1. Nuclear power

According to NASA, the use of nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009 as a result of lower air pollution from reduced coal usage. – Source

2. Neil Armstrong’s NASA application was a week late. If it weren’t for his friend, Dick Day, secretly slipping it into the pile, he would have been rejected. – Source

3. The second American in space (Gus Grissom) had hayfever and was almost disqualified from astronaut training until NASA realized the absence of pollen in space. – Source

4. NASA Astronaut Owen Garriott successfully pranked flight controllers by playing a recording of his wife whilst on SkyLab. There were no women on board the space station and he made it look like there was a stowaway. – Source

5. The TLC network (Home of Honey Boo Boo, The Duggars, Little People, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, etc) was originally created by NASA and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to provide “real education through the medium of television”. – Source


6. Lunar outpost

NASA has decided to use Metric Units for all operations on the lunar surface when it returns to the Moon. The Vision for Space Exploration calls for returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and eventually setting up a manned lunar outpost. – Source

7. NASA conducted a nap study on their pilots. They found that naps provided 34% increase in pilot performance and 100% increase in physiological alertness. – Source

8. A 1997 poll found that Americans thought NASA represented approximately 20% of the federal budget. In reality, NASA represented 0.9% of the federal budget. The record high level of NASA funding was 4.4%. – Source

9. Not only did a private US company pay for the research for the inexpensive “space pen” NASA uses, but the pen worked so well that the Soviets bought it, too. – Source

10. NASA hires a man named George Aldrich to sniff everything that they send to space. If he doesn’t like the smell, it doesn’t go to space. – Source


11. Mariner I rocket

In 1962, a programmer omitted a single hyphen in the code for the Mariner I rocket, causing it to explode shortly after take off. This typo cost NASA the equivalent of $630 million today. – Source

12. In 1969, NASA possessed the technology to land on the moon but not the technology to fake the moon landings. – Source

13. Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad’s first word upon setting foot on the Moon was “Whoopee!” in order to win a $500 bet with an Italian journalist that NASA didn’t script astronaut declarations. – Source

14. The Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium cost more than a NASA mission to Pluto. – Source

15. NASA no longer has the original recording of the moon landing because it has been recorded over and reused. NASA admitted it back in 2006. – Source


16. Big Bird

NASA wanted to send Big Bird into space on the Challenger in 1986 to get children interested in space. The Big Bird suit was too big, however, so they sent teacher Christa McAuliffe instead. The Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff. – Source

17. Go fever is a term used by NASA to describe a few of their major disasters (Apollo 1/Challenger/Columbia). It describes a culture that develops when costs have mounted, and dissent is suppressed or ignored (due to group members not wanting to be seen as committed to the team’s progress). – Source

18. NASA had an accident while testing spacesuits for the Apollo moon missions, and caught it on camera. The test subject (Jim Leblanc) was accidentally depressurized while in a vacuum chamber, and lost consciousness and experienced his own spit boiling. The team took nearly a minute to save him from the chamber. – Source

19. NASA have their own special agents who are armed, have arrest authority and can execute search warrants. – Source

20. In 2009, Stephen Colbert won a NASA competition to have a module of the ISS named after him, but NASA opted to name it ‘Tranquility’ instead. They did, however, name a treadmill on the ISS after him. It is called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.). – Source


21. Subvocal speech

When you speak inside your mind small muscles in your throat mimic the formation of each word, and NASA is working on a machine (Subvocal speech) that would detect these muscle movements and transcribe them to words. – Source

22. In 2006, “to understand and protect the home planet” was quietly removed from NASA’s mission statement. – Source

23. In 1973, NASA sent two spiders known as Arabella and Anita into space to see if they could spin a web without gravity. It took the spiders a couple days to figure it out, but they eventually ended up making webs that were finer and more complex than their earth counterparts. – Source

24. The three-member crew of NASA’s Skylab 4 mission staged a one-day mutiny where they shut off all communication with the ground control and spent the day relaxing and looking at the Earth. – Source

25. Stefania Follini is an Italian interior designer recruited by NASA in 1989 for an experiment in Circadian Rhythms, where she spent 4 months in underground isolation proving our bodies naturally fall into 28-hour day, and later on a 48-hour one. – Source

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