Extraterrestrial bacteria lives on ISS skin, cosmonaut says

If you believe the opinion of a Russian cosmonaut, there’s a very good chance that the exterior of the International Space Station is crawling with life from another planet.

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will be heading to the ISS for the third time next month, and he believes that bacteria samples that have been collected from the outside of the space station came from space, not Earth. Locally-sourced microorganisms have been found growing on the station before, but this latest batch is special, Shkaplerov claims.

The good news is that he says the samples are still being studied and appear to be safe. Yeah, safe — for now.

Two-headed flatworms grow on space station

Based on a true story.

Earlier this week we told you that astronauts could be making their own crumb-free bread on the International Space Station next year. But we just learned that something equally unnatural was growing up there recently.

According to a new report, some tiny flatworms were send to the ISS and spent nearly two years up there. When they were returned to Earth, scientists found that some of them had grown two heads, one at each end of their body. Researchers also noted that the space flatworms were acting somewhat differently than their kin who have only lived on Earth.

We don’t know what this means, but you can be sure that it’s not going to be good for mankind.

Sandwiches going back to space after 52-year ban

Bread is thought to be one of the earliest and most universal foods made on Earth, but it’s been banned in space. That will all change next year aboard the International Space Station.

That’s when an experiment in baking crumb-free bread will be carried out on the ISS. Like your hippie neighbors, astronauts will be baking their own bread. The bread ban has been in place since 1965, when two NASA astronauts brought a corned beef sandwich into space during the Gemini 3 mission. Scientists said crumbs from the bread could have gotten into the circuitry of the spacecraft. And it’s been tortillas-only ever since.

But researchers believe they have come up with a way to bake bread in space using a recipe that shouldn’t create crumbs. No doubt it will be the Tang of the bread world.

In space, no one can hear you complain about bagpipes

Roommates can be annoying, even if you’re good friends with or are married to them. But the good thing is that you don’t have to stay cooped up with them if you don’t want to. You can leave your place for a while and cool off. But your options are limited if you’re on the International Space Station.

American astronaut Kjell Lindgren learned that one of his friends died recently, and did what anyone else in morning would do, annoy the hell out of his roommates. He played the bagpipes, an instrument known for its unpleasant sound and volume. To honor his fallen friend, Lindgren played “Amazing Grace” on some bagpipes he had sent up on a recent supply mission for this reason. That means he knowingly trapped his roommates thousands of feet above the Earth and made them listen to his music.

No one asked him to play “Space Oddity” for an encore.

h/t to Hunter S.

Houston, we have a drinking problem

Fortunately, NASA has official handlers to bring more enthusiastic booze scientists home.
Fortunately, NASA has official handlers to bring more … enthusiastic booze scientists home.

Japan’s space program may not get as much attention as ours or the Russians’, but, brother, do they have their interstellar priorities straight. And by “straight,” we mean straight whisky.

Japanese distillery Suntory plans to send five kinds of whiskey, as well as a 40% ethanol, to the International Space Station to see how they mature in microgravity. There, the booze will embark on a several year mission to seek out more complicated tones and potentially mellower flavors, to boldly nose like they have not nosed before. NASA officials and Suntory spokespeople did not mention whether they believe exposure to cosmic rays will make the whiskies more fantastic like the Fantastic Four or just become a lot of empty marketing for something ultimately flavorless like the Fantastic Four movies.

The Guys definitely need to book a flight to the ISS soon. According to our reporting all the way back in 2008, Japanese brewery Sapporo has already experimented with hops grown on the station. Put Suntory whisky and Sapporo together, and you’ve got yourself some torpedo bomber shots.

3 tons of doom could be headed your way

Last week, the Russians launched a supply ship to the International Space Station, but when it got to space, it started spinning out of control for no reason. Scientists have since given up on the craft. The bad news is that it’s going to crash into the Earth tomorrow.

The other bad news (sorry, did you think this was a good news/bad news situation?) is that researchers have no idea where it’s going to hit. They can only guess as to the day it will crash with its three-ton payload. So look up on Friday, you could die in the most awesome way possible.

And who knows, maybe it was carrying beer.

Get ready for jittery astronauts

The International Space Station now smells like coffee.

This week marked the much-anticipated arrival of a new, space-age espresso machine. Astronauts have had coffee on the ISS, but it had to be in one of those packet things, so it float away and burn the crap out of someone. But now, they have the ISSpresso, which somehow makes coffee in zero-gravity espresso coffee.

The first astronaut to try it out, of course, is Italian.

The McBournie Minute: I’m over life on Earth

I spent the week of Thanksgiving seeing family and friends out in Ohio. We drove some 18 hours in all, which means there was a lot of radio time during the trip. It’s easy to forget this, but it you’re outside a populated area, radio stations come in only three flavors: pop, classic rock and country. And they all play the same songs for their respective genres.

This meant I heard a lot of Taylor Swift, who apparently has a few very popular songs out right now. I learned to memorize that “Bang Bang” song, and had ample opportunity to reaffirm my dislike for Ariana Grande. It’s a good thing for sexuality, otherwise pop songs would have nothing to say.

As you can imagine, I had an urge to drive into the nearest tree. But I had a lot of time to think, so I thought about less lethal ways to get away from pop songs. What if I could go into space? Continue reading The McBournie Minute: I’m over life on Earth

Light beer to go entirely weightless

If we didn't know how sex works in space, we will soon, thanks to Michal's beer brewing experiment. Also: swaying, burps, vomiting and shame.
If we didn’t know how sex works in space, we will soon, thanks to Michal’s beer brewing experiment. Also: how swaying, burps, vomiting and shame work in space.

Over the past 52 years, humans have learned a lot about living in space. We’ve learned that spiders are still gross in zero-G. We’ve learned that absolutely nobody has experimented with sex in a weightless environment at all (::wink::). We’ve learned that, while pencils write without gravity, pencil shavings also fly willy-nilly without gravity into instrumentation.

But, it took an 11-year-old Colorado sixth grader to ask the obvious question: can we brew beer up there?

Congratulations, Michal Bodzianowski. If it works, we’ll toast to your success. And you can return the sentiment in, oh, ten years.

Boring conversation with NASA anyway

This is the greatest sexually transmitted threat to Earth since Mission Commander George "Bright Eyes" Taylor nearly overran the Earth with damn, dirty superapes.
This is the greatest sexually transmitted threat to Earth since Mission Commander George “Bright Eyes” Taylor nearly overran the Earth with damn, dirty super-apes.

NASA ground controllers briefly lost contact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday. The sexy pinnacles of American, Russian and Canadian physical and mental prowess were left unattended for three hours due to a computer problem.

Who knows what they were doing up there, all alone, with no supervision, gravity or rules …

We, the people of Earth, welcome the U.S.-Russian-(really?) Canadian blackout super-baby as our new overlord.

(Yes, The Guys are fully aware that all six members of the current ISS crew are men. But, who knows what space radiation does to a man, and have you seen Chris Hadfield’s Swanson of a mustache? Who could quit that?)