This is a corned beef sandwich sitting on a table in Gus Grissom Memorial Museum, Indiana. It is a souvenir from space that is preserved in resin. It looks ordinary, but it is not at all, it could have killed two astronauts in space in 1965.
In 1965, John Young was getting ready for Gemini 3 launch, the first ever two-man space mission by NASA. Just after the launch, Young sneaked this sandwich in his spacesuit. 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 after 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.”
Check out the video below for more details.