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NASA Causes Panic By Accidentally Airing Space Station Emergency Drill

The incident was compared to the infamous “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast.

NASA just scared the heck out of a lot of International Space Station (ISS) followers when it accidentally aired an emergency medical drill during a livestream.

According to CNBC, the livestream on Wednesday evening was abruptly interrupted by a speaker announcing that an astronaut on board the ISS was suffering extreme compression sickness and may need to be placed inside a spacesuit filled with pure oxygen. The voice reportedly advised ISS crew members to check the astronaut’s pulse one more time before proceeding and warned that the oxygen suit was only a “best effort treatment.” It said the astronaut’s prognosis was “relatively tenuous.”

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    The voice goes on to suggest a hospital in Spain that can provide better treatment, leading viewers to believe that the ISS had ordered an evacuation.

    The ISS took to X to clarify that the audio heard during the livestream was not real, just part of an ongoing simulation. The agency said crew members are all healthy and safe, and that they were actually in their sleep period during the mishap.

    Panicked livestream viewers shared relief that it was only a drill, with one comparing the incident to the infamous “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast where many listeners believed Earth really was being invaded by aliens. Another user said the incident “inadvertently just cost NASA immense public confidence.”

    The NASA snafu comes as the ISS is playing host to Boeing’s Starliner capsule, which has been forced to extend its stay due to more technical issues. The ship, Boeing’s first ever human space launch, was originally scheduled to return to Earth on Friday but now that return trip has been pushed back to June 18. According to Reuters, that extra time will give NASA more flexibility to address the Starliner’s component problems, potentially unfavorable weather conditions, and ISS scheduling conflicts like spacewalks.

    As both NASA and Boeing work to address ongoing problems with the Starliner, at least they don’t have a scary medical emergency happening at the same time.

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