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Why is Money Stuck to the Wall of the International Space Station?

By Keith Cowing
December 10, 2003
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Why is Money Stuck to the Wall of the International Space Station?
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There are all sorts of things stuck to the walls of the International Space Station – tubes of garlic paste, hot sauce, chocolate bars, flags, Ketchup, Russian icons, etc.

This one needs a little explanation.

If you look at the upper right hand corner of this 23 Nov 2003 photo taken inside the Service Module you will see a One dollar bill and a 50 Ruble note clipped together on the wall.

You can also see the 50 Ruble note alone just over Mike Foale’s head in this photo taken on 7 November 2003 (note the some what past-ripe oranges and dark chocolate on the wall behind him).

The money seems to have appeared with the arrival of the Expedition 8 crew. A look at a 21 June 2003 photo of the same part of the wall shows no money – but Ed Lu’s lifesaver candies, hot sauce, wasabi peas, and garlic paste are in clear view.

Given that Pedro Duque did not leave a Euro note behind, this seems to be something between Mike Foale and Alexander Kaleri.

Given the current exchange rate of 1.00 USD = 30 RUR, does this represent:

  • A poker bet?
  • A swear jar?
  • Money stuffed into Soyuz couch liners?
  • Earth’s first space bank?

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.