This Astronaut Discovered Caches Of Treasure While Up In Space And Kept Them Secret Until His Death

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Image: NASA via CBC / NASA

Gordon Cooper Jr. was a brave and skilled astronaut – almost the stereotype of an all-American good guy. But on one of his missions for NASA he actually discovered something extraordinary – and none of his colleagues knew anything about it. In fact, it wasn’t until well after his death in 2004 that the story finally came out.

Image: Fernand Gigon/Three Lions/Getty Images

Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper Jr. was born in 1927 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Cooper’s father was a USAF man who served in both world wars – which was a clue as to what the future held for his son. The boy was less than nine years old when his dad took him up on a flight and gave him a turn at the controls. But when Cooper graduated from high school in 1945, there were no places available in military flying schools, so he opted to join the Marines.

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Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Cooper joined too late to see action in World War II, though, and he was honorably discharged from the Marines. In 1949 he would be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the army, but he then transferred to the United States Air Force later that year. At last he was able to begin training as a pilot.

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