Who is Gordon Cooper? The NASA astronaut kept a historic secret for decades

The astronaut who was the youngest of seven astronauts in Project Mercury kept a secret for 40 years and did not tell NASA about what he discovered

When astronomers or scientists are sent to a mission in space there are several programs and projects that they have to work on. An astronomer from NASA who was the test pilot and the youngest of seven astronauts in NASA's Project Mercury had kept an amazing secret for more than four decades. The details which were kept in the dark came out in public after a documentary revealed those information.

The NASA astronaut

The US aerospace engineer, Gordon Cooper who died in 2004 piloted the longest and last Mercury spaceflight, Mercury-Atlas 9 in 1963. During that 34-hour mission, the astronaut became the first American to spend an entire day in space and the first to sleep in space.

Cooper's mission came just one year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is also known as the Caribbean Crisis. It was a 13-day confrontation time between the US and then the Soviet Union, initiated by the discovery of Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba.

However, along with Cooper's usual NASA projects, the US government asked the astronaut to photograph as much of the earth as possible to get evidence of Soviet advancements and he captured more than 5000 pictures.

Mercury Suit Gordon Cooper
Mercury Suit Gordon Cooper Wikimedia commons

The mission of the astronaut

In a YouTube channel called "TheRichest," a mini-series revealed the details about Cooper's mission. While explaining the program, the narrator stated that the NASA astronaut, who was the part of the first human space program of US, was assigned to observe any effects zero gravity would have on the human body and then after some time he was asked to return to earth.

But the series revealed that the public were only aware of his two tasks but a lot of his mission objectives were classified, which includes capturing images. But it should be noted that there was another objective behind taking the pictures from space, which includes the task to locate Soviet nuclear bases as well as submarines.

Secret objective behind taking pictures

International Space Station
International Space Station Reuters

As per the docuseries, Cooper was asked to mark the potential Soviet location off the US coasts, which were invaluable information for the US defence at that time. But while searching for such destructive areas on earth, Cooper noticed several "anomalies" but apparently he did not disclose any details about them to the US space agency.

In the series, it was said that the astronaut noticed the "magnetic anomalies through the camera, but they weren't the correct size or shape to by nuclear-holding facilities and many were in the shallow waters around the Caribbean" and the bizarre marks made Cooper confused so he made another map which included all the anomaly locations on earth.

Gordon Cooper's secret

After completing his time in space when he came back to earth Cooper did not reveal any details about the anomalies to NASA but wanted to debunk them by himself. He kept it as a secret for 40 years and meanwhile set off for a self-provided mission to conduct an investigation.

"He realised many of these oddities were scattered through old Spanish ship trade routes, making him wonder if the blips were shipwrecks," the series revealed while adding that the late astronaut "looked up known ships that had sunk in those areas and from what he found, the research seemed to suggest that he was right."

History of the Spanish invasion

Here it needs to be mentioned that in the starting of 1492, Spain sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to explore and colonize the Amerindian nations of the Western Hemisphere. At that time it explored from Virginia on the eastern coast of US south to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America excluding Brazil and westward to California and Alaska. Later, between 1868 and 1878 Cubans personified by guerrilla fighters fought for autonomy from Spain.

However, on December 10, 1898, after the witnessing several wars Spain and US signed a peace treaty in Paris which established the independence of Cuba, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam to US.

Related topics : Nasa Space