NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has been an icon in world culture and a leader in scientific and technological developments for years. However, there are some facts about the world’s most popular space exploration research facility and establishment that you might not be aware of. Check out MusicSnake Magazine’s list of thirty surprising facts about NASA below.
NASA & Armageddon
NASA has new trainees watch the movie Armageddon to look for scientific inaccuracies. According to NASA, there are at least 168.
Moon Flag Mystery
Though most children will be able to tell you that Betsy Ross sewed the American flag, it is still unknown who designed and made the Apollo 11 Moon flag. There are two hypotheses currently in circulation: that the flag is one of three that NASA secretaries purchased on a lunch break, or it was ordered from a government catalog for the whopping price of $5.50.
The Power of Quinoa
NASA is considering quinoa for a potential crop in its Controlled Ecological Life Support system due to its dense nutritional value. The crop will be used for long-term expeditions.
NASA to Voyager I
At a bandwidth of 115.2 kilobits per second, it still takes a message from NASA to Voyager I (and vice versa). Thirty two hours to travel from one end to the other.
Famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick was filming Barry Lyndon when he decided to use special lenses commissioned by NASA. The special lenses were designed for the Apollo moon landings, but Kubrick used them to capture scenes lit only by candlelight.
NASA Mars Lawsuit
NASA was sued by three men from Yemen for trespassing on Mars. The men claimed that Mars belonged to them since they inherited it from 3,000-year-old ancestors.
South Atlantic Anomaly
The South Atlantic Anomaly describes an area over Brazil where the magnetic field around the earth has become extremely weak. It is so big that NASA has gone to the trouble of powering down satellites that pass over the anomaly.
As a whole, NASA has invented many things that we use every day, including invisible braces and scratch resistant lenses. While these objects are surely important for space exploration, we don’t always associate things like invisible braces with outer space.
Insurance, Or Not
The astronauts on the Apollo mission did not qualify for life insurance and were unable to be insured by NASA. They did, however, decide to sign “insurance autographs” just before they launched into space in the hopes that, if they died, the value of their insurance would become astronomical – literally.
Though the moon landing is one of the most iconic moments in history, NASA actually taped over the original footage. However, it is unclear what exactly was taped over the footage, although we imagine it is important.
Office of Planetary Protection
Yes, the Office of Planetary Protection is a real thing that really exists. It was created in the event that we find new life on other planets.
John Aaron was a NASA flight controller who saved Apollo 12 and Apollo 13. He was able to save the Apollo 13 crew members by developing a unique power-up sequence for the aircraft.
In 1991, an artificial body was found near earth that was so strange that Spacewatch listed it as a possible alien probe. It won’t be close to earth again until 2016, but it still holds a place on NASA’s Astrophysics data system.
Vehicle Assembly Building
NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building is so monstrously large that 10,000 tons of air conditioning units are required to prevent the building from developing rain clouds on humid days. We didn’t ask what was required to heat the building, although we imagine it’s a lot.
The story of Thad Roberts is both amusing and sad. This poor, horny intern spent seven years in federal prison just for having sex with his girlfriend on a bed of stolen moon rocks. He may have stolen the moon rocks, but still, we think that’s a little harsh.
Mars Mission Time
NASA estimates that the time to get to Mars can be shortened to a period of days very soon. The agency’s global marketing campaign statement: “This shortened travel time can be attributed to the development of a new engine”.
Gregory W. Nemitz
Gregory W. Nemitz’s claim to fame is Asteroid 433 Eros. When a NASA spacecraft landed on Asteroid 433 Eros in 2001, Nemitz’s company issued NASA a $20 parking ticket because Nemitz claimed to have ownership rights of the asteroid.
NASA researchers discovered in 1998 that insulin is much more effective as a crystal (the researchers could grow crystallized insulin in space). Diabetic patients only had to take the insulin crystal once every three days, whereas regular insulin must be administered one to three times per day.
Get Paid to Sleep
In case you’ve ever fantasized about making money while you sleep, NASA will pay you $15,000 to lay in bed 24 hours a day. However, keep in mind you will have to repeat this for 90 days, which means three months of life missed out on.
Bill Nye was repeatedly rejected by NASA after several applications failed to earn him the role of “astronaut”. Considering Bill Nye’s current career, this was probably for the best. Plus, we bet the antics of our favorite scientific video host might annoy other astronauts up in space.
Popular channel TLC, or The Learning Channel, was founded in 1972 as a collaboration between NASA and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. TLC is now one of the most popular channels that currently exists.
Channeling Star Trek
An aircraft is currently in the works that may have the ability to transport astronauts from earth to Alpha Centauri – the closest star to us after the sun – in just two weeks. This is similar to a Star Trek-style warp drive.
NASA recently discovered a planet that is capable of defying physics. The planet, which is approximately 40 light-years away from earth, could contain materials dubbed “hot ice” and “superfluid water”. Superfluid water has physical properties that allow it to act in a way that opposes what gravity would predict.
Beating the Odds
According to managers at NASA, the odds of a catastrophic failure on the Challenger Spacecraft were one in 100,000 or 0.01 percent. However, according to famed physicist Richard Feynman, the odds were most like one in 200.
Many people believe that NASA’s funding accounts for upwards of 20 percent of the federal budget. In reality, however, NASA one cent or less of every tax dollar since 1975. A poll in 1997 revealed that people continue to believe NASA comprises a significant chunk of the federal budget.
Neil Armstrong the Late
Neil Armstrong was actually one week late in sending in his NASA application. It was his close friend Dick Day who was able to slip his application into the pile for consideration.
Space Pens – NASA
A large rumor was once circulated that NASA wasted precious time and money producing a space pen while Soviet astronauts sufficed with a pencil. However, this has been proven false.
Mira is a star that is dying, but while it dies it flies around our universe dripping matter off of itself. NASA has taken to calling it “The Johnny Appleseed of the Universe” because of the way it is currently shedding matter like little apple seeds.
The creator of the super soaker actually worked for NASA. He also helped develop the stealth bomber for the Galileo mission to Jupiter.
In true fashion of keeping up with the times, you can request that NASA text you every time the International Space Station is passing overhead. This is perhaps the peak of convenience.