After just under a year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly’s gene expression changed significantly and it’s different to his identical twin brother’s DNA. A new NASA statement suggests the physical and mental stresses of Scott Kelly’s year in orbit may have activated hundreds of “space genes” that altered the astronaut’s immune system, bone formation, eyesight and other bodily processes. While most of these genetic changes reverted to normal following Scott Kelly’s return to Earth, about 7 percent of the astronaut’s gene expression remained altered — and it may stay that way permanently.
Astronaut Gregory Jarvis was bumped from his first scheduled flight by US Sen. Jake Garn and then bumped again by US Rep. Bill Nelson. He finally got to fly on his third attempt: STS-51-L, the Challenger disaster.
Astronauts Mark Lee and Jan Davis married in secret 9 months before their joint flight to the ISS and didn’t tell NASA until it was too late to train replacements. They are the only married couple to have ever flown in space together.
Astronaut Jim Lovell was asked if he would go on another spaceflight after an explosion almost killed the crew of Apollo 13 on its way to the Moon. Lovell was about to say yes. Then he saw a hand shoot up from the audience and slowly give the thumbs-down sign. It was his wife, Marilyn.
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.”
In 2015, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield released the first ever album recorded entirely in space, named Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can.
The microgravity of space can cause astronauts’ blood to run backwards.
On December 16, 1965, NASA received a prank transmission from two astronauts: “We have an object, probably in polar orbit… I see a command Module and and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” They then started playing, “Jingle Bells”.
An astronaut 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 have taken steps to prevent corned-beef sandwiches from being taken on future flights.
Astronauts returning from space report higher concern with Universalism, Spirituality and references to “values orientated toward the collective good”.