Back in 2016, the twin celebrity astronaut brothers Mark and Scott Kelly pulled off the greatest prank in the history of the ISS and space travel. The prank was the brainchild of retired astronaut and current Arizona senator Mark, who sent Scott a secret gorilla suit during a standard cargo delivery. Scott then used that suit to terrorize other members of the ISS to hilarious effect, even the Russians.
Greatest space prank ever pulled in the history of International Space Station pic.twitter.com/i23GaBNlxR— Historic Vids (@historyinmemes) February 22, 2023
"I was on the phone with my brother one day and he said, 'Hey, I'm sending you a gorilla suit,'" Scott told People Magazine. "And I said, 'Why?' And he goes, 'Because there's never been a gorilla in space before.'"
It makes sense that Scott was on board to have a little fun. "It was the end of my year in space," he says, "so you need a little humor." Scott was stationed on the ISS from March of 2015 to 2016; the longest time anyone has ever spent in space.
But a recent reposting of the video has some people questioning the finances of the prank; namely the tax dollars spent on shooting the suit into space. This tweet uses data from NASA to estimate the cost of sending four extra pounds worth of costume to the ISS. That number comes out to $56,683.
Tax dollars spent right. pic.twitter.com/rrxJbPyWRO— The Bud Mahrko (@Mahrko_Edits) February 22, 2023
While that number may seem like a lot to the average person, it is virtually irrelevant when compared to the weight of an entire rocket. Other tweets point out that astronauts have an allowance of personal items they can bring with them.
i believe all astronauts get an allocation of weight that they can send to the ISS for personal things, this is around 3-4 pounds i believe— doner (@doner1ght27m) February 23, 2023
They send supplies up the ISS in set intervals. They try to avoid wasted space, so they cram as much stuff into the pods as possible, because it costs the same amount no matter what.— Bread man (@Breadman22222) February 23, 2023
They had some extra space, so they crammed the gorilla suit in.
What if the astronaut lost 4 pounds before the flight to account for the cost of the prank— Tyler Landrum (@TylerLandrum4) February 23, 2023
The gorilla suit ultimately used for the prank wasn't even the first one the brothers attempted to send to space, as their original was destroyed in the 2015 unmanned Space X rocket explosion. "I'm sending you another gorilla suit," Mark told Scott immediately following the accident.
Astronauts are some of society's most amazing people, who have earned the resources we put towards their endeavors. It's well within their right to terrorize their colleges with a gorilla suit, even if it technically costs $56,683.