NASA launched Apollo 9 in early 1969, to test some of the technical aspects of the equipment that would be so crucial to the lunar landing later that year. Mainly, they tested the in-dash eight-track tape player.
Apollo 8 had tested an onboard reel-to-reel player, with disastrous results: albums by the Doors and Steppenwolf would not play in the zero-gravity environment; in fact, the crew nearly died because they couldn’t crank “Born To Be Wild” and “Touch Me.” Luckily, quick-thinking mission commander Jim Lovell started humming “Magic Carpet Ride” and they made it back to Earth safely.
And so NASA got to work on an exciting new eight-track design, and cartridges of Abbey Road and Led Zeppelin I. Abbey Road turned out to be a mistake: listening to “Octopus’s Garden” in zero-G can be lethal. But Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” turned out to be just what NASA wanted: a space anthem you could turn up to 11. Dude.
But when they returned, Mission Commander Frank Borman told NASA, “There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.” Borman also noted that “the lunatic is in my head.” And so, Borman was sent away to a special NASA facility for all the astronauts who went insane in space (sadly, all of them). NASA later found a lava lamp and some black light posters of a prism in the flight module (not to mention a shit-ton of high-grade weed).
Turns out, there are some very strange coincidences about Apollo 8. If you start a recording of their conversations with Mission Control and the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” they sync up perfectly. Borman is Dorothy, Command Module Pilot James Lovell is the Tin Man, Lunar Module Pilot William Anders is the Scarecrow, while the Cowardly Lion’s voice is provided by someone only known as “Pink.” By the way, which one’s Pink? We may never know.
Apollo 7, launched in 1967, was the first successful manned mission in the Apollo program, which would eventually land men on the moon, where we now have a thriving colony with Space Starbucks and Moon McDonalds and everything.
But Apollo 7 was merely a test mission–it was a test of the Saturn rocket, and a test of the three-person module. But mainly, the three astronauts were asked to take their space SATs while in Earth orbit, to see if the low-gravity environment affected their ability to know if one train left Chicago at 3PM at 67 MPH, while another left Chicago at 3:30PM travelling at 80 MPH, where would they meet?
Lunar module pilot R. Walter Cunningham did poorly, answering, “Boron.” Command module pilot Donn Eisele did a bit better, answering “Chickens.” But only Mission commander Wally Schirra got the question right, Answering that the two trains would never meet, as both are, in fact, traveling west (how many of you got this trick question correct?). Then they came home and like all SAT test-takers, received a ticker-tape parade in New York City. We remember ours like it was only yesterday!
Yang Liwei was in space for a whopping 21 hours. While impressive, he could have like, driven from LA to Portland in 21 hours, assuming he went at least 75 or 80 most of the way. And when he was done, he would have been in Portland! How cool is that? He could have gone to Powell’s Books, and Reading Frenzy, and Jackpot Records, no to mention that store where they put a bird on it.
But instead, Liwei splashed down in the middle of the ocean somewhere. And really, what is there to do in the middle of the ocean all by yourself when you’re sealed up in approximately four cubic feet of space? No, not that–not enough room to wriggle out of his spacesuit, and no easy-access flap. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Becoming the first major league infielder to orbit another world, Trillo became quite a celebrity. The papers wanted to know whose shirts he wore. The fame went to his head, and NASA had to remind him to take his protein pills and to put his helmet on. Luckily, his spaceship knew which way to go.
Sadly, we’re not sure what’s happened to Trillo–NASA lost contact with Mariner 9, explaining, “The circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong.” Ground Control received one last message from Trillo: “Tell my third base coach I love him very much.” NASA answered, “He knows.”
Vulcan is where the Vulcans live. You’d think they’d come up with a better name, right? You don’t go around saying, “I’m from Earth. I’m an Earth.” Or maybe you do. We don’t know you. But if you do, you’re a fucking idiot.
The Vulcan culture is based on logic. Logic, and eyebrow lifts. Not the best idea for a culture. If we could start our own culture, we’d base it on like, Nacho Cheese Doritos and the Molly Hatchet tune “Flirtin’ With Disaster.” Why is this NOT a thing?
So yeah, Vulcan. Kind of a shithole, really. A shithole of logic.
Ursa Major means “big-ass bear,” because it looks like a bear if you kind of squint and/or you just took a tab of acid or some shit.
The Big Dipper is actually part of Ursa Major: the handle is the bear’s tail, and the dipper part is the bear’s enormous sky-butt. Below this, you’ll find the constellation Feces.
So remember, every time you look up at the Big Dipper, you’re looking up a bear’s butt, you perv.
A quasar is a quasi-stellar radio source, kind of like a radio station that only plays “American Idol” runners-up. Which, these days, is pretty much every radio station. Every time we turn on the radio these days, they’re always playing like, some Bruno Mars song. Was he on “American Idol?” Lord, who knows at this point? We haven’t watched since season two, when Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken. Which was as it should have been: Ruben Studdard was ten times the singer Clay Aiken was, and not just in terms of physical girth. But Ruben Studdard released one single and immediately disappeared, while Clay Aiken still seems to have a career of some sort. Hell, as far as we know, Clay Aiken and Bruno Mars are the same dude. And don’t get us started on that Daughtry dude–like we needed another band that fucking sounds just like Nickelback. Jesus.
And that’s everything you need to know about quasars. You’re welcome.
Also, Ganymede is the only moon in the solar system with a magnetosphere. Well, Ganymede, you can magneto all the crap you want, you’re still only a moon. The Earth can totally kick your ass, so watch it.
Ganymede is believed to have a thin oxygen atmosphere, but so what? The Earth’s is WAY better. And you know what the Earth has that you don’t, Ganymede? The band Blue Oyster Cult. The Earth totally wins. Go home, Ganymede, you loser.
So in the 1980s, Halley’s Comet appeared for the first time in 76 years. You probably missed it because you were busy listening to Phil Collins and wearing neon colors and drinking Zima and working part-time at Pier 1 Imports and crap, but the Japanese were ready. They launched a spacecraft, Suisei, to discover what was in the icy tail of Halley’s Comet.
And what did the Japanese find in the icy tail of Halley’s Comet? Godzilla. Or Gamera. Or Mothra, maybe? Who can keep track of all the giant space monsters the Japanese have around? Anyway, Gamzillthra or whatever came back to Earth on the spacecraft and destroyed an HO scale model of Tokyo until they could lure the dude in the rubber suit into like, a volcano or something. We stopped paying attention about halfway through. And that’s why the Japanese should not be allowed in space.