The photograph below shows the first Apollo crew of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee wearing silly hats and acting less seriously than typical NASA publicity photos. All three were later killed in the Apollo 1 fire.

Besides obviously having fun, was there more to the story of this picture?

silly picture of Apollo 1 crew

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    $\begingroup$ I am not posting an answer, because I cannot refer directly to this particular pictures but: I have learned in human-spaceflight lectures that space agencies figured out quite early that the best way for the astronauts to handle stress is humor. Because of this, jokes and fun in ever stage of the mission AND before the mission is wanted and supported. This is why you can find "silly" pictures of diffenerent mission quite often. Indeed a good sense of humor is a key feature for beeing choosed as an astronaut. $\endgroup$
    – CallMeTom
    Jun 18, 2020 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


I suspect, though I cannot prove, that the photographer was using a fairly common trick for getting high-spirited groups to pose for serious photos. Promise them that you'll take a silly one as well as a serious one. If you do that, they won't play tricks like stealthy rude gestures, shifting each other's chairs, and so on when you're taking the serious photo. Normally, the silly picture is not circulated.

There are several photos online that look as if they were taken in the same session:

Serious Prayer


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