25 Truly Amazing Facts About Astronauts

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1Astronauts

Astronauts lose on average 1% of their bone mass a month, most of which is excreted in their urine. So yeah, they literally pee their skeleton out.


2. When Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the lunar lander to step onto the moon, one of them broke off the toggle switch that armed the ascent engines. Aldrin jammed a pen into the resulting hole to arm the engines so that they could get home.


3. Astronauts often see random flashes of light in space, even through their closed eyes. This is caused by cosmic rays passing through their eyes or optical nerves. Scientists think the light is either generated by Cherenkov radiation or by the ray being powerful enough to activate the optical nerve.


4. Apollo 12 astronaut Alan L. Bean accidentally destroyed the mission’s TV camera by pointing it at the sun. He also left several rolls of exposed film on the moon by mistake. The camera though had its revenge when he was hit on the head by it when the crew splashed down on Earth.


5. The astronauts aboard Skylab 4 once went on “strike” for a day because they felt overwhelmed by the demands of Mission Control. They used the time to look out the window and think.


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6Apollo 11 astronauts

When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, they left behind a white pouch containing a silicon disc slightly bigger than a silver dollar. Inscribed in the microscopic font on the disc are 73 messages, each from a different country, expressing wishes of goodwill and peace.


7. Astronaut Wally Schirra would take pictures of his frozen pee as it floated through space, glinting with sunlight. The pee-flakes looked like a beautiful starfield, he said. One astronomer saw a photo and asked what constellation it was, and Schirra said "Jocelyn, that's the constellation Urion."


8. During the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission, to help USA/USSR relations, astronauts and cosmonauts played smuggled audio recordings of glasses clinking, laughter, and many female voices. Houston radioed to ask what’s going on. "Oh nothing,” they said. “We finished work, just having a party up here."


9. Astronaut John Young got really bad flatulence from drinking orange juice during the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. Unknowingly, he broadcast this fact to the world. "I have the farts again. I got them again, Charlie."


10. Astronauts lose as much as 22% of their blood while in space, as a reaction to the uniform blood pressure caused by microgravity. Until their body replaces this blood, many returning astronauts can't stand for more than a few minutes without fainting.


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11Takao Doi

An astronaut named Takao Doi threw a boomerang while in a space station and it returned to him. As long as there is air to provide the necessary forces, a boomerang will return to its thrower, even in the weightlessness of Earth's orbit.


12. In 2009, Russian Cosmonauts on the International Space Station were banned by their officials from using the ‘luxurious’ U.S. model Astro-loo toilet and were only allowed to use the Russian-built toilet.


13. According to official guidelines, if an astronaut is dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronaut in space, the astronaut’s crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary.


14. An astronaut named John Young smuggled a corned-beef sandwich into space. After taking a bite, crumbs and rye started floating around the cabin. It has been referred to as '$30 million sandwich.' NASA has taken steps to prevent corned-beef sandwiches from being taken on future flights.


15. Astronauts often lose their fingernails after conducting spacewalks. Their nails just fall off in their space suits.


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16Honoring Yuri Gagarin

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, they honored cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin by leaving behind one of his medals


17. In 1971, David Scott smuggled a 'Fallen Astronaut' sculpture onto the Apollo 15 lunar mission and placed it on the Moon's surface to "commemorate the astronauts and cosmonauts who have died in the advancement of space exploration."


18. In 1967, a Soviet Cosmonaut named Vladimir Komarov, knew he was doomed before he reentered, and spent his final minutes crying in rage.


19. Astronauts discard their clothes after each use. Since it costs about $10,000 to get one pound of cargo to the ISS it is more cost-effective for them to discard their clothes when they get dirty instead of wasting water by washing them.


20. The Apollo astronauts left behind 96 bags of urine, feces, and vomit on the moon. The bags were left behind to make room for lunar dust and rocks the astronauts brought home to Earth.


21John Swigert

The first "emergency" aboard Apollo 13 was when astronaut John Swigert radioed Huston because he had forgotten to file his income taxes. Flight Director Glynn Lunney assured that Americans out of the country got a 60-day extension on filing.


22. Astronaut David Scott dropped a hammer and a feather on the moon, repeating Galileo's gravity experiment.


23. Astronaut Sunita Williams was the first person to run a marathon in space, finishing in 4 hours and 24 minutes on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station.


24. Astronauts can't cry in space because of the weightless environment. The tears just collect in little balls and sting your eyes.


25. An astronaut named Jerome Apt once punctured his spacesuit while on a spacewalk and didn't even notice. When a metal bar punctured the glove, the skin of the astronaut’s hand partially sealed the opening. He bled into space, and at the same time his coagulating blood sealed the opening enough that the bar was retained inside the hole.

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