In 1962, US Colonel John Glenn was launched into space in a capsule that orbited the Earth three times. There he saw something that changed his life on a spiritual level: tiny glowing spheres that danced around the capsule in an angelic way.
"I will try to describe what I am here in the middle of," he transmitted to Earth. “I am in the middle of a large agglomeration of small particles, they are brilliantly illuminated, as if they were luminescent. I’ve never seen anything like it. They surround me a bit, approach the capsule and look like little stars. A whole shower of them comes down on me ”. They were actually …
Pee and the Mercury program
Those spheres were glowing orbs that housed the knowledge of an alien civilization … no, it was just Glenn’s urine , which had frozen into perfectly spherical droplets when expelled from the capsule. Cosmic poetry of pee capable of moving.
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite. In response, NASA was created and one of the agency’s first initiatives was announced on December 17, 1958: the Mercury program , the objective of which was to bring man to Earth orbit, return him safely to Earth.
NASA received clearance from Eisenhower to recruit its first astronauts from among military test pilots. Candidates had to be under the age of 40, possess a Bachelor of Science degree or equivalent, and be 1.80 m or less (the only strictly imposed requirement was height, due to the size of the Mercury program spacecraft: Mercury capsules they were small and only had capacity for one crew member ).
Glenn’s flight was the third in the program, and the first to reach Earth orbit, and he was in the spacecraft for the 4 hours and 55 minutes that the flight lasted, and the almost four hours in which he had to wait in the launch pad to have various glitches fixed prior to launch.
John Glenn was one of the first seven NASA astronauts recruited for Project Mercury. Known as the Mercury 7s , alongside Glenn were Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shephard, Deke Slayton (the only one who did not fly in a Mercury capsule), Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra. Grissom would die in the Apollo I accident in 1967, and of all of them, only Shephard would go to the Moon, on the Apollo XIV mission.