LBJ & the Helium Filled Astronaut

This is truly a gem!

The Navy was experimenting with sending divers to deeper and deeper depths for longer and longer periods of time. One of these divers- the former astronaut Scott Carpenter- has just set a world record: he’s spent thirty days in the ocean at a depth of 200 feet.

A pre-arranged phone call to the White House is planned. The idea is to have President Lyndon Johnson offer Commander Carpenter a formal congratulation. This is a purely ceremonial call. It should be cut-and-dried. But there’s a bizarre problem. Commander Carpenter is no longer underwater; he’s in a decompression chamber. He’s breathing air in which nitrogen- the gas which can give people the bends- has been replaced by helium. Helium is harmless, but it distorts the voice. When he speaks, Commander Carpenter sounds like Mickey Mouse.

3 Comments

Comments are closed.