20 Eye-Popping Facts About NASA That Are Totally Out Of This World

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Image: Mat Hampson

Since President Dwight D. Eisenhower set up NASA in 1958, the space agency has been responsible for all kinds of scientific achievements. But beyond landing men on the moon and discovering new planets, there’s plenty about the organization you probably don’t know. These 20 eye-opening facts, for example, reveal some of the crazy truths behind NASA’s incredible history.

Image: NASA/JPL via Getty Images

20. NASA was once sued for landing on Mars

In 1997, three Yemeni men took legal action against NASA for landing a spacecraft on Mars. They claimed that they’d inherited the planet 3,000 years ago and could even back it up with the necessary documents. Of course, it didn’t take long for NASA to shoot down the ridiculous lawsuit. An international treaty signed in 1967 states that everything beyond Earth is the property of humanity, rather than a single nation – or three men.

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Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt via Getty Images

19. There’s a NASA program to protect aliens from human bacteria

Just in case we ever do find life beyond Earth, NASA has set up its own Office of Planetary Protection. That’s not to protect us from them, however. In fact, it’s actually to keep them safe from us, ensuring no bacteria traveling from Earth can contaminate the other planets.

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