NASA Workers: Flying High on Cocaine?

By Smriti Rao | January 15, 2010 2:38 pm

KSC-orbiter-discoveryFlying high, NASA style!

One of the space agency’s employees seems to have been inspired by the space shuttle’s soaring trajectory. A baggie containing a small amount of white powder residue, later found to be cocaine, was found at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Way to go, NASA-employee-doing-coke-on-premises. You have forever altered our image of clean-cut astronauts standing around in space suits, chatting with diligent rocket scientists. But NASA is not so amused.

According to CNN, Bob Cabana, the director of Kennedy Space Center, issued a terse statement that read in part:

“This is a rare and isolated incident, and I’m disappointed that it happened, but it should not detract from the outstanding work that is being done by a dedicated team on a daily basis.”

About 200 employees and contractors have access to the restricted hangar where the drug was found, and they’re now being being tested for the drug. For NASA, the incident is not just a blow to its image–the drug’s presence in a restricted area also raises questions about the work done by NASA’s elite workers. The hangar is being used to prepare for space shuttle Discovery‘s launch, which is scheduled for this March.

The Internet, meanwhile, is tittering with amusement, with one reader commenting on a news article: “There’s just so much coke in Florida, this bit probably just settled there, like pollen or something. Although! I think it makes for a great new sitcom idea. Miami Vice, Interstellar Unit!”

Related Content:
80beats: NASA Considers Keeping Space Shuttles in Flight Past 2010
80beats: Cocaine Scrambles Gene’s Behavior in the Brain’s Pleasure Center
80beats: Pepper Spray and Cocaine Make Lethal Combo
80beats: One-Third of U.S. Cocaine Tainted with Dangerous Livestock Drug

Image: Kennedy Space Center

  • http://www.discofood.co.uk Disco Stu

    So that’s what the moons made of!

    Great Post, made me chuckle!

  • Calli Arcale

    Heh — so that’s why they call it a “high bay”.

    That is very concerning, though. At least it was found near the bathrooms and presumably not in a cleanroom area. Nevermind any staff with impaired judgment; they freak out about housedust possibly getting into the Orbiter’s payload bay. An uncontrolled source of dust? Shows poor discipline about cleanroom controls, and that could itself point to systemic problems that could be more serious.

  • Brian Too

    That’s why they always wear the white suits! It all makes sense now!

  • steve

    Will this make them get to Mars faster?

  • http://russellabbott.blogspot.com Russell

    Meh. A little coke would probably help me do physics problems. Paul Erdos certainly managed some serious mathematics doing amphetamines for 20 years.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »