Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG (Getty).
Imagine for an instant, being alone hundreds of miles from Earth, and witnessing something your humanly frame of reference can’t comprehend. Now imagine having to clean out your spacesuit after having the crap scared out of you. Yes, astronauts are our bravest folks. They shoot up to that infinite mystery known as the cosmos not knowing what waits for them on the other side. They just have a mission, and sometimes, incomprehensible things happen.
These are a few stories of astronauts the world over that have witnessed something inexplicable. If you’ve ever seen Event Horizon or Prometheus…well, these aren’t that horrific, but still, pretty close.
The Creepiest Things To Happen To Astronauts In Space
Chinese Astronaut Hears a Knocking Outside His Spaceship
Photo: AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In 2003, Yang Liwei became the first Chinese astronaut to jettison into space. He was aboard the Shenzhou 5, one of multiple Shenzhou voyages that would happen in years following. One silent, lonely night on October 16, he heard it — a strange banging sound outside. As he described it, “someone knocking the body of the spaceship just as knocking an iron bucket with a wooden hammer…it neither came from outside nor inside the spaceship.”
Given that space is a vacuum and sound needs a medium to pass through such as air or water, Liwei’s eerie claims could’ve been seen as dubious. Well, except for the fact that on subsequent Shenzhou 5 and 6 missions to space, two other Chinese astronauts heard the same knocking.
Apollo 10 Astronauts Hear Alien Music in Their Headphones
Photo: Kevin Casey/WireImage for Omega Watches (Getty).
After four days shooting up to the great abyss, American astronauts Tom Stafford, Gene Cernan, and John Young were on the far side of the moon. It was 1969. While photographing craters and sipping grape juice, the three began to hear otherworldly, organized noise coming from their headsets. It happened for one full hour.
“Boy, that sure is weird music,” Commander Cernan said. “We’re going to have to find out about that,” Pilot Young replied. “Nobody will believe us.”
After decades, the music was still a mystery, until earlier this year when the moment became popularized. Popular Science and Time gave explanations, stating that the sound emanated from radio interference between spacecrafts. However, one would think three seasoned astronauts would be used to strange happenings in space and not consider something out of the ordinary to the point of calling it “spacey music.”
Neil Armstrong’s Secret Transmission to NASA
Photo: PIERRE GUILLAUD/AFP/Getty Images
You can find the words plastered across the internet like an overused meme, but that doesn’t mean the possibility of it being true is worn out. According to retired Chief of NASA Communications Systems Maurice Chatelain, writing in his book Our Cosmic Ancestors published in 1975, “Only moments before Armstrong stepped down the ladder to set foot on the Moon, two UFOs hovered overhead. Edwin Aldrin took several pictures of them. Some of these photographs have been published in the June 1975 issue of Modern People Magazine.”
There were two minutes of radio silence after Armstrong set foot on the Moon. NASA claimed one of two television cameras overheated, disrupting the reception. (Right, NASA technology overheats at random just like my old, garbage laptop.) So what was that lost transmission to Houston?:
“These babies were huge, sir! Enormous! Oh, God! You wouldn’t believe it! I’m telling you there are other spacecraft out here … lined up on the far side of the crater’s edge! They’re on the moon watching us!”
Neil Armstrong kept his lips sealed tightly right up until his death in 2012. But enough credible people corroborate that in 1969, we not only landed on the moon, but on one of the most significant extraterrestrial encounters of all time.
Russian Astronaut Sees Something “Impossible” According to Physics
Photo: Laski Diffusion/East News/Getty Images
On May 5, 1981, USSR hero cosmonaut Major General Vladimir Kovalyonok (pictured far right) was just finished doing some outer space exercising in the Salyut orbital space station, when he looked out a porthole. Traveling alongside the station, he witnessed something inexplicable. Unlike in America, Kovalyonok was openly expressive of what he saw, describing it at a Moscow press conference when he came back to Earth:
“Many cosmonauts have seen phenomena which are far beyond the experiences of earthmen. For ten years I never spoke on such things. The encounter you ask me about happened on May 5, 1981, at about 6PM, during the Saljut Mission. At that time we were over the area of South Africa, moving towards the area of the Indian ocean. I just made some gymnastic exercises, when I saw in front of me, through a porthole, an object which I could not explain … I saw this object and then something happened that I could not explain, something impossible according to the laws of physics. The object had this shape, elliptical, and few with us. From a frontal view it looked like it would rotate in flight direction.
It only few straight, but then a kind of explosion happened, very beautiful to watch, of golden light. This was the first part. Then, one or two seconds later, a second explosion followed somewhere else and two spheres appeared, golden and very beautiful.
After this explosion, I just saw white smoke, then a cloud-like sphere. Before we entered the darkness, we flew through the terminator, the twilight zone between day and night. We flew eastwards, and when we entered the darkness of the Earth shadow, I could not see them any longer. The two spheres never returned.”
American Astronaut Leroy Chiao Witnesses Strange Lights
Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA (Getty).
In September, writing for Space.com, American Astronaut Leroy Chiao noted that it would be the “height of arrogance to believe we are alone.” In 2005, he was commander of the International Space Station for six and a half months. While installing antennas 230 miles above the Earth, he witnessed something he has yet to understand. “I saw some lights that seemed to be in a line and it was almost like an upside-down check mark,” he told the Huffington Post, “and I saw them fly by and thought it was awfully strange.” Some theorized those lights were simply those of a fishing boat hundreds of miles down, shooting upward.
Russian Cosmonaut Films UFO
Soviet Azerbaijani astronaut Musa Manarov spent 541 days in space during his career. One day in 1991 was different from all the rest. En route to the MIR space station, he caught a cigar-shaped UFO on camera. For two full minutes. He watched as it lit up at certain moments and spiraled through the cosmos.
They say in space you can’t tell whether something is up close or far away. Since you have no frame of reference, you can’t tell the size of an object because there is nothing to compare it with. Could this be a case of something massive and far away floating through space, or something small and up close? Manarov has adamantly denied that this UFO was simply space junk. Would you or wouldn’t you trust the man who broke the record for the longest continuous time spent in space?
Photo: TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images
Dr. Story Musgrave has six academic degrees, is a physician and mathematician, and was in the marine corps. He’s also a NASA astronaut who shares the record with most space flights at six, and has a LinkedIn account that will make you feel like shit. Along with all that, he boasts the most colorful UFO story ever told. In a 1994 interview, he told of his sighting:
“On two of my missions, and I still don’t have an answer, I have seen a snake out there. Six, seven, eight feel long. It is rubbery because it has internal waves in it, and it follows you for a rather long period of time. The more you fly in space the more you see an incredible amount of things out there, and that sort of thing brings to you, really, a certainty that other living creatures are out there.”
When asked what exactly he believes is out there, Musgrave gave this answer: “Living creatures far more developed as civilizations. They’ve been around for 100 million years, and we can’t even conceive how advanced they are and the kinds of things they’re doing. That’s why I make an effort to communicate, and might be considered eccentric because I do, because I know the probabilities are close to zero. But I do tell them to come down and get me.”
Gordon Cooper’s Multiple Sightings
Photo: Bryan Chan/Los Angeles Times (Getty).
Gordon Cooper was a cool-headed, soft spoken southern gentleman who has flown the Mercury 9 and the Gemini 5. He was the last American to spend time is space alone. He was also the recipient of more than one UFO sighting. In 1951, while flying with the Air Force, he and other pilots witnessed a “vast armada of UFOs flying in formation at extremely high altitudes.” This would be the first encounter of Cooper’s.
A decade later in May of 1963, Cooper shot into space aboard a Mercury capsule for a circumnavigational trip around the world. On his final orbit, while passing over Perth, he noticed a glowing green object jolt toward him at a high rate of speed. The object was real, at least according to the Muchea Tracking Station in Western Australia which picked it up on radar. Cooper reported the incident to the National Broadcasting Company. When he landed, NBC reports told him they couldn’t question him about the sighting.