WTF Fun Fact 13392 – The Scott Kelly Gorilla Suit Prank

We know, we know. You’ve seen the viral posts about Mark Kelly smuggling a gorilla suit onto the International Space Station (ISS). But it turns out the hilarious moment is actually the Scott Kelly gorilla suit prank. Scott is Mark’s twin brother, and they are both astronauts.

Now, if you haven’t heard about this prank, you’re probably very confused right now.

The Scott Kelly gorilla suit prank

In 2016, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly secretly brought a gorilla suit with him on the mission, keeping it hidden from his fellow crew members. It wasn’t until one day that he decided to surprise his unsuspecting colleague.

Scott Kelly, known for his adventurous spirit and sense of humor, had a playful idea in mind. He understood the importance of camaraderie and lighthearted moments to boost morale in the isolated and demanding environment of space.

After smuggling the gorilla suit onboard, Kelly patiently waited for the perfect moment to execute his prank. He knew that the confined quarters of the ISS would amplify the surprise and make the prank memorable.

Finally, the day arrived when Kelly decided to put his plan into action. He donned the gorilla suit and approached his unsuspecting crew member, who was engrossed in his tasks.

Gorillas in space

Kelly lunged towards his crewmate, letting out a playful roar. The crew member, startled by the sudden appearance of a gorilla in space, jumped in surprise, and his shock quickly turned into laughter.

The crew burst into laughter, with Kelly’s prank providing a much-needed moment of levity. The sight of an astronaut in a gorilla suit floating weightlessly through the spacecraft was undoubtedly unforgettable.

The story of Scott Kelly’s gorilla suit prank spread, capturing the amusement of people on Earth. It showcased the lighter side of life aboard the ISS and reminded us that even in the vastness of space, humor and human connections are vital for well-being.

Of course, the presence of the gorilla suit on the ISS was unauthorized. NASA does not allow astronauts to bring personal items on missions. However, in this case, the harmless nature of the prank and the positive impact it had on the crew’s morale overshadowed any reprimand that Kelly may have received.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Fact Check: Did an Astronaut Smuggle a Gorilla Suit Onto the International Space Station?” — Newsweek

WTF Fun Fact 12729 – Astronaut Life Insurance

We never really thought about astronaut life insurance, but we had hoped that heroic explorers wouldn’t have to worry about their families being taken care of in the event of their untimely demise.

Alas, that was not necessarily the case for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. They didn’t have life insurance that covered an accident involving a moon landing (or anything related to it).

“It was driven by the fact that, given the nature of the astronauts’ livelihood, they were not able to secure much life insurance,” said Apollo program author Howard C. Weinberger. According to Brandi Dean, spokesperson for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, NASA DID have an insurance program, but it “originally did not cover astronauts when flying—it was considered high risk and experimental.”

There may not have been an eBay marketplace back in 1969, but Neil Armstrong understood the power of celebrity and the value of an autograph. That’s why he suggested they all leave autographed materials behind for their families to sell in case they didn’t return.

Particularly valuable were items called covers, which are envelopes signed and postmarked on important dates.

According to NPR:

“About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers.

They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts’ families.”

While the trio didn’t need to worry about a grim fate after all, the items did start showing up at auctions in the 1990s. An Apollo 11 “insurance autograph” was worth up to $30,000 at the time.  – WTF fun facts

Source: “What The Apollo Astronauts Did For Life Insurance” — NPR