1.“Thou art like a toad; ugly and venomous.” – As You Like
NASA’s history is filled with both amazing successes and tragic failures, but some of their history is also a little secretive. There are a few things that people don’t know, and some terrifying accusations. It’s not clear how much is true, and how much is conspiracy theory, but these are the stories from the history of NASA.
1. One interesting tidbit from the history of NASA comes from their budget. Many people attack the organization for spending too much money, but it makes sense: they have to be as certain as possible that they’re building quality vehicles and parts. The best example is gold foil. While many people would suggest that it’s utterly ridiculous for NASA to use gold foil, they do use a lot of it.
It turns out there’s good reason they do. Gold is great for shielding as it’s got a high heat capacity and reflects a great deal of light. It’s dense and conducts incredibly well, as well as staying free of tarnish and oxidization. On top of all that it’s easy to work with thanks to being malleable. All those accusations may not have had much of a foundation.
2. Another piece of NASA history that the organization prefers to keep relatively quiet is the fact that some of their procedures in the past were comically simplistic. The best example of this is the shake test, made to test out early space ships against the force of wind. The test involved getting a bunch of NASA workers, picking up the object being tested, and shaking it. When things fell off, they were put back on with more secure attachments. Despite how silly it is, it was pretty functional, so even though NASA might not advertise its silly history, we can appreciate that they started off resourceful.
3. In a bit of history most people don’t know, the U.S. wanted to use future-tech to gain global power, and some of them even tried to use NASA to help with the military. Some of the early projects involved the military asking for rockets that would deliver bombs and other weapons. NASA was pretty willing to work with them since the military brought them great funding, but the organization quickly turned over to strictly science when it turned out scientists were hard to work with in matters of national security.
4. One of NASA’s current projects that could garner some serious criticisms is that sometimes the organization pays people to do literally nothing. It might seem ridiculous, but many astronauts spend a lot of time in small spaces with limited motion, and NASA needs to know what the effects are. So some people are paid thousands of dollars a month to just lie down and not get up. The goal is to keep them healthy anyway, but some critics are still convinced it’s a waste of money.
5. The final and most controversial piece of NASA history comes to us from Ken Johnston, a former NASA employee who left them on bad terms and wrote a tell-all book about their secret missions. According to Johnston, NASA found alien ruins and new technology on the moon but tried to destroy the pictures and keep it from the public. Supposedly, even President John Kennedy was involved in the cover-up and wanted to share the lunar technology with the Soviets. NASA says that the allegations aren’t even serious.