NASA Investigating Possible First Ever Crime Committed In Space
NASA is reportedly investigating allegations one of its astronauts hacked her estranged spouse's bank account from space.
Summer Worden is accusing her soon-to-be-ex-wife Anne McClain, a decorated NASA astronaut, of identity theft and accessing her private financial records from the International Space Station, the New York Times reports.
She has reportedly filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and NASA's Office of Inspector General.
McClain was recently on a six-month mission aboard the ISS but has since returned to Earth. The NY Times reports she acknowledged accessing the account, but denied any wrongdoing.
"There's unequivocally no truth to these claims," McClain wrote on Twitter, adding the couple have been going through a "painful, personal separation that's now unfortunately in the media".
The couple married at the end of 2014, but have been involved in a custody battle over Worden's six-year-old son.
Worden, reportedly a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, resisted allowing McClain to adopt the child, who was born a year before the pair met.
In 2018, Worden later filed for divorce, after McClain accused her of assault -- a claim Worden denies but believes was part of McClain's bid to have control over the child, according to the Times.
McClain left for her space mission months later.
Speaking through her lawyer, McClain told The NY Times she was checking sufficient funds were in Worden's account to pay for bills and care for the child -- as she had done throughout their relationship with Worden's knowledge.
"She strenuously denies that she did anything improper," her lawyer Rusty Hardin said, adding McClain was "totally co-operating".
NASA's Office of Inspector General is now reportedly investigating the claim, which could amount to the first allegation of criminal wrongdoing in space.
NASA officials have told The NY Times there are unaware of any other crimes committed on the ISS.
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The case brings to light legal challenges involved with space travel -- and possible space crime -- as we move closer towards space tourism.
There are five international space agencies involved in the ISS -- the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia and several European countries.
Each agency has a legal framework that sets out national law applying to people and possessions in space.
Featured image: Reuters