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.

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.

Astronaut blindness explained, hairy palms still mystery

NASA ruled out masturbation after removing the bathroom door did not affect vision impairment rates.
NASA ruled out masturbation after removing the bathroom door did not reduce vision impairment rates.

It’s not exactly well advertised by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on LinkedIn, but extended stays on the International Space Station — or in micro-gravity in general — may irreparably damage your vision. Two-thirds of astronauts spending six months or longer on the ISS now suffer from permanently blurry vision. Unsurprisingly, this “blindness” is fluid-related; surprisingly, it’s from brain fluids, not … idle hands.

We already know that fluid behaves differently in zero-G. What we didn’t realize is that, given enough time, the cerebrospinal fluid in the skull’s brain cavity flows willy-nilly and can eventually press on the backs of the eyeballs enough that they flatten a bit. And changing the shape of the eye even a little is enough to impair the ability to focus.

At the moment, NASA has no plan to prevent this as there’s no way to control where fluid flows within the skull. The only current possibilities are either shorter stays or inventing artificial gravity — which introduces its own problem:

Nobody installed seatbelts onboard the ISS.
Nobody installed seat belts onboard the ISS.

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.

This ‘buy local’ thing has gone too far

NASA wants to make space farmers out of its once-proud astronauts.

In a project led by scientists at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, some sort of system is going to be set up on the International Space Station allowing the crew to grow their own vegetables. This can’t be a good idea.

With all the cosmic rays and such, this significantly increases the odds of killer tomatoes attacking.

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?)

Maybe they should send their moms up to the ISS

We already have a pretty good idea of how astronauts go to the bathroom. (It involves a vacuum cleaner and true grit.) We know how they eat. (Acrobatically.) We even know how they sleep. (Restrained to a wall because you’d have to be insane to eat and go to the bathroom in space.)

But, do you know how they do their laundry? Neither do they.

To date, they’ve been living the high life, wearing their underwear fresh out of the pack and then incinerating them. But, a new washing machine on the International Space Station could force them to live like the rest of us: wearing each pair until they run out, putting on swim trunks and washing them in a new low-power, low- water washing machine.

At least now we know that our collection of astronaut undies were a fraud.