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

By Keith Cowing
December 10, 2003
Filed under
Why is Money Stuck to the Wall of the International Space Station?

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.