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50 Cool Facts about NASA That’ll Blow You Away

26Buzz Aldrin

NASA asked Buzz Aldrin to refrain from quoting the Bible on the moon. - Source

27. In 2008 Speedo, in collaboration with NASA, released a swimsuit so drag-resistant that it was banned from use in swimming competitions for giving swimmers using it too much of an advantage.

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28. 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

29. 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

30. Before her 7-day trip to space, NASA engineers asked Sally Ride if 100 tampons was the right number for the mission. - Source

31Owen Garriott

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

32. 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

33. 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

34. 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

35. 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.

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Quinoa is so nutritionally dense and complete that it is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space expeditions. - Source

37. A man called Gregory Nemitz claimed ownership of an asteroid (433 Eros) months before NASA landed a probe in it. He then proceeded to issue NASA a $20 parking ticket for landing there. - Source

38. 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

39. 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

40. 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.

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41Moon landing

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

42. NASA has its own radio station called 'Third Rock Radio' which plays Rock/Indie/Alternative music with NASA news items and mission updates embedded throughout. - Source

43. Bob Ebeling, one of the main engineers behind NASA's Challenger rocket, which exploded in 1986, revealed that after NASA would not heed his warnings against launching in the cold weather, he told his wife the night before the launch, "It's going to blow up." - Source

44. To shoot the candlelight-only scenes in the movie Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick used rare f/0.7 camera lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss for NASA. Zeiss made only ten of the lenses; he sold three to Kubrick and six to NASA, who used them in the Apollo program to photograph the dark side of the moon. - Source

45. The Minnesota Vikings' new stadium cost more than a NASA mission to Pluto. - Source


In 2006, "to understand and protect the home planet" was quietly removed from NASA's mission statement. - Source

47. 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

48. An engineer (Clayton Anderson) at NASA spent 15 years trying to become an astronaut, being rejected 14 times before finally being selected in 1998. - Source

49. 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

50. During the planning for NASA's moon landings of the 1960s, it was suggested that the United Nations flag be used instead of the U.S. flag. - Source

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