Universe Puzzle No. 13

How did you do in last week’s Universe Puzzle? Did you figure out an answer, but didn’t write up your reasons why it was the best?

Do you enjoy these puzzles? What do you particularly like? Dislike? Would like to see changed? Would like to see more of? Let me know please!

Once again, this week’s puzzle requires you to cudgel your brains a bit and do some lateral thinking (five minutes spent googling likely won’t be enough). But, as with all Universe Puzzles, this is a puzzle on a “Universal” topic – astronomy and astronomers; space, satellites, missions, and astronauts; planets, moons, telescopes, and so on.

Say you’re at a friend’s place for a party. They’re playing some 60’s rock music, and a catchy song comes round. You wonder who the band is, and someone says “it’s the most famous 60’s band that you’ve never heard of!” (perhaps it’s Herman’s Hermits).

Well, this week’s Universe Puzzle is:

Who is the most famous astronaut you’ve never heard of?

And for ‘astronaut’ let’s include cosmonauts, taikonauts, and so on.

Be sure to explain your pick.

Update: answer posted below.

There certainly is not just one best answer!

You, dear commenters, are the judges: which of the answers below do you think is the best?

Universe Puzzle will be taking a bit of break, so there won’t be one next week. However, I really would appreciate your feedback: which of the 13 puzzles so far did you most like? which did you least like? what sort of puzzles would you like to see in future?

22 Replies to “Universe Puzzle No. 13”

  1. For me it has to be Karl Gordon Henize (1926-1993).

    He did heaps of astronomy in the southern hemisphere, discovered a whole heap of planetary nebula (HEN or He2-), H-alpha objects (He2- and He-3), He4- (being S-type stars nearly all finding technetium in their spectra) and other objects in the Magellanic Clouds in the 1960s.

    He joined NASA during the 1967, and made studies into various ultraviolet optical systems and astronomical systems suited to the manned space flight program and tested during the end of the Gemini space project. He later became an astronaut himself as a scientist-astronaut, being back up for Apollo 15 and the Skylab missions.

    Henize travel once into space in July 1985 on the Challenger STS-51 as a mission specialist with Spacelab.

    He sadly died just after midnight on the 5th October 1993 while climbing the north face of Mount Everest from a high altitude pulmonary edema – doing what he loved – climbing mountains.

    See his NASA Biography.

    See someone with a good full life doing interesting things throughout ones life – he is one of the best!

  2. Who is the most famous …astronaut you’ve never heard of?

    Any person who has been brave enough to have gone into space!

  3. Yrblickolony Freesquashtomuasopulapula.

    he/she/it is from the Nerbleth system in Quadrant 4 of the Fremula galaxy.

    inventor of Gerbaflootsteen drive and the first astronaut to achieve warp 25.

    Given that there are infinite universes out there with infinite Astronauts, he HAS to be in One of them.

  4. I think it was a Chinaman, Wan Hu, in 16th Century; according to legend, he rode a rocket sled with 47 gunpowder-filled rockets. The alleged flight is said to have been interrupted by an explosion at the start, and the pilot was never found — maybe he’s still in orbit! đŸ˜‰

  5. I can’t name him/her because I have never heard of him/her and he/she hasn’t logged a second in space yet. I vote for whoever is the first human on Mars.

  6. Correction, I should say “probably hasn’t logged a second in space yet” since I don’t know when we are going to go to Mars.

  7. Egads, IVAN3MAN, “Chinaman?” What century are you from?

    I’ll go for the first person to land on Titan, Enceladus, or Europa.

  8. The first man to ever reach space on muscle power would certainly run off with the title: Icarus. He suffered a rather long drop back to earth once the wax of his wings melted due to getting too close to the sun…

  9. I would vote for Boris Volinov. I was not familiar with him, until the last Yuri’s night back in April, when he came to israel to lecture. there are many Russians in Israel, and all knew him. He is very famous there, much less in the west. Also he was the first Jewish astronaut, so he has a warm place in Israel.

  10. ANSWER: Darth Vader
    Have you ever heard that Darth Vader was an astronaut?
    Me neither… but technically he is.

    Definition of an astronaut = A person trained to pilot, navigate, or otherwise participate as a crew member of a spacecraft. (doesn’t say it can’t be fiction)

  11. Oh yeah, and he’s obviously the most famous – the Star Wars film series is the highest grossing film of all time that includes an ‘astronaut’. And DV’s in all 6 of them…

  12. Betty Skelton (Franklin) (Erde)

    Google her, or see

    Right Stuff up one side and down the other, completed the Mercury 7 training, promoted one of the hottest sports cars ever made, ruled the skies — barefoot — in her Pitts Special, and paved the way for every woman NASA has subsequently launched into space.

  13. Sergei Krikalyov

    Currently holds the record for longest time spent in space at 803 days.

    He has not visited space, he has lived there.

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