NASA astronaut charged with kidnapping

Contributed by
Feb 6, 2007

So by now you've probably heard that a NASA astronaut evidently blew a fuse and is under arrest for kidnapping another woman. Yeah, you read that right.

This story is about as bizarre as it can be. Lisa Marie Nowak, a NASA Shuttle mission specialist who flew to the space station last year (and who is also a Navy captain) has had some sort of crush on a fellow astronaut for some time. I am not too sure this is all that clear yet, but apparently she felt that another woman was moving in on this guy. So she decided to kidnap the other woman... which meant driving 1500 kilometers from Houston to Orlando to capture her at the airport.

The story gets weird from there.

She put on a diaper so that she wouldn't have to stop for bathroom breaks. She was caught with a wig, a trenchcoat, a BB gun, latex gloves, and pepper spray when she accosted the other woman in the airport parking lot. She's being held without bail (as my friend Wheatner points out, "I suppose that's reasonable when the suspect could potentially leave the planet.")w

It is seriously tempting to laugh at all this, but then I read that she is married and a mother of three children. That's a big bucket of ice water thrown on this situation. But I can't help wondering what the atmosphere is like at NASA Public Affairs right now.

If you want more info, this story is everywhere. The Orlando Sentinel has a lot of details, as does the LA Times. But a search on Google News will turn up lots more. I'm at an astronomy meeting right now (these things always seem to happen when I don't have easy access to the 'net) but I'll try to stay on top of this.

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