NASA planned to send astronauts to Mars in 1981 using Nerva nuclear rockets but congress cut NASA’s funding and Nixon cancelled the Nerva project entirely in 1973, causing Nasa to focus on the development of the Space Shuttle instead.
Nazi rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun wrote a science fiction novel in 1949 called Project Mars: A Technical Tale. The novel takes place in the 1980s and is about the first human mission to Mars and their encounter with benevolent Martians on the planet, including the Martian leader, Elon.
While performing in Australia in 1957, Little Richard saw a fireball flying across the sky and took it to be a sign from God to repent from secular music and his wild lifestyle at the time; he wouldn’t return to secular music until 1962. The fireball that he saw was the launch of Sputnik 1.
The first toilet paper factory in the USSR was built in 1969, 8 years after they went to space.
While the Americans sent space probes to Mars, the Soviets sent many probes to Venus, of which 8 of them successfully landed on the Venusian surface and took the first measurements and pictures of the planet’s surface, showing Venus to be a hot, hellish wasteland.
In the 60s Zambia planned to send “Afronauts” to land on Mars and the Moon. The Mars mission was planned to send a ‘spacegirl’, two cats and a missionary to convert the Martians to Christianity.
While in the USSR, Neil Armstrong collected a handful of soil from outside a Ukrainian man’s house in Siberia to acknowledge that man’s contribution to Apollo-11 Moon Mission. The gravitational trajectory adopted by Apollo-11 program to reach the Moon is named after that man – ‘The Kondratyuk Rout’.
The first Soviet probe sent to Mars’ moon Phobos failed due to user error. While the probe was still on its way to Mars, an impatient technician who didn’t want to wait for his code to be proofread unintentionally sent a command to the probe to shut down and there was no way to turn it back on.
After the incident, an investigation was immediately ordered to determine who was responsible for the failure. Nevertheless, disciplinary action was postponed until the completion of the Phobos 2 mission. This was to prevent the demoralization of the Phobos 2 team. Any penalization of the Phobos 1 team would create anxiety among the Phobos 2 team and reduce the chances of mission success.
This postponement of punitive measures was urged by IKI director Roald Sagdeev. He quoted the former secret service chief under Stalin, Lavrenti Beria, who said “Let’s make them work for now. We can shoot them all later.”
The alignment of planets in our solar system that allowed us to launch Voyager spacecraft out of our solar system at the speed it went only happens once every 176 years.
“The last time this happened, Thomas Jefferson was president, and he blew it.”
— Tom Paine, Former NASA Administrator
In 1961 when Yuri Gagarin returned from space Nikita Khrushchev wanted to boost the Soviet’s anti-religion campaign by saying: “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.”