, town halls, or even in front of retail outlets to witness the amazing feat. Everyone who was alive at the time knows where they were and what they were doing when Armstrong uttered his famous line that will echo the ages. So it’s completely fitting that the crew of Apollo XI are commemorated with a monument on the walk of fame. But their monument has a twist to everyone else’s.

When the Walk of Fame committee decided to honor the Apollo XI crew for their accomplishment, both in space and television events, they decided to make an alteration to the monument. While all other stars on the Walk of Fame are stars, the three crew members have a moon instead of a star. It can be found on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. I think I have to agree, that’s totally fitting from the brave men.

In granting them a mark on the Walk of Fame, the committee members had to bend the rules. They marked the moon landing as a special television event, which it certainly was. And now, thanks to a moon on the Hollywood walk of fame, they will remain unique in yet another way.

As far a I’m concerned, this was a fitting tribute by Hollywood towards the brave men of Apollo 11.

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17 The Apollo Astronauts Had No Life Insurance, What Did They Do?

apollo astronauts life insuranceWould you believe that the Apollo astronauts had no life insurance? But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Simply put, their job was so dangerous that no insurance agency would cover them for a reasonable sum. After all, they were about to be placed inside a massive rocket and shot into outer space, which isn’t exactly as safe as delivering the mail. So what did they do? Lets just say that they were smart enough to become astronauts so they were smart enough to develop an alternative solution to this problem. As the Apollo astronauts were unable to obtain life insurance they hit upon a novel idea.

During the peak of the space race, astronauts, especially those attached to the Apollo program, were hugely famous. Their face was recognised all around the world. The astronauts of the day were mega stars. But as public servants or military personnel, the income was not exactly that of a movie star or recording artist. They did make some additional money from their fame, but nothing like the other super stars of the era. If they died, what would their family do? Most celebrities had some form of life insurance policy, but not Apollo 11 astronauts.

To get around the dilemma of having no affordable life insurance, the Apollo astronauts used their fame to assure their families would be financially secure if something were to happen to them. The solution? Their autographs.

The Apollo astronauts alternative life insurance policy

From the day they became astronauts, their signatures were in high demand. Everyone wanted one, and people were willing to pay. The autographs that were in especially high demand were the so called covers, signed envelopes that were post marked with important dates. Now imagine one thing more valuable than that kind of combination. The signature of an astronaut who died during a mission on an envelope that was post marked with an important date.

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The astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission completed this task especially well. A month before the launch of the first manned mission to the surface of the moon the crew were placed into quarantine. During brief breaks in training they signed hundreds of these “covers”. They then handed them to a friend who would take the covers to a post office on important days, such as launch day or moon landing day, and send them to the families of the astronauts.

This was life insurance on a grand scale. Had they been needed the money raised from the signed envelopes would have been enough to not only meet day to day living expenses, but also cover all of life’s other expenses.

Although the Apollo 11 astronauts never had to use this alternative form of life insurance, an Apollo 11 cover can fetch up to as much as $30,000 at auction today.

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Speaking of Apollo astronauts..

18 Why Was Apollo Named Apollo

Why Was Apollo Named Apollo

Why was Apollo named Apollo? Why was Tom named Tom, except in Portugal where it’s illegal, and why was George named George? Obviously things need a name, even space missions and programs do.A name help us identify and distinguish not only people, but also objects, pets and just about anything else that you can think of. But specifically, why was Apollo named Apollo, and we are of course talking about the famous NASA missions?

When most people pick a name they don’t take just any name, in most cases a fair bit of though goes into the process. More often than not it will either have sentimental value or a significant meaning. Thios applies not only to people, but just about everything we decide to name. Precisely that same thing happens with space missions. So why was Apollo named Apollo?

In short Apollo was named after the Greek god Apollo. Apollo was the Greek god of light, music and the sun. At the height of the ancient Greek civilization the god Apollo was seen as a god that accompanied travelers on their journeys. So in reality the decision to use this name was absolutely fitting.

What you may be surprised to learn is that the name Apollo wasn’t picked by a committee or some politician on Capital Hill. The decision for the name came from one man only, NASA manager Abe Silverstein. It’s not only us that thought that the name was appropriate. Silverstein revealed the way he chose the name. He said he picked the name the same way he picks a name for his children. He also thought that the scale of the project made the image of Apollo flying across the surface of the sun fitting.

Apollo riding his chariot across the Sun was appropriate to the grand scale of the proposed program.

~NASA manager Abe Silverstein

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19 How to Become an Astronaut

How To Become An Astronaut

Would you like to know how to become an astronaut? OK, I know. It’s a profession that’s not exactly on everyones career path. But what if it was, and you could actually have a chance of becoming an astronaut?

Let’s face the facts for a moment. For most of us growing up space was a magical and mysterious place. We looked up to astronauts with inspirational awe. At one time there would have hardly been a boy or girl that wouldn’t have relished the chance to board a rocket and blast off into the stars. But dreams and realities are completely different things. What we dream of and what we can actually achieve are more often utterly different things. But just because we dream high doesn’t mean that we can’t reach our goal. In this case all we need to know is how to become an astronaut.

So, would you like to be an astronaut? If so there are quite a few things that need to be completed, be it in training or before being accepted into the program. For instance, one of the requirements is to complete a minimum of one thousand (1000) hours of flight time in a jet aircraft as the command pilot. Now that’s a lot of time, but in long haul flights that can be completed within a few months. 

But flying isn’t the only requirement to become a space traveler.

Apart from the obvious ability to pilot an aircraft, there are many more important factors needed before you will even be considered for a prestigious position at NASA. One of those requirements are academic. Most applicants to become an astronaut have earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering, physical science, mathematics or biological science. These are the minimum academic requirements. Many people at NASA hold masters degrees and even PhD’s. It helps if you also have related professional experience in the industry. One exception is teachers, even elementary school teachers!

But we’re not done yet. Don’t be thinking getting a job with NASA is easy, it’s hard, and for good reasons. The next part on how to become an astronaut talks about physical requirements.

You will be considered for the position of an astronaut at NASA if you meet the following requirements:

  • you have 20/20 vision, corrected or not.
  • Your blood pressure doesn’t exceed more than 140/90 in a sitting position.
  • You must stand between 62 inches (157 cm) and 75 inches (190 cm).

If you can meet all of the above requirements, both physical and academic, you might be selected for a position. If you are picked for a role at NASA you won’t be blasting off anytime soon.

Once entering the program you will be required to undertake two years of basic training. Once you have completed this training you will still have to wait. It’s normal for new astronauts to be placed as backup astronauts for several years, undertaking regular and constant training. Once you are finally selected for a space mission you will start a two year course to prepare yourself for the mission.

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So that’s how you become an astronaut. It’s not easy, and if you are in a rush just take a bag full of cash to Russia and you will be in space within months.

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20 Russian Cosmonauts Had to Take Guns with Them into Space Until 2007

cosmonauts had guns

You didn’t make a mistake reading that, in an era where airline passengers aren’t permitted to carry onto a flight knitting needles, Russian cosmonauts had to take guns into space. Combat ready cosmonauts, that’s a different spin on the space race isn’t it? It may seem utterly ridiculous and somewhat dangerous, but Russian cosmonauts taking guns into space was actually practical, at one point in time.

Some of you are probably thinking that they might have planned for an extraterrestrial space battle, or maybe even a hostile annexation of the moon, but this was not the case. Russia never landed on the moon, and the chances of their cosmonauts encountering US astronauts during a moon invasion would have been exceedingly slim. If they did encounter aliens, what chance would they really have against an intergalactic species, no matter how sophisticated their guns may have been (we’ll get to that later).

Why was it that Russian cosmonauts had guns in space?

The reason Russian cosmonauts had guns in space was because it was a remnant of the Cold War, not an expected space battle. In the early days of space travel the landings were not as refined as they are today. There was always a chance that they could land in hostile territory. That’s the reason for arming them.

Why did they still take the firearms with them as late as 2007? In 2007 the Russian government signed an international treaty which banned the transportation of weapons into space.

The guns the Russian cosmonauts had with them were simply amazing. They were a bit like the Swiss army knife of firearms. They comprised of a triple barreled pistol that could fire a rifle bullet, a shotgun shell and also fire a flare. They also came with a shovel and machete that could be attached to it. It was stored between the seats of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and it was only to be used in emergencies. Following a successful mission it was usually given to the commander as a gift.

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21 Nasa Taped Over The Original Moon Landing

nasa tapes over moon landing

What’s the easiest way to say this? Well, I guess there is no easy way to put it, and I really feel sorry for the poor representative from NASA that had to admit it. Admit what, I hear you say? Well, and I’ll say that it wasn’t by accident either, NASA taped over the original moon landing tapes. They seriously did, and the reason, when looking at the bigger picture, was really quite ridiculous.

Today we are very lucky. If you want to record something you can do so in high definition with something as common as your smart phone. As far as storing your recording goes, there are a plethora of options, with some even offering you the opportunity to allow other people to view your recordings, such as YouTube and Vimeo. The videos are clear, sharp, and are practically safe for ever. But not so long ago, and the generation who had the pleasure of having to press rewind on the video player after viewing a video will know about this, you could actually record over your own videos. It was not a digital, high definition image like today, it was on an actual physical tape and was really crappy quality. But it was state of the art in its day. Recording over old viewed tapes was a cost saving measure, and who wants to watch something that you’ve already seen? Well, sometimes it’s best not to mess with something of immense historical value to humanity just because it has been watched several hundred million times. People might just have an interest to watch it again. I mean, the moon landing in 1969 is a little more valuable than Gangnam Style.

Could you imagine the headlines? NASA tapes over moon landing tapes. Oh damn! That’s kind of a big deal. But why did they do it? You wouldn’t believe it if I said that it was to save money would you? It sure was. This tape, along with another 20,000 were magnetically erased and re-used to save money. It seems as though a cheap tape worth only a handful of dollars was too expensive to purchase, so instead they wiped out the original recordings of the moon landing. I can understand the cost saving for 20,000 tapes, but would you erase or use a rare postage stamp worth millions just because it has been seen before and to save costs? I didn’t think so.

I’m sorry, but that’s just cheap. It’s as if they said, “everyone’s already seen it, and there are other recordings around, who would want to watch it again?” I mean, I’m all in favor of reduce, reuse and recycle, but didn’t they think that the first people to walk on the surface of another celestial body would be of some historical value, not to mention be priceless? Not the geeks at NASA. I just can’t believe that with all of the brains at the organization no one thought that the tape would be sacred. So what did they do?

They did a George Lucas. No, they didn’t make three horrible and tacky prequels with equally tacky characters and story lines. NASA digitally remastered the moon landing. They took the other copies, of which there are more than a few, and made the recording prettier to look at. While no one is doubting the quality of the recently released tapes, there is something special about a genuine version that a copy can not recreate. But then again, if it was anything like the video below I can understand why they wiped it.

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nasa taped over moon landing film

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