How astronaut twins smuggled a gorilla suit aboard the ISS

A viral tweet appears to show an extra-terrestrial ape chasing astronauts around the International Space Station, but it was actually a well-coordinated prank.

How astronaut twins smuggled a gorilla suit aboard the ISS

It was one small step for man, but a giant leap forward for costume manufacturers when NASA astronauts managed to smuggle a full-size gorilla suit aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

In footage that has recently gone viral on twitter, astronaut Scott Kelly was filmed wearing the costume while orbiting the planet in 2016 after he and his brother conspired to get the life-like suit on board for his space mission.

The footage has garnered international attention in recent days after filmmaker Todd Spence shared it on Twitter, showing Kelly drifting about in the zero-gravity conditions.

How did a gorilla suit end up on the International Space Station?

Todd’s video brought huge interest in the quirky space story, but in the accompanying tweet he actually mistold the story of how the gorilla suit ended up aboard the ISS.

‘Astronaut Mark Kelly once smuggled a full gorilla suit on board the International Space Station,’ the filmmaker tweeted. ‘He didn’t tell anyone about it. One day, without anyone knowing, he put it on.’

However this is not actually true. Metro reveals that the astronaut on the ISS at the time was actually Mark’s identical twin brother, Scott, and it was he who wore the suit. Mark’s involvement in the prank was to ensure that the suit was included in a care package sent to Scott during his year in space.

Astronauts were sometimes sent some personal items when supplies were sent up and Mark decided that his brother deserved a little treat. Once the package arrived, Scott hid from fellow astronaut Tim Peake and climbed into the super-realistic gorilla suit. As you can see from the video, Scott then proceeded to chase a presumably very confused Peake around the ISS.

Kelly was in space for a total of 340 days in the course of this single mission, equating to around 5,000 orbits around the earth, and the longest human US spaceflight. The purpose of the mission was to study how an extended period in space would affect the human body and his twin brother Mark, who remained on earth, was used for a comparison.

The study did find some differences between the two brothers after NASA’s longest spaceflight, although most of them subsided after around six months. One thing that remained the same in both brothers throughout their time apart was their sense of humour, as the extra-terrestrial gorilla suit prank shows.