Outer space is an exotic place that most of us will never get to explore. Only trained astronauts willing to spend months at a time floating around in a metal tube head into the mysteries of space. Because outer space is such a wild, wild west, our folk here on Earth hope that astronauts come back with some outlandish, baffling stories. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most extreme, wildest stories from our fellow astronauts.
The Mir Space Station Fire
Once on board the Mir space station in 1997, Jerry Linenger thought he was going to have a quiet night and tasty meal. Little did he know, he was about to live his biggest nightmare. A tank of fully combustible chemicals caught fire. This led to a raging inferno that engulfed the entire station. Linenger and his team didn’t waste any time and worked to prevent the fire from spreading further across the station. One mistake meant their demise. They prepared for an emergency escape and fought the fire for 14 minutes.
According to NASA, “The crew quickly donned oxygen masks, and Korzun began dousing the flame with foam from a fire extinguisher, as Linenger held him in place and the other crew members handed him two more extinguishers. The flame finally extinguished itself, with Korzun’s efforts preventing significant damage – although some of Kvant-1’s panels were charred. Over the next several hours, the station’s life support system cleared the smoke and life returned to normal aboard Mir following the worst in-orbit fire incident in the history of spaceflight.” Because of the narrow confines of the space station, it made it difficult for the team to fight the fire. But it didn’t take them long to contain the fire and save everyone’s life. Russian space officials made major changes to crew members’ training of fire and their responses (NASA).