Few places have ever picked the interest of humanity as much as space. Perhaps the only equivalent we could come up with would be the bottom of the ocean. Because, just like in space, we have little idea of what lurks down there and what secrets those depths hide. It is hard to think that a single human being on our planet has spent their whole life without ever looking up at the stars and wondering what could possibly be living up there. Could anything live up there? Are we alone? What would life look like if we had the technology that would allow us to live among the stars?
These are all questions that humankind has asked itself ever since the dawn of intelligence, some would say.
Now while most of us are stuck down here on Earth without having much of a chance of doing anything other than just wondering about what happens outside of our atmosphere, there are a few lucky human beings who have had the opportunity to live among the stars even if it was just for a brief period. Still, the adventure most astronauts embark in is one that does not come without its surprises. After all, humans don’t really know what is out there. We can see stuff through telescopes and scientists can tell us whatever they want, but space is in itself a mystery. And like in all mysteries, weird stuff happens in space. So, get ready to be crept out because here are 15 of the strangest things that happened to astronauts in space.
15 Alien Radio
Have you ever wondered what kind of music aliens would listen to? By that, we are admitting that we believe any civilization around the universe would have some sort of music they enjoy listening to in order to pass the time just like we do. However, we find it hard to believe that alien pop stars would sound something like Katy Perry. But there are three guys who might actually be able to shed some light on this discussion.
Of course, we are talking about the trio of American astronauts Gene Cernan, John Young, and Tom Stafford. These three were just doing their job, photographing craters of the Moon as they were assigned to do during their mission in space when something odd happened.
All three of them started hearing something coming from their headsets, but it was not a transmission from NASA. We will just leave the words that Commander Cernan said, extracted straight out of the Apollo 10 transcripts:
“Boy, that sure is weird music.”
14 Kovalyonok’s Experience
There are a bunch of differences between Russian and American astronauts. Although they have similar jobs, the Russians and Americans differ from each other in several ways. The first and easiest one to point out is the name they are called. While the Americans are astronauts, the Russians are cosmonauts. But the difference we would like to talk to you about is how secretive they are about what they did and saw out in space. While you will seldom see an American astronaut talking openly about weird stuff he saw during his time away from Earth, the Russians regularly make headlines for the stuff they say they saw in space. An excellent example of that is the former Soviet cosmonaut, Vladimir Kovalyonok.
His account was very lengthy, but to summarize, the Russian said he saw, through a porthole, an elliptical object that was rotating but only moved straight and suddenly exploded, giving out a golden light. Not too long after, there was a second explosion, and two spheres appeared from it before ultimately disappearing as the cosmonaut’s ship entered the darkness of Earth’s shadow.
13 Dead Space
If you are a fan of scary stories, video games, and science fiction, you probably have come across a little game called Dead Space. That game is nothing more than a horror story that could scare even the bravest of gamers. In the game, you’re stuck alone in a spaceship and monsters come out of nowhere to try to kill you. Yeah, that seems pretty far-fetched and definitely a thing of fiction, right?
Well, so far, that has stayed in fiction, but there was one thing that happened to a Chinese astronaut that might have scared him just as much as the monsters scared the people who played Dead Space. Back in 2003, Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei was alone in his spaceship when he suddenly heard a banging sound. Yes, this dude was alone inside a spaceship, and he heard a banging noise, in space, where there is no air to carry sound. They never found out what the culprit was, but a couple of other Chinese astronauts made the same complaint in future voyages.
12 Fire Without Flame
When we think about fire, the immediate image that comes to our minds is that of a flame burning. However, things don’t happen in space as they do on earth. Back at the beginning of the decade, astronauts performed several tests with fire in microgravity to discover just how different this vital element would behave in an environment away from Earth. The name of the project in which astronauts performed the tests was FLEX, or NASA’s Flame Extinguishment Experiment. The whole reasoning behind the thing was to understand fire better in order to improve the safety of spaceships. Well, it turned out that they saw a lot more weird stuff happening than they had expected.
Apparently, space flames burn at a lower temperature than here on the surface and can survive with less oxygen. And perhaps the weirdest of it all was that even after a flame was extinguished in space, the researchers observed that whatever substance they were burning, it continued to burn even after there was no more flame.
11 Cosmic Rays
The Apollo missions were a series of ventures into space that made not only Americans but all of humanity proud. But as much as we managed to learn from those endeavors, the Apollo program was also a great source of controversy and odd accounts related by astronauts. Apollo 11 was no different as both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reported seeing several flashes of light appear in front of their eyes out of nowhere. And here is where the weird part starts. Even after they closed their eyes, the astronauts continued to see the flashes. How odd is that?
NASA used the following Apollo missions to find a way to explain the experiences relayed by the Apollo 11 crew. The answer they found was that the astronauts were seeing cosmic rays. The origin of these rays is still unknown to scientists, but they are high-energy charged subatomic particles that cannot be seen on earth because our atmosphere filters them out.
10 Cooper’s Green Orb
Some people have trouble being alone for a few hours, and some dogs have problems being alone for minutes. So, imagine if any of these individuals had to take on a mission like Major Gordon Cooper did back in 1963. Cooper was one of the first astronauts to orbit Earth for a long period of time, and he did so on his own inside a tiny spaceship.
Cooper orbited the Earth 22 times, but it wasn’t until his final go around the planet that he saw something that caught his attention. Cooper allegedly told a tracking station near Australia that he was seeing a greenish object flying near him and getting closer and closer to his ship. Not only did he say that, but apparently, the object was caught by the tracking station’s radar.
Nothing is known about what happened to the green orb, but what we can be certain of is that nobody got the full story. The sighting was apparently reported live as the National Broadcast Company was covering the play-by-play of the flight. But as soon as Cooper landed, reporters were told that he would be answering no questions about the incident.
9 A Russian Astronaut Filmed A UFO
Here we get into the age-old discussion of unidentified flying objects and the many, many claims that all UFO sightings have been faked by people who were just trying to punk folks who believe in this sort of stuff. Most of the ways people dismiss UFO claims is by saying that what people saw flying around the sky were actually balloons or any number of other flying objects that would not characterize an alien UFO.
However, back in 1991, one of the weirdest videos ever to come out of space surfaced. Russian astronaut Musa Manarov was taking part in an MIR mission when he saw a strange object floating in space. Watching the video, even the most suspicious of skeptics would find it tough to claim that a balloon could reach that kind of altitude. The second explanation we would come up with from the top of our heads would be space junk. Maybe something got loose from the other spaceship. Nevertheless, Manarov himself dismissed that possibility.
8 Zooming Lights
Spacewalks must be the most exciting and terrifying experiences an astronaut gets to take part in once he is assigned to a mission orbiting Earth. While most spacewalks turn out to be uneventful repairing and checkup missions, every once in a while, something weird happens to the astronaut who ventures into the vacuum of space.
No one, however, has had an experience as terrifying as former ISS commander Leroy Chiao. While on a spacewalk with fellow astronaut, Salizhan Shariapov, Chiao spotted a formation of lights zooming past him. Reconstructions of the event made it seem like the lights moved by him the same way a military aircraft moved in a spearhead formation. Unfortunately, Shariapov was facing the other way and did not see the event.
One explanation that was given for what Chiao saw was that the bright lights were actually fishing boats traveling along the South American coast. Now, just imagine how bright the lights from those vessels would have to be to confuse an experienced astronaut like that.
7 The UFO Hunter
Joseph Walker might have never been inside a space station or stayed in orbit for a long time, but he most definitely has been to space. This guy was an X-15 pilot for NASA, and one of the goals of this most exciting of jobs that he had was to spot UFOs during his flights. Walker is known for reaching the incredible altitude of 50 miles back in 1962. And during that fated flight, he claimed that he managed to catch five or six UFOs on tape. How crazy is that? This is a NASA pilot talking about how he used to fly a plane that reached incredible altitudes to look for UFOs.
Not only that, Walker said that the five or six objects he filmed during that flight were not even the first UFOs he had seen, as that was just the second time he had filmed them in flight. Unfortunately, his word is all we have to go on this since the films were never released.
6 John Glenn
The early ‘60s were a great time in history for space stuff. Why do we say that? We say that because some of the craziest stories we have from astronauts actually occurred during that period of time when the space race was fierce, and there wasn’t really much information about what astronauts would encounter after they launched. In February of 1962, John Glenn joined the ranks of astronauts who saw something that was tough to explain.
Being in space might be a cool experience, but you can’t help but imagine astronauts would be scared of every single uncommon thing they saw. After all, you never know when the aliens are coming to abduct you, right?
Aliens aside, Glenn reported to NASA that he looked out one of his windows and saw glowing lights that looked like fireflies “dancing” outside of the ship. It was only later explained that those were not aliens but actually frozen droplets of condensation that acted in that manner because of how the ship traveled.
5 When I Grow Up
We talked a lot about weird things that astronauts have seen while they were out in space performing vital missions. However, we would be unfair to these brave men and women if we did not dedicate at least a couple of entries on this list to the weird stuff that happens to astronauts while they are out in space.
Yes, going to space has its price, and it is not only paid for with the risk you take by getting into a rocket and waiting to see if it’s going to blow up before reaching orbit and the thrusters can be put to rest. Much of what happens to the human body while living in space was a mystery until astronauts were finally able to stay inside the ISS for extended periods of time. And one of the weird things that they found out is that, apparently, a regular human being “grows up” around 3 percent after staying in space for six months. Scott Kelly, for example, grew two inches during his year in the ISS.
4 The Space Eel
By now, you have realized that when weird stuff happens to astronauts, it sometimes gets to be bizarre. Still, few have claimed to have seen something as odd as what NASA astronaut Story Musgrave claimed after he returned from his mission.
The first thing you need to know about Musgrave is that he is one of the few American astronauts who has come clean and talked about how he confidently believes that we are not alone in the universe and that there are some, if not several, highly advanced species in the universe that already dominate space-travel technology. That might make you like the guy more or make you like him less, but what he talked about seeing while in space is weird whether you believe him or not.
Musgrave claimed that, not once but twice, he saw something that he called his eel. According to him, it was a rubbery-like object that had an internal motion and floated through the vacuum like an eel moves in the water.
3 The Dangerous Side
We said we would dedicate a couple of entries to the weird effects living in space can have on the human body. With our first entry, we went a little light on you guys and talked about the bright side. What middle-aged man or woman would not want to grow a couple of inches after just one year in space? Unfortunately, growing up is not the only thing that happens to the human body after spending a lengthy period floating around in zero gravity.
It turns out that if you spend a lot of time in space, your muscles start to decay. We don’t mean that in a leprosy kind of way, as your muscles don’t fall off. They just shrink because they are not being used to resist Earth’s gravity every day. Another terrifying prospect that might keep you away from the idea of becoming an astronaut is that not only muscle, but astronauts, eventually start to lose bone density as well.
2 Neil Armstrong Saw Aliens
There has seldom been an event in human history that was met with as much skepticism and controversy as the moon landing. A lot of people say it was staged, and a lot of folks believe it. If you are one of those individuals who think it was staged, this little bit of information might not mean a lot to you since you already dismissed the mere possibility of men landing on the moon. Nevertheless, there has been a story widely spread in conspiracy circles and even in a book, which claims that Neil Armstrong not only landed on the moon and walked on it, but also saw a bunch of aliens there.
Apparently, Armstrong sent a secret transmission from the moon describing a bunch of humongous UFOs that he saw parked inside one of the craters:
“These babies were huge, sir! Enormous! Oh, God! You wouldn’t believe it! ... I’m telling you there are other space-craft out here ... lined up on the far side of the crater’s edge! ... They’re on the moon watching us!”
Armstrong never confirmed nor denied the transmission, so the question still lingers.
1 Scott Kelly Also Saw Aliens
Take this with the saltiest grain of salt you can possibly find. This could be nothing more than a joke that added fuel to conspiracy theory nonsense. But it is a matter of fact that Scott Kelly decided to answer a serious question about his psychological and physical state while in space by mentioning aliens. And let’s be honest, no one knows space as well as Scott Kelly. This guy is the one human being who spent most time living in the International Space Station, and unavoidably, the person who spent most time living in space as far as we know.
So, guess the bomb that his little comment became for the conspiracy theorists who have been saying for years and years that the government knows about the existence of aliens and is trying to hide it from the population. Nevertheless, this could all have been just a joke at the wrong time, or Kelly might’ve had a good reason for saying that aliens “have it easier” than humans when it comes to adapting to life in space.
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