The 20 Most Unsettling Things That Astronauts Have Experienced In Outer Space

Depending on how you count them, more than 560 people have traveled into space since the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the first-ever orbit of Earth in 1961. And in that almost 70-year period, space travelers have seen many strange things — some of which defy explanation. These brave souls have had their fair share of experiences that would give anybody the chills. So read on to find out about 20 extraordinarily creepy phenomena.

20. Snakes in space

Dr. Story Musgrave was no ordinary astronaut back in the day. For a start, he has six academic degrees and is the highest qualified man to have entered space. Six, it seems, is a favored number for the man, since he’s also had six space flights — one of the few astronauts to achieve that feat. But what’s truly fascinating about Musgrave is what he’s claimed to have seen when he was in space.

Slithering through the stars

In a 1994 interview still available on YouTube, Musgrave says, “On two of my missions — and I still don’t have an answer — I have seen a snake out there. Six, seven, eight feet long. It is rubbery because it has internal waves in it, and it follows you for a rather long 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.” And you can make of that what you will.

19. The gray space station that turned orange

Former Italian Air Force pilot Samantha Cristoforetti was the first from her nation to journey into space. Fittingly for an Italian, she was also the first astronaut to brew an espresso in space. In November 2014 she was on board the Soyuz TMA-15M with two colleagues bound for the International Space Station. And it was as her ship approached the station that she reportedly spotted something extremely weird.

Blame the Sun

If you look at photographs of the Space Station, you’ll see that it’s predominantly a silvery gray color. But Cristoforetti saw something altogether different. To her, the station was a vivid orange color. As she wrote in a blog post, “The enormous solar panels were inundated with a blaze of orange light – vivid, warm, almost alien.” Yet this was a mystery that was later solved. It’s a rarely seen phenomenon, but when the sun hits the space station’s solar panels in a particular way, an orange hue is cast over the structure.