When you hear the words “space crime,” your mind probably conjures up images of intergalactic overlord zipping through the cosmos in a flying saucer. You’re probably thinking aliens, guns that shoot lasers, jars full of glowing green stuff, and whatever else it is that Scientologists believe in. But what if I told you that the first-ever space crime may have already been committed and it was actually petty as f*ck?
I give you, the story of astronaut Anne McLain and her estranged ex-wife, Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden. As amazing as an astronaut and pilot lesbian power couple may seem, their messy divorce and custody battle has given way to space crime after Worden alleged that McLain hacked into her bank account…FROM SPACE!!
So what went down exactly? According to a complaint Worden filed with the FTC, McClain was working on the International Space Station when she used her downtime to engage in every earthling’s favorite past time: f*cking with your ex. Worden believes that McLain illegally accessed her bank account from space, due to the fact that McLain seemed to have a weirdly accurate knowledge of Worden’s personal spending, despite the fact that she wasn’t even on the planet when this spending took place.
Worden then used her expertise as an Air Force intelligence officer to get a list of the computers that had logged into her online banking account. And wouldn’t you know it, one of those computers happened to be on the international space station. And so the first allegation of criminal wrongdoing in space was born. Personally, I’m not sure if I should be comforted or horrified by the fact that a human being can be faced with the full vastness of the cosmos and still be like, “Hold up I’m just gonna go stalk my ex real quick,” but here we are.
McLain adamantly denies that she did anything wrong or unusual in accessing the account (apart from being in zero gravity when she did it) and says she just wanted to make sure there were sufficient funds in Worden’s account for herself and their son, who is currently the subject of a custody battle. Worden is calling bullsh*t on that and has filed a complaint with NASA’s Office of the Inspector General, accusing McLain of identity theft and “improper access” to her bank account.
But what is a space crime, exactly? And who is in charge of space law? Basically, when you’re in space you are subject to the laws of your earthly residence. Sh*t that is illegal down here is still illegal up there, meaning space is actually less lawless than international waters or like, Burning Man. That said, if McLain is found to be in the wrong here, this would be the first recorded incident of space crime in history, though perhaps not the first time a messy divorce has led to someone saying “f*ck it!” and moving to the Moon.
It’s impossible to tell who is right in this she-said-she-said, but one thing is clear: you can never escape relationship drama. No matter how far you run.