NASA Astronauts Shave Heads After U.S. World Cup Loss to Germany (Photos, Video)

Three International Space Station crewmembers line up after two had their heads shaved
From left to right: NASA's Steve Swanson, German astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA's Reid Wiseman line up after Gerst shaved both NASA astronauts' heads to even a bet the NASA astronauts lost after the United States lost to Germany in a World Cup match on June 26, 2014. (Image credit: NASA / ESA / Alexander Gerst Twitter)

For two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station, losing a bet meant losing their hair.

NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson got a space-based head shaving yesterday courtesy of German crewmember Alexander Gerst. The three spaceflyers wagered on the United States-Germany World Cup match on Thursday (June 26), which Germany won 1-0. (You can watch a video of the World Cup head shaving as well.)

"Our condolences on your loss today for Steve and Reid," someone from NASA's Mission Control in Houston radioed up to the station before the shaving. "Flight wanted to point out that bald is more aerodynamic when flying."

The three astronauts had a friendly wager going as the two teams faced off: If Germany lost, Swanson and Wiseman would get the chance to draw an American flag on Gerst's (already bald) head, but because the U.S. national soccer team fell to the European nation 1-0, Gerst got the chance to shave Wiseman and Swanson bald. 

German astronaut Alexander Gerst shaves NASA astronaut Steve Swanson's head after the United States fell to Germany in a World Cup game on June 26, 2014. (Image credit: NASA / ESA / Alexander Gerst Twitter)

The three space station crewmembers posted photos of the shaving on social media. One of the images even shows a World Cup match playing on the computer in the background. "It was nice to wake up this morning and not worry about my hair. There isn’t any," Wiseman wrote on Twitter Friday (June 27).

Wiseman, Gerst and Swanson have been showing off their soccer spirit all week. On Wednesday (June 25), NASA released a video of the three astronauts playing a microgravity version of the sport in the modules of the space laboratory. The three crewmembers performed their versions of a goal celebration dance, and NASA's Robonaut 2 — the humanoid robot designed to eventually help the astronauts with space station work — also did a little jig for the camera.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst shaves NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman's head on the International Space Station after the United States lost to Germany in the World Cup on June 26, 2014. (Image credit: NASA / Reid Wiseman Twitter)

Even though the U.S. lost the match against Germany, the Americans will continue on in the tournament — which happens every four years — because they ranked high enough in their group to advance.

Wiseman, Swanson and Gerst are joined on the space station by three cosmonauts: Alexander Skvortsov, Oleg Artemyev and Maxim Suraev. The six crewmembers make up the station's Expedition 40 crew.

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.