1999: When American astronaut Dan Barry tried to whistle during a spacewalk, he found he couldn’t. Astronauts’ spacesuits are depressurized, so they can hum, but they can’t whistle.
Tag archive: Space Travel
1991: The Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome for the Mir space station on 18 May. During the 312 days he spent in orbit, communist hardliners staged a short-lived coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, the Commonwealth of Independent States was formed, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics officially ceased to exist. When Krikalev returned to Earth on 25 March 1992, he landed in the newly independent state of Kazakhstan.
Source: Brian Harvey, Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier? (2001), pp. 29–32
1965: Toy maker Mattel gave Barbie a spacesuit 18 years before NASA put the first American woman in space.
Source: Marco Tosa, Barbie: Four Decades of Fashion, Fantasy, and Fun (1998), p. 116
1957: In Edward Teller’s opinion, “All astronauts should be women because they weigh less and have more sense.” The United States ignored the nuclear physicist’s trenchant views and it was the Soviet Union that first sent a woman into space. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova orbited Earth for three days in June 1963; the first American female astronaut didn’t blast off until 1983.
Source: Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, Almost Heaven: The Story of Women in Space (2003), p. 7
1969: American astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, remarked: “When I would take a step, a little semicircle of dust would spray out before me. It was odd, because the dust didn’t behave at all the way it behaves here on Earth. On Earth, you’re sometimes dealing with puffy dust, sometimes with sand. On the moon, what you’re dealing with is this powdery dust traveling through no air at all, so the dust is kicked up, and then it all falls at the same time in a perfect semicircle.”
Source: What It Feels Like . . . , ed. A.J. Jacobs (2003), p. 41