30 Out of This World Facts About Astronauts That’ll Fill You With Awe

1Eugene Cernan

Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon knew that something written on lunar dust will be “undisturbed for more years than anyone could imagine.” He wanted to write something special so he wrote “TDC,” which is his daughter Tracy’s initials.


2Astronauts

Astronauts have to sleep near a ventilator fan or they risk suffocating in a bubble of their own exhaled carbon dioxide.


3Space pants

Astronauts from the Gemini and Apollo missions used a condom-like device to extract urine. The sizes were small, medium, and large. Instead of these terms, Astronauts preferred to use "extra-large, immense, and unbelievable."


4Ed Mitchell

Astronaut Ed Mitchell said of his experience on the moon in 1971: "From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a b*tch.'"


5John Grunsfeld

On Space Shuttle Endeavor, astronaut John Grunsfeld called into NPR's Car Talk and asked why his government vehicle was shaking violently for a couple of minutes before the engine died.


6Astronauts

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.


7Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

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.


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8Cosmic Rays

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.


9Alan L. Bean

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.


10Astronaut strike

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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