NPR : News

Filed Under:

Olympic Torch (But Not Olympic Flame) Headed To Space

The president of Russia's Sochi 2014 Olympic Committee could hardly contain himself — although Twitter contained him to 140 characters at a time:

"Our ambition to conquer Space 1st time ever in the Olympic history becomes reality," Dmitry Chernyshenko tweeted Monday. "#Sochi2014's Torch Relay will reach the open space!"

In a series of tweets, Chernyshenko announced that cosmonauts will carry an official Sochi 2014 Olympic torch to the International Space Station, and then out on a spacewalk.

Cosmonauts will take the torch to the space station in early November. But, as AroundTheRings reporter Mark Bisson tweets, the torch will not hold the sacred Olympic flame, which is traditionally ignited by a Greek high priestess (actually an actor), using the rays of the sun at Mt. Olympus.

Bisson says that an "imitation flame" will go to the International Space Station.

That's because an open flame in a spaceship could be, well, dangerous. Still, once back on earth at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics in February, the space torch will be all fired up.

"The same torch that will go to the open space afterwards will be used to light the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the Games," says Chernyshenko, who seemingly could not be happier about the development.

"Nothing is impossible... #Sochi2014 is going to the Space :-) Let's Go - Po-ekhali!" he tweeted today, including a photo of himself in a spacesuit.

"Nothing is impossible," except, of course, keeping an open flame in a spacecraft for a long period of time.

But, given a Winter Olympics at a Black Sea resort with palm trees and expected Olympic spending of around $51 billion, almost nothing seems impossible.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.