You are looking at a corned beef sandwich sitting on a table in Gus Grissom Memorial Museum, Indiana. It is a memento from space that is preserved in resin. Although it seems quite ordinary, it could have killed two astronauts in space in 1965.
You might think that how this tiny sandwich can kill people. In 1965, John Young was getting ready for Gemini 3 launch, the first ever two-man space mission by NASA. Shortly before the launch, Young hid this sandwich in his spacesuit.
During the space mission of Gemini 3, astronaut Young took out the corned beef sandwich from his spacesuit to eat. Now there is no problem with the sandwich unless you are miles and miles out of Earth’s gravity in the space.
Grissom, Young’s fellow astronaut, found this quite amusing and remarked.
“After the flight our superiors at NASA let us know in no uncertain terms that non-man-rated corned beef sandwiches were out for future space missions. But John’s deadpan offer of this strictly non-regulation goodie remains one of the highlights of our flight for me.”
Both the astronauts enjoyed a bite of the sandwich before putting it away. Soon they realized that its floating crumbs could severely damage the spacecraft’s electronics. Grissom said,
“I took a bite, but crumbs of rye bread started floating all around the cabin.”
Young and Grissom were reprimanded when they returned from their mission. Future astronauts were categorically warned to never pull a stunt of this kind ever again!
The duo said in an interview with LIFE magazine,
“It’s breaking up. I am going to stick it in my pocket,” said Grissom after a bite of the sandwich.
“It was a thought, anyway… not a very good one,” John Young replied, “Pretty good though, if it would just hold together.”
Well, of course, there was no gravity to keep the crumbs of bread stuck together, so it was a wise decision. It was a silly, yet an amusing stunt pulled off by the astronaut John Young. Here, watch the video below for more details!