We’ve seen the first person to step foot on the moon, the first Mars landing, the first space tourist, and now: the first alleged crime in space.
Mid-orbit, astronaut Anne McClain floated in front of a NASA computer and pulled up an online banking log-in page. She tapped in a username and password and waited. It worked: while suspended inside the International Space Station, McClain logged into a bank account that wasn’t hers.*
The account actually belonged to Summer Worden—her ex.
Back on earth, Worden noticed something was off. McClain started asking odd questions about Worden’s finances—about the car she’d bought recently, about how she could afford it.
Since she’d worked as an Air Force intelligence officer in the past, it didn’t take Worden long to connect the dots. She asked her bank to provide the locations of computers that had accessed her bank account lately. And one ping stood out: a NASA computer.
McClain and her lawyer insisted she was just keeping tabs on the funds in Worden’s account so that there was sufficient support for the child that McClain and Worden were raising. She said she always had the log-in info, and Worden had always known. Though there was no sign any money was moved or withdrawn, Worden argues McClain committed identity theft and accused her of ‘improper access to Worden’s private financial records.'
For context: McClain and Worden were in the midst of a tense separation when the alleged hack occurred, and the two have been locked in a parenting dispute for about a year. Plus, McClain was about to participate in NASA’s first all-women spacewalk. But after the accusations broke, NASA announced McClain was off the walk. They said this has nothing to do with extraterrestrial crimes--they just don’t have enough spacesuits in the correct size. Makes sense! NASA’s 2019 budget is a lean $21 billion.
As of now, McClain’s returned to the Blue Planet. She’s been interviewed by the inspector general and continues to deny Worden’s accusations.
But of course, the story’s raising a few questions: space outlaws are a thing now? There’s interstellar WiFi? What do I do with this information? What does this say about the modern world universe?
Who knows? But the phrase ‘lesbian space criminal’ is now in my vocabulary—and now it’s also in yours. Enjoy your day.
*This description is dramatized—obviously. There aren’t any details available about the moments in which McClain logged onto the account.
Top image screenshot courtesy of NBC News
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Jay Graham is a freelance writer from Seattle. Their work explores politics and pop culture with a focus on gender, queerness, music, and horror.