Space, the final frontier. Mankind has explored, colonized, and dominated just about every corner of the earth. But it is not our destiny keep our feet planted merely on the dirt. In our bones we know our destiny is to float amongst the stars. While nations might bicker and squabble the best of the best struggle to make their own headway towards conquering the final frontier. Astronauts, the best and brightest men and women, are the ones who have taken it upon themselves to shoulder this cosmic burden. But just because the future of the human race and our destiny in the stars lays upon them doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. After some extensive research, we have found some of the funniest anecdotes from some of our favorite space missions. So as you go out gazing out at the stars and wondering in awe at the infinite possibility of the cosmos take a second and chuckle at these funny little mishaps on the road towards cosmic enlightenment.
Apollo 10 Profanity
During the Apollo 10 mission to the moon, a lunar module malfunctioned causing the the pod to go out of control. Thankfully, this didn’t lead to any larger damage or compromise the mission. But the Astronauts quickly became sailors for those few minutes that they were spinning out of control. They used every swear word in the book to describe the lunar surface. When they returned safely from their journey a banner awaited them reading, “THE FLIGHT OF APOLLO 10—FOR ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY.”
Apollo 17 Sleeping Beauty
During the Apollo 17 mission astronaut Cernan asked his fellow astronaut Evans's wife how to wake him up, since he was an immensely deep sleeper. She replied, "All I do is give him a kiss." Cernan reported that after eight days of being stuck with Evans "he did start to get pretty good-looking." After their mission on the moon was complete, the last words spoken by Cernan were, "OK, let’s get this mother out of here."
Vostok 2 Tangled Parachute
Titov was one of Russia’s premiere cosmonauts and the pride of Mother Russia. But before he launched on his mission in space, he was told by command not to get his parachute lines tangled after ejecting from his spacecraft. This had happened during his training, and they warned him that if it happened again, "they would be forced to expel him from the cosmonaut corps." Sometimes you just have to wonder if the space chimp’s got a better deal.
Gemini 3 the Unsinkable Molly Brown
Astronaut Grissom was one of the few who insisted on naming his spacecraft. He wanted to christen it the "Molly Brown" since his first capsule was lost at sea, as well as the broadway success of hit musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. This would be the last time NASA would ever allow an astronaut to name a spacecraft for a very, very long time. He also snuck a corned beef sandwich with him into orbit, because he couldn’t stand the dehydrated space food provided by NASA. This was uncovered when bread crumbs were seen in the capsule in a post flight analysis. Congress was not happy, and their uproar nearly grounded his space faring career forever.
STS-69 Crew Goes to the Dogs
Astronaut commander Walker had such success with the dog theme on his previous mission that he decided to take it even further on his next mission. He dubbed the astronauts on his next mission "Dog Crew 2." He made each crew member take on a dog callsign/nickname, picking Red Dog for himself. His crew mates came to know each other by Cujo, Dogface, Pluto, and Underdog. They commemorated the dog theme by wearing dog patches on their space suits. They all ate from dog bowls for their pre-flight breakfast and used dog-related music for their wake-up calls during their mission.
Apollo 8 Drunk in Space
The crew of Apollo 8 spent their Christmas Day in orbit. To thank them for their sacrifice for the betterment of humanity, mission control included three miniature bottles of brandy with their dinners. This led to things getting a bit bawdy in space. One ground controller’s son inquired about who was actually driving the capsule if they were all drinking. Astronaut Anderer said "I think Isaac Newton is doing most of the driving now." From there, they proceeded to read from The Bible in lunar orbit. A Japanese correspondent found a Bible in his hotel room and jokingly reported that NASA was very efficient for putting a mission transcript in his hotel room.
Gemini 7 Piss in Space
The ultimate nightmare that keeps astronauts awake at night is the stuff you see in films like Gravity. But there is a far more banal horror that every astronaut finds infinitely more terrifying than the idea of space trash smashing into their shuttle or space station. In the Gemini 7 mission, a used urine collection bag split open in the beginning of the mission. Despite their best efforts, the crew never managed to collect all of the floating globules of urine. Meaning they were stuck in zero gravity with little urine particles floating in their midst. When the astronauts were later asked to describe their flight experience they recalled it as being like two weeks stuck in the men’s bathroom.
Gemini 8 Children’s Playthings
When the Gemini 8 shuttle touched down, all channels cancelled their regular programs to cover the emergency recovery of the spacecraft from the mid-pacific. But with everything happening on such short notice they had no prepared graphical aids to demonstrate what was actually going on. The news anchors were forced to make due using toy ships in an empty studio playing with them for hours as they tried to explain what was exactly happening. The stations received a deluge of complaints from viewers about Batman and Lost in Space not being aired and having their episodes preempted by the news coverage.
Apollo 15 Drops the Hammer
Before Apollo 15 finished up its mission, Astronaut Scott wanted to perform an experiment to test an old theory of Galileo. Three hundred years ago he’d speculated that if one person dropped a hammer and a falcon feather on the moon they would hit the ground at the same time. He put this theory to the test and found that Galileo was right. Ground control, upon seeing the astronauts covered in soot and dust, quipped to them "My kids don’t get as dirty as you." Scott simply replied "Yeah, but I bet they’re not having as much fun either."
Apollo 12 the Longest Shortest Step for Mankind
When asked about the journey to the moon for Apollo 12, astronaut Gordon was asked what it was like to to be the second commander to set foot on the moon. The relatively short Gordon replied, "That may have been a small step for Neil, but it was a long one for me." After their traversal across the moon the pilot refused to let them into the capsule. They then proceeded to strip naked and float into the capsule wearing nothing but their headsets.