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The Story behind The 'Most Terrifying Photo' Ever Taken In Space Is Chilling

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Most Terrifying Space Photo

What is the scariest event that has ever occurred in space and been documented on camera?

Well, NASA says it includes a lot of tension and an untethered astronaut named Bruce McCandless II

When the 80-year-old American astronaut and fellow astronaut Bob Stewart strapped themselves into Manned Manoeuvring Units (MMUs) and departed the comforts of their ship in 1984, they were the subject of the "most terrifying space photo."

These MMUs allowed the pair to move around open space untethered at around 28,900 kilometers per hour on 7 February, 1984.

Famous images from the Challenger space shuttle depict McCandless floating freely over Earth, which is unsettling for people who have Astrophobia.

McCandless told The Guardian that there had been tensions within NASA around the event 31 years after he became the first person in history to complete an untethered spacewalk.

"My wife was at mission control, and there was quite a bit of apprehension,” he explained.

The late Bostonian acknowledged that although it was viewed as a horrific event, it didn't feel as terrifying as it appeared.

"I wanted to say something similar to Neil [Armstrong] when he landed on the Moon, so I said, 'It may have been a small step for Neil, but it’s a heck of a big leap for me.' That loosened the tension a bit."

Nasa coined the picture the 'most terrifying space photo'. (Nasa)
Nasa coined the picture the 'most terrifying space photo'. (Nasa)

McCandless also quipped that although he'd been informed about the silent vacuum of space, things weren't quite serene because there were a lot of people on his radio asking a lot of questions.

In addition, he claimed that during his voyage, he was barely aware of how quickly he was traveling across space.

“My walk lasted six hours 45 minutes, and I stayed alongside the shuttle the whole time, moving 100 yards one way, 100 yards back,” he told the publication.

“I was travelling at more than 18,000 miles an hour, but wasn’t aware of it, because the shuttle was going at the same speed.

“It was only when I looked at the Earth that I could tell we were moving fairly rapidly.”

He went on to say that he once realized he was crossing the Florida peninsula and commented on how "reassuring" it was to see what he knew was below.

"It was a wonderful feeling, a mix of personal elation and professional pride: it had taken many years to get to that point.”

During his prime, McCandless—who passed away in late 2017—logged over 312 hours in space.

He worked for Lockheed Martin Space Systems after leaving NASA in 1990. On January 16, 2018, he was laid to rest in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis.