Space Oddities: 5 Strange Firsts in Space

Commander Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut in charge of the International Space Station, bid farewell to the ISS with probably the most epic cover in music history. In a video recently published to YouTube, Hadfield was the featured performer in the first ever music video shot in space.

Appropriately covering David Bowie’s 1969 hit “Space Oddity,” Hadfield played guitar and was the solo vocalist, altering the lyrics slightly to personalize his love letter to his six months aboard the space station. The video features Hadfield, guitar often at his side, floating freely in his “tin can,” with the vibrant, blue earth serving as his backdrop.

5 Bad Music from Mars

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In the first-ever planet-to-planet music broadcast, the Curiosity Mars rover beamed a song by of the Black Eyed Peas to Earth. The mp3 was played for a small audience at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and was part of’s efforts to promote better science and mathematics education. While their choice of artist was apparently part of NASA’s efforts to promote crappy music. Though we have to admit, it was probably better than beaming the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get Retarded” from space.

4 Beer in Space

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On Nov. 18, 2011, Natural Light became the first beer launched into the great beyond. A can of Natty Light, a stalwart brew imbibed mostly by poor college students and people looking in the back of their fridge at 4 a.m., reached an altitude of more than 90,000 feet in a Styrofoam cooler that was launched by two of the beer’s biggest fans, and was appropriately named the “Aluminum Fullcan.” And don’t worry, this prodigious event in human history was all documented on YouTube.

3 Monkey in Orbit

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Back in the midst of the space race, those whacky Russians took to doing something the ASPCA would likely have been none too happy about—they started strapping animals to rockets and seeing what happened. The first successful attempt of which involved Albert II, a Rhesus monkey that became the first mammal in space on June 14, 1949. And yes, you guessed it; he was named Albert II because Albert I’s mission didn’t go so well.

2 Breaking the Sound Barrier

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Thanks to Red Bull Stratos, free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner became the first human being to break the sound barrier without the aid of a vehicle, reaching a maximum speed of 833 miles per hour in a free fall… from outer space. Reaching 24 miles in altitude in the Earth’s upper stratosphere, Baumgartner leapt from his weather balloon capsule, and proceeded to freefall for four minutes and twenty seconds. Which coincidentally, is almost the exact amount of time you need to listen to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”

1 Golf in Space

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In 1971, the Apollo 14 mission was wrought with tension, being the first US mission to the Moon since the nearly disastrous Apollo 13. Things got a little more relaxed though, when astronaut Alan Shepard decided to literally tee off on the moon. Shepard became the first man to golf in space when he used a club and golf balls he’d smuggled on board inside his space suit, and hit two shots that he claimed sailed for miles and miles. Though realistically, he probably somehow just shanked them into the woods.

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