11 Eye-Opening NASA Wakeup Calls

NASA has been waking up astronauts using music since the Apollo Program. Sometimes those wakeup calls get pretty weird.

1. STS-111 - "I Got You Babe" from Groundhog Day

On June 19, 2002, the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour awoke to a tinny rendition of "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, taken from the Groundhog Day soundtrack. This song was chosen because the crew, much like Bill Murray's character in Groundhog Day, was caught in a loop, repeating the previous day's deorbit activities, hoping to land that day if weather cooperated. In Groundhog Day, Murray's character was repeatedly awakened by "I Got You Babe" at 6am each morning. NASA's history notes (emphasis added):

For commander Ken Cockrell this was his third mission in a row where he's stayed in orbit for an additional two days in the hopes of good weather in Florida. On STS-80 the landing finally cooperated and he landed in Florida, for STS-98 and STS-111 he landed at the alternate site in California.

You can hear the wakeup (WAV file), including a nod to Groundhog Day at the end.

Although "I Got You Babe" was the last wakeup call for STS-111, its first was "Gettin' Jiggy wit It" by Will Smith. Smith's song was intended for Mission Specialist Valery Korzun, who took command of the International Space Station that day.

2. STS-44 - Patrick Stewart

On November 25, 1991, the crew of Atlantis was treated to an extended wakeup call recorded by Patrick Stewart, who was four years into his star turn as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the TNG theme played, Stewart intoned:

"Space: the final frontier.
This is the voyage of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Its ten-day mission:
To explore new methods of remote sensing and observation of the planet Earth...
To seek out new data on radiation in space, and a new understanding of the effects of microgravity on the human body...
To boldly go where two hundred and fifty-five men and women have gone before!"

"Hello Fred, Tom, Story, Jim, Tom, and especially Mario -- this is Patrick Stewart, choosing not to outrank you as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, saying that we are confident of a productive and successful mission. Make it so."

Mission Specialist Mario Runco was a Trek fan, you see.

3. STS-26 - Robin Williams

On September 30, 1988, actor Robin Williams woke the crew by announcing, "Good morning, Discovery!" in the style of his 1987 hit movie Good Morning, Vietnam. This was the first wakeup call of the first Shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster in 1986, so a little levity was called for. After that intro, a modified version of the "Green Acres" theme played, with newly recorded Shuttle-appropriate lyrics, followed by two other songs. (Details of the lyrics and the other two songs are not listed in NASA's historical record.)

4. STS-9 - All Work and No Play

The crew of STS-9 worked around the clock in shifts from November 28 through December 8, 1983. Because of this, no wakeup calls were transmitted. (STS-9 was the Shuttle mission carrying the first Spacelab module to orbit; it also contained the largest crew of any space mission to date -- six men.) A similar round-the-clock schedule was maintained on STS-51-F in 1985 and many other missions afterwards.

5. STS-29 - William Shatner

On March 16, 1989, the Discovery crew started their day with the "Star Trek" theme, then comments from William Shatner congratulating the astronauts on their mission. Mission Control then played fight songs from various crew members' alma maters. Finally CAPCOM G. David Low said, "Discovery, [this is] Houston -- beam me up, Scotty!"

Shatner made another wakeup call for STS-133 on March 7, 2011:

6. STS-29 - Kids

I'll just quote NASA's history of wakeup calls directly for this adorable moment from March 18, 1989:

Mission Control sent recordings of astronauts' children shouting such things as "Get up, Dad, get out of bed and get to work" and "Hi, daddy, this is your darling daughter telling you to wake up." This was followed by "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. The crew responded with "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel.

Discovery landed safely later that day, concluding STS-29. Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" has been played five times for returning astronauts.

7. STS-37 - Tom Selleck as "Magnum PI"

On April 11, 1991 the Atlantis crew was greeted by the "Magnum PI" theme song, followed by Tom Selleck greeting Mission Specialist Linda Goodwin: "Good morning, and a special wakeup to Linda. This is Tom Selleck and I hope you had a nice night's sleep, but it's time to get up and go to work." The crew landed safely later that day, and NASA's history notes that Goodwin was "a big Selleck fan."

8. STS-53 - The Singing Dogs

The crew of STS-53 were known unofficially as "Dog Crew I," after dubbing themselves the "Dogs of War," because their flight was supposed to be the last one devoted to Defense Department work. For their first wakeup call of the mission on December 3, 1992, Mission Control played a version of "Jingle Bells" performed by The Singing Dogs, a creation of Dr. Demento. Carl Meade at Mission Control said, "Crew dogs, wake up. We got work to do." Commander David Walker responded, "Good morning, Carl. Dogs of War are wide awake." The next morning the crew was greeted with "I Wanna Be a Dog" by Nancy Cassidy.

Interestingly, there was a Dog Crew II on STS-69. Starting on September 8, 1995 that crew was treated to a series of dog-themed wakeup calls, including "Hound Dog" by Elvis, the "Scooby Doo" theme, "Bingo" (performed by Pilot Kenneth Cockrell's five-year-old daughter's kindergarten class), the "Rin Tin Tin" theme, "A Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles, the "Underdog" theme song, "He's a Tramp" from Lady and the Tramp, and finally "Snoopy's Theme" from Peanuts. In 2001, Cockrell was subjected to "Who Let the Dogs Out" as a tribute to his time on the Dog Crew II. You can hear Cockrell's bemused reaction (WAV file) to the song, following an awkward exchange with Mission Control.

9. STS-107 - "Amazing Grace"

STS-107 was Columbia's last flight; the orbiter broke up upon reentry and all seven crew members were killed, making the string of wakeup calls on their mission extremely poignant. Midway through the mission, on January 19, 2003, "Amazing Grace" was played for Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, who was on her first spaceflight. The same song had been played on bagpipes at her wedding, and was later played at her funeral. On the same morning, Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" was played for Pilot William "Willie" McCool.

Later during the mission, on January 29, 2003, John Lennon's "Imagine" was played for McCool and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut. McCool and Ramon noted that from orbit, no borders on Earth were visible, and that the astronauts hoped the people of Earth could live in peace. Ramon proceeded to translate words from the song in Hebrew. "Imagine" was played at Ramon's funeral, ending with a recording of Ilan's voice from the Shuttle, speaking Lennon's words in Hebrew: "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." You can hear an MP3 of the song and the astronauts' remarks, though it may make you weep.

10. "Star Wars" Theme

Perhaps the most predictable wakeup song imaginable was the "Star Wars" theme composed by John Williams. Various "Star Wars" music was played eight times for NASA wakeup calls, starting in 1984, then proceeding through missions in 1988, 1993, 1996 (both the main theme and "Darth Vader's Theme"), 1999, 2007, and 2009. That 2009 song (MP3) was actually the "Cantina Band" theme, which the crew referred to as a "loony wakeup song" (I can only hope it's NASA's policy to emphasize that Han shot first).

11. STS-135 - "Good Day Sunshine," "Man on the Moon," "Rocket Man," "Run the World (Girls)"

The last Shuttle mission featured lots of great music, including a special wakeup message from Elton John along with "Rocket Man," a perennial NASA favorite. Beyoncé greeted the crew with "Run the World (Girls)" and a recorded message. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. sang an a cappella version of their hit song "Man on the Moon" and commented, "I recorded 'Man on The Moon' for NASA in Venice, Italy, where Galileo first presented to the Venetian government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote 'The Starry Messenger' (Sidereus Nuncius), an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe." The capper came on July 15, 2011, when Sir Paul McCartney woke the crew, saying "Good morning guys, wake up! And good luck on this, your last mission. Well done," after The Beatles' song "Good Day Sunshine" played. The last wakeup song for the Shuttle program was Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" performed by Kate Smith, and Mission Control staff stood at attention as it played. Although the Shuttle program has ended, the ISS still receives regular wakeup calls.

You can see video of all the STS-135 wakeup calls!

Lots More

This list is just scratching the surface of the amazing wakeup call history compiled by NASA Historian Colin Fries. You can read his history (PDF link) for tons more, which also includes links to many of the more modern wakeup call recordings. I should also note that the Beach Boys appear dozens of times, and Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" shows up a lot too.

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6 Signs You're Getting Hangry
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Hangry (adjective): Bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger. This portmanteau (of hungry and angry) is not only officially recognized as a word by the Oxford English Dictionary, but it's also recognized by health experts as a real physiological state with mood-altering consequences.

That hangry feeling results from your body's glucose level dropping, putting you into a state of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Glucose is the body's primary source of energy, so when you don't have enough, it affects your brain and other bodily functions, including the production of the hormones insulin and glucagon, which help regulate blood sugar. Check out the symptoms below to see if you've crossed over into the hanger danger zone.

1. IT TAKES EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER JUST TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.

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Glucose equals energy, so when your blood sugar levels are low, you may start wishing you were back in bed with the shades drawn. If you start feeling sluggish or tired even though you’re well-rested, you might just need to eat something.

2. THE EASIEST ITEM ON YOUR TO-DO LIST SEEMS LIKE AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK …

It’s hard to concentrate when all you can think about is whether you're going to order the fish or beef tacos for lunch. The distraction goes beyond fantasies about food, though. The brain derives most of its energy from glucose, so when it's low on fuel, a serious case of brain fog can set in. Confusion and difficulty speaking are among the more serious symptoms you may experience when you're hangry.

3. … AND YOU HAVE A BAD CASE OF WORD VOMIT.

Blame this on brain fog too. The gray matter in your noggin goes a little haywire when blood sugar is in short supply. That's why you may start stuttering or slurring your words. You might also have difficulty finding your words at all—it can feel like your mouth and brain are disconnected.

4. YOU’RE SHAKING LIKE A LEAF AND FEEL LIGHTHEADED.

Tremors and dizziness are both signs that you should pay closer attention to your body, which is screaming, "Feed me!" Once again, low blood sugar is often the culprit of trembling hands and feeling faint, and exhaustion and stress make the symptoms worse.

5. YOUR COWORKERS SEEM ESPECIALLY ANNOYING.

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You’re tense and irritable, and it’s starting to show. Hunger causes your body to release cortisol and adrenaline, the same hormones responsible for stress. This can put you on edge and lower your tolerance for other people’s quirks and irksome habits, which suddenly seem a lot less bearable.

6. YOU SNAPPED AT YOUR FRIEND OR PARTNER FOR NO GOOD REASON.

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Not only are you irritable, but you’re more likely to lash out at others because of it. The doses of adrenaline and cortisol in your body can induce a fight-or-flight response and make you go on the attack over matters that—if you had some food in you—would seem unimportant.

So what should you do if these descriptions sound all too familiar? Eat a snack, pronto—one with complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. The first one brings up your blood sugar level, and the other two slow down how fast the carbohydrates are absorbed, helping you to avoid a sugar crash and maintain a normal blood sugar level. Eating small meals every few hours also helps to keep hanger at bay.

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Astronomers Discover 12 New Moons Around Jupiter
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As the largest planet with the largest moon in our solar system, Jupiter is a body of record-setting proportions. The fifth planet from the Sun also boasts the most moons—and scientists just raised the count to 79.

A team of astronomers led by Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute for Science confirmed the existence of 12 additional moons of Jupiter, 11 of which are “normal” outer moons, according to a statement from the institute. The outlier is being called an “oddball” for its bizarre orbit and diminutive size, which is about six-tenths of a mile in diameter.

The moons were first observed in the spring of 2017 while scientists looked for theoretical planet beyond Pluto, but several additional observations were needed to confirm that the celestial bodies were in fact orbiting around Jupiter. That process took a year.

“Jupiter just happened to be in the sky near the search fields where we were looking for extremely distant solar system objects, so we were serendipitously able to look for new moons around Jupiter while at the same time looking for planets at the fringes of our solar system,” Sheppard said in a statement.

Nine of the "normal" moons take about two years to orbit Jupiter in retrograde, or counter to the direction in which Jupiter spins. Scientists believe these moons are what’s left of three larger parent bodies that splintered in collisions with asteroids, comets, or other objects. The two other "normal" moons orbit in the prograde (same direction as Jupiter) and take less than a year to travel around the planet. They’re also thought to be chunks of a once-larger moon.

The oddball, on the other hand, is “more distant and more inclined” than the prograde moons. Although it orbits in prograde, it crosses the orbits of the retrograde moons, which could lead to some head-on collisions. The mass is believed to be Jupiter’s smallest moon, and scientists have suggested naming it Valetudo after the Roman goddess of health and hygiene, who happens to be the great-granddaughter of the god Jupiter.

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