NASA only uses 15 digits of pi for calculating interplanetary travel. At 40 digits, you could calculate the circumference of a circle the size of the visible universe to an accuracy equal to the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
In 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless floated in space completely unattached to anything, 320 feet away from the space-shuttle with only a nitrogen jetpack back.
The African country of Zambia entered the Space Race in the 1960s. The plan was to go to Mars and convert aliens to Christianity. The plans ended when one of the “Afronauts” got pregnant, another pulled-out to join a local dance group, and a third went missing.
In 1930, Chandra, an Indian student showed mathematically that massive stars explode into a supernova and then collapse down into neutron stars,or black holes. Before that Scientists assumed that all stars collapsed into white dwarfs when they died. Chandra’s theory was ridiculed as ‘absurd’.
50 years ago, Ham the chimp was launched into space, where he experienced up to 14.7g during a six-minute freefall. He survived his ocean splashdown (although he nearly drown before rescue crews arrived) and lived 20 more years at a zoo in Washington D.C.
NASA officially banned consuming alcohol in space in 1972 after sherry was proposed for Skylab meals, but it never really went away. “NASA will tell you there is no alcohol aboard the ISS” says astronaut Clayton Anderson. “As a person who lived there for five months, I’ll tell you that’s bogus.”
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.
Long term radiation damages the cameras on the ISS. Also, astronauts occasionally see flashes of light as heavy ions or charged particles crash through their skull and fire off photo receptor cells in their eyes despite being closed.
The first toilet paper factory in the USSR was built in 1969, 8 years after they went to space.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson received large amounts of hate mail from children after declassifying Pluto as a planet.