Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds up two objects that look like grenades as part of an April Fools' Day prank today (April 1, 2013).
Credit: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield (Cmdr_Hadfield)
Astronauts may take space travel seriously, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to cut loose on April Fools' Day.
Take, for example, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, the current commander of the International Space Station. Already known for posting amazing and fun photos of life in space, Hadfield snapped a photo of himself floating in weightlessness with two odd, round items he found on the space station today (April 1) and wondered, tongue definitly in cheek, just what they might be.
"Who gave the Commander 2 grenades? (okay … maybe they're just air grab sample bottles)," Hadfield wrote in a Twitter post today (April 1). The small round bottles are just routine, harmless tools for life on the space station.
This wasn't Hadfield's only way of getting into the April Fools' Day spirit. He also played an elaborate prank involving an alien on his Twitter followers.
In fact, one of the newest crewmembers on the station — NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy — preempted April Fools' Day with his own prank. When the three astronauts already on board the International Space Station welcomed Cassidy and his two crewmates to their new home early Friday morning (March 29), the joking spaceflyer pulled out a felt mustache to match Hadfield's.
"It's great to see two Chrises on orbit," said one person on the ground during the post-hatch-opening briefing Friday. "We almost didn't recognize you with that mustache you were sporting."
When fully staffed, the space station is home to an international crew of six astronauts. Construction began on the orbiting outpost in 1998 and was assembled by 15 countries and five different space agencies.
Hadfield and Cassidy are joined by Russian cosmonauts Roman Romanenko, Alexander Misurkin, Pavel Vinogradov and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn on board the $100 billion laboratory. Together, they make up the Expedition 35 crew.
Romanenko, Hadfield and Marshburn arrived at the space station in December and are due to return to Earth in May, with Vinogradov taking command after their departure.