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Strange Space Firsts

February 15, 2018

Neil Armstrong was the first person to step foot on the moon, and Russian dog Laika was the first animal in space. Big deal.

First Cat in Space

Seeking to catch up with the American and Soviet Union’s ambitious space programs, France sent the first cat into space in October 1963. But the chosen astro-kitty, a cat named Félix, ran away just hours before the scheduled rocket launch, so the French space program quickly enlisted a new cat named Félicette for the mission.

Who Peed First?

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. His Apollo 11 shipmate Buzz Aldrin then became the second person to walk on the moon…but the first person to pee on the lunar surface.

Oumuamua

In December 2017, astronomers identified a small asteroid piece flying past Earth. It’s called Oumuamua, and it’s the first rock to travel into our solar system from another star. It’s an icy stone, wrapped in a layer of orange, organic material.

First Space Music Video

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield wanted to reignite interest in the space program, so he made lots of videos when he was in space. One of them was the first ever music video—and subsequently viral video—shot in space. With the guitar he brought with him to the International Space Station, Hadfield edited together a video of himself playing David Bowie’s 1967 hit “Space Oddity.” It racked up more than 38 million views on YouTube.

First Meal in Space

Via the Friendship 7 capsule, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the planet three times in about five hours in 1962. While on board, he got hungry and ate the first food consumed in space. He dined on applesauce.

Twins in Space

As part of a study to determine the effects of long-term space travel (necessary, if humans are ever going to go to Mars or beyond), NASA sent astronaut Scott Kelly to space for a year. Afterward, they weighed the physical changes against a “control subject”—his identical twin, astronaut Mark Kelly.

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