It is that time of year again. Lots of us are thinking about Christmas, no matter if we are living in the north or south of the equator. Christmas is celebrated by more than 2 billion people around the world, so it is important to you or someone close to you. Christmas has a history with space exploration and you may not know it.
We have been eager to celebrate our most cherished holidays since the day we blasted ourselves off into the void. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, astronauts were just as eager to have a good holiday season as anyone else. There are many ways that Christmas and space are tied together, from Christmas trees to space cookies.
To celebrate the upcoming festive period, we have compiled a list of 10 great facts. Check out our Christmas space facts in no particular order.
10. A former NASA contractor claimed that there were three Santa Claus-like aliens that were discovered in the 70s.
The image is from the Getty.
In the mid-2010s, a woman called Donna Hare went on film to claim that she worked for NASA at some point in the 70s, and she had a strange tale to tell. She said that NASA used to get a lot of ufos. The photography department had to get rid of the photographs of the aliens before they went public. She claimed to have heard that the crew of one of the moon missions gave the codename Santa Claus to the aliens. Donna didn't reveal a time frame, but the alleged incident was likely to have happened around December, hence the seasonal designation.
There were many missions to the moon during the 70s, and many of them happened at the end of the year. The chances of these claims being true are very low. Donna's company provided engineering and operational support services to NASA. Donna and the company she worked for wouldn't have gotten anywhere near a photo lab or a debriefing.
The image is from NASA.
People like to celebrate with a bit of alcohol around this time of year, regardless of whether you drink or not. If you are one of the few who are spending the holiday season aboard the International Space Station, you will not have the option.
Rumors that Russian crew members have smuggled alcohol onto the base are not true. The water recycling system at the ISS is very delicate and would be overwhelmed by alcohol. Paolo Nespoli said the water processing system on the International Space Station would be overwhelmed if alcohol got into the plumbing. There is no Christmas booze in space.
The Lego International Space Station kit is available in our Space Lego deals guide, so if you want to experience the space station and still have a drink or two over the holidays, then you should check it out.
8. Santa Claus visited the International Space Station.
The image is from the Getty.
There are certain things you have to go without during Christmastime, but a visit from St. Nick isn't one of them. The crew of the American section of the International Space Station woke up to find a load of presents outside their doors. The most interesting part was that no gifts had been brought with them.
Does that mean Santa can go to the International Space Station? Not quite. Each crew member's family puts gifts and messages into a container with some personalized socks, as the gift packages are prepared on Earth. The gifts are flown to the International Space Station with an earlier expedition to give the crew a Christmas surprise. The presents were put together in April before the arrival of the U.S. astronauts.
If you want to visit the International Space Station, you should try the International Space Station virtual reality experience. Santa might bring you one of the best virtual reality headsets, but you'll need one to play it. If you don't, treat yourself with our virtual reality headset deals.
7. Christmas cookies were the first food baked in space.
We made cookies and milk for Santa. Happy holidays from the space station!
Baking sugar cookies is a Christmas tradition. You will be pleasantly surprised that this can translate so well to space. An experiment was conducted on the International Space Station to see how cooking would work in space. The purpose of the investigation was to see if cooking could extend food supplies.
These aren't the typical kind of cookies usually baked for Christmas, but they were baked during the season. Christina Koch, one of the crew members who took part, said that the crew made some Christmas milk and cookies for Santa.
6. It would take 2,683 Christmas lights to be visible from space.
The image is from New Regency.
If you've seen the Christmas film Deck the Halls, starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito, you'll know this fact. In the movie, DeVito's character tries to make his house visible from space with a huge Christmas lights display. Researchers at the University ofLeicester decided to figure out how many lights they would need after watching the film.
The number of lights in your house is the number that will be visible from the International Space Station. The number was calculated using the average luminosity of store-bought Christmas lights, but they admitted that it was unlikely that there was no light pollution. Ryan Bradley-Evans, one of the students who took part in the research, said: "Although we oversimplified the factors involved, it was great to see this film hold-up to the physics involved as often this is not the case, and who knows, maybe somebody, someday,
5. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was the first film to feature Mrs. Claus.
Jalor productions has an image credit.
If you're not a fan of Christmas B-movies, you might have missed this one. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a lousy sci-fi movie from 1964 in which Santa is captured by Martians so that they can have a merry Christmas. It's a weird movie, but it's also the best way to see it.
The first on-screen portrayal of Mrs. Claus happens to be in this sci-fi movie. The character was invented in 1849 for a short story by James Rees and is portrayed here by a Boston native actor who retired from the profession shortly afterwards. We're certain that her decision had nothing to do with the film.
4. The Apollo 8 mission was the first to have a Christmas Day in space.
The crew of Apollo 8 are the first people to be away from Earth on Christmas Day, and they are also the first to be on the moon. The crew stayed in space for six days, three hours, and twenty-four seconds.
The crew sent a message to Earth on Christmas Eve. The message featured a static shot of the planet while each crew member read a passage from the Bible. The religious message wasn't appreciated by everyone, but it was still heard at Christmastime. You can still watch the message, thanks to NASA.
Christmas Eve at the Moon: Apollo 8's historic message was beamed to Earth today.
3. The first Christmas tree in space was made from cans.
The image is from NASA.
The crew of Skylab, the first space station in the United States, did pull off an impressive first, but they weren't the first crew to spend the 25th of December in space. The crew on the station had a lot of empty food cans during the Christmas period of 1973, because they were low on Christmas trees.
The crew constructed a decent looking Christmas tree to help them celebrate the holiday in style. TV viewers got a glimpse of the festive faux flora when it was broadcast to the world on Christmas Eve. The fact that they knocked together a full-sized Christmas tree is pretty impressive, even though the tree is tacky.
2. The International Space Station is one of the biggest Christmas traditions.
The European Space Agency has an image.
The International Space Station has hosted many different astronauts from around the world. Christmas aboard the International Space Station has become a hub of multiculturalism due to all the different nationalities present in the same place. The crew can celebrate Christmas several times a year if the regions prioritize different days during the holidays.
Some highlights of this phenomenon include how different crews in different countries share Christmas food. In the year 2016 French astronauts Thomas Pesquet shared traditional Christmas food from Normandy. The European Space Agency documented the event in several videos, and they still make for an exciting watch.
1. The first song to be broadcast from space was Jingle Bells.
The image is from NASA.
One of the most well-known Christmas songs is Jingle Bells, and it's also one of the most well-known space songs. The first piece of music to be broadcast in space was a big prank. Two astronauts on the Gemini 6 mission thought they would have fun at the expense of mission control.
On December 16, 1965, Walter Schirra Jr. and Thomas Stafford radioed in a strange sight. They claimed to be picking up an object in the sky before patching it up. Two crewmen pulled out sleigh bells and a harmonica to recite the famous song. You can still listen back to what it was like for those on the ground.