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Did Bat Hitch a Ride To Space On Discovery?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the that'll-be-$10M-please dept.

Space 422

suraj.sun writes "A bat was seen clinging to the external fuel tank of the Space Shuttle Discovery before its launch on Sunday, apparently clung for dear life to the side of the tank as the spaceship lifted off. The shuttle accelerates to an orbital velocity of 17,500 milers per hour, which is 25 times faster than the speed of sound, in just over eight minutes. That's zero to 100 mph in 10 seconds. Did it make it into space? No one knows yet. But photos of Discovery as it cleared the launch tower showed a tiny speck on the side of the tank. When those photos were blown up, it became apparent that the speck was a bat."

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119V-0080 (5, Funny)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240113)

From space.com's article [space.com] :

"The bat eventually became 'Interim Problem Report 119V-0080' after the [Final Inspection Team] finished their walkdown," the memo said. "Systems Engineering and Integration performed a debris analysis on him and ultimately a Launch Commit Criteria waiver to ICE-01 was written to accept the stowaway."

Poor bat. Can we come up with a better name for him (or her) than 119V-0080? We're talking about the highest- and fastest-flying bat of all time, probably. A real name is definitely in order.

Re:119V-0080 (4, Informative)

Sven-Erik (177541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240157)

The bat has been named Brian [universetoday.com] .

Re:119V-0080 (5, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240509)

I would have gone with Lamarr [wikipedia.org] .

Re:119V-0080 (2, Funny)

nih (411096) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240565)

I'm Brian!

Re:119V-0080 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240651)

Then you have an appropriate sig!

Re:119V-0080 (4, Funny)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240599)

Can't wait to hear about Life of Brian. Before and after launch.

Re:119V-0080 (4, Funny)

EatHam (597465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240745)

I would've gone with Eric. Eric the fruit-bat.

Re:119V-0080 (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240841)

Kevin?

(Could be a clash of cultures thing though)

Re:119V-0080 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240193)

the gripper

Re:119V-0080 (-1, Redundant)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240195)

Poor bat. Can we come up with a better name for him (or her) than 119V-0080?

120V-0090? ;)

We're talking about the highest- and fastest-flying bat of all time, probably

I wonder how long he held on? Unless he was sheltered from the airflow I find it hard to believe that he could have held on once the shuttle reached any real speed. It's hard enough to hang on in a wind tunnel at subsonic speeds.

As an aside, 0 to 100 in 10 seconds? There are cars that accelerate faster than that. Of course, I suppose they don't weigh 4.5 million pounds.....

Re:119V-0080 (5, Funny)

The Grassy Knoll (112931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240293)

>There are cars that accelerate faster than that. Of course, I suppose they don't weigh 4.5 million pounds.....

And they're not accelerating upwards (I hope)

Name for the bat (Re:119V-0080) (2, Funny)

the cleaner (1641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240295)

Poor bat. Can we come up with a better name for him (or her) than 119V-0080? We're talking about the highest- and fastest-flying bat of all time, probably. A real name is definitely in order.

Bruce Wayne?!

Re:Name for the bat (Re:119V-0080) (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240415)

This just makes me think of that episode of Superman: The Animated series, Knight Time [youtube.com] where Bruce Wayne was... um... I won't spoil it.

Re:Name for the bat (Re:119V-0080) (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240777)

Good grief. We provide Spoiler Protection for children's shows? - "Hey did you see the latest Hannah Montana? Lili and Jackson..." "No!" "What?" "Don't you know it's rude to spoil a story?" "Oh sorry." ..... "Then you probably don't want to hear about iCarly's kiss with Sam last night?" "Grrr."

Back to the bat:

Probably the same thing happened to him that happened to the butterfly clinging to my car this morning. At around 60 the wind tore him off the windshield and he went "splat" on the car behind me. That bat did not go to space.

Re:Name for the bat (Re:119V-0080) (5, Interesting)

SuperAndy (1414157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240839)

Fluid dynamics basically says that at very close distances to a surface, it doesn't matter how fast the fluid is flowing, the wind speed at the surface is very low, and approaches zero. So maybe he made it!

Mynock (5, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240423)

Are they sure it's not a mynock [wikia.com] ?

Re:119V-0080 (5, Funny)

TheCreeep (794716) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240427)

I say stick a caption on him and call him the lolbat.

Re:119V-0080 (-1, Offtopic)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240669)

Frankly, I have a lot of time to waste at work. All I do is play games or read lol*funny animal*. I'm sick of the lol-phenomenon. Gave me a clever game(like wittyrpg.com) and I'm content for hours. Not sure where this craze started but I wonder what will replace it?

Re:119V-0080 (2, Informative)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240725)

Apparently you didn't get the PvP reference [pvponline.com] .

Re:119V-0080 (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240687)

i r on ur rokkitz, awaying ur stow!

Re:119V-0080 (5, Funny)

ControversialMatt (1070718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240735)

i can haz spaceflight?

Re:119V-0080 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240481)

that's what he gets for taking that double dare to lick the liquid nitrogen tank on that rocket

Re:119V-0080 (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240515)

Should have allowed the Koichi Wakata (Japanese astronaut) to name it. He was on the shuttle the only other time there was a previous bat issue.

Re:119V-0080 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240529)

Vlada-Mir?

and I quote... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240131)

"Things are now what you call... Batshit Bonkers."

did we run out of targets ? (5, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240139)

>When those photos were blown up
poor photo.

Re:did we run out of targets ? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240191)

> poor photo. Poor pun.

Re:did we run out of targets ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240309)

Made me smile.

Re:did we run out of targets ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240719)

Me too, so you're outnumbered, AC #27240191.

Re:did we run out of targets ? (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240829)

>>>>>Made me smile.

>>Me too...

When two anonymous cowards talk to one another in the middle of the slashdot forest, does anybody hear them?

Hollywood Movie Incoming! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240175)

Bats on a Shuttle?

Re:Hollywood Movie Incoming! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240411)

I've had it with these motherfuckin' bats on this motherfuckin' shuttle!

Spacebat? nah.. (4, Funny)

new_breed (569862) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240177)

Spacebatman, now that would be news!

It's just Wayne Enterprises doing some research (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240211)

There are some places even the BatPlane can't go ... yet.

Re:It's just Wayne Enterprises doing some research (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240231)

It's okay, though. Batman can breathe in space.

Re:It's just Wayne Enterprises doing some research (3, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240709)

Yes, he has one of those devices which filters oxygen out of a vacuum on his utility belt.

Re:Spacebat? nah.. (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240285)

Spacebatman, now that would be news!

He's Batman. [shortpacked.com]

I can hear it now... (5, Funny)

KudyardRipling (1063612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240187)

Where are the animal rights crowd? PETA should have a field-day with this.

Re:I can hear it now... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240345)

Can we launch them into space, too?

Re:I can hear it now... (5, Insightful)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240595)

Don't even joke about it. The second the die hard environmentalists hear about this, NASA will have to hire a team to check for bats.

That was no bat... (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240197)

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/20/2036228 [slashdot.org]

The Air Force Research Lab is developing an Electric Motor-powered Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that can 'harvest' energy when needed by attaching itself to a power line. It can also temporarily change its shape to look more like innocuous piece of trash hanging from the cable.

I guess I assumed that they meant the US Air Force.

I'm batman (4, Funny)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240199)

Your answer: Val Kilmer sucks. Your wager: George Clooney sucks.

Re:I'm batman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240683)

Adam West FTW!

Bats in Space..... (0)

ArcadiaAlex (1498971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240219)

The muppets show they have never shown.

Pesky hitchiker (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240223)

Wetbat !!!

ISS revealed (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240233)

LEO is bat country!

Bruce Wayne in space (1)

gowtah (566023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240251)

Did he bring Robin along ?

The answer is "cock robin" what is the question? (-1, Offtopic)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240381)

The answer is "cock robin" what is the question?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
"what's that up my arse Batman?"

Bats are _not_ rodents, dangit! (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240271)

Where did that myth come from anyway?

Re:Bats are _not_ rodents, dangit! (3, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240549)

And koalas aren't bears, cavys aren't pigs, cynomys aren't dogs, and that KFC you had last night wasn't chicken...

Re:Bats are _not_ rodents, dangit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240693)

cat... the other other white meat...

Welcome, our wonderful bat masters. (1)

Sumbius (1500703) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240311)

So we are to believe some conspiracy theories, aliens are going to capture it, thinking that bats are the dominant intelligent species of Earth. (After watching too much Batman from Earth tv.) Soon the bat will return to Earth as a super intelligent genetically engineered super bat and try to dominate Earth. Just like the chimps. Welcome, my wonderful new bat masters. Please don't probe me.

It's a conspiracy (2, Funny)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240317)

Contrary to popular opinion, we never got a bat into space. It is a conspiracy by the government to one-up batman. You're all a bunch of sheeple.

If you're looking for the truth about animals in space, look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvjgIxuVdo4 [youtube.com] [moon bears, the whitest kids you know]

reminds me of those buzzards (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240331)

there's a YouTube clip of 3 or 4 buzzards circling the shuttle at lift off. You can guess what happens next. It looks like they get stunned before they're even struck, probably from all the noise. They flutter down to the engines and that's that.

Somehow I doubt it (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240337)

I don't how strong a bat is, but I doubt he was able to hang on that long. My guess is his claws gave out, he slid and clawed is way down the tank, and went out in a huge blaze of glory with the whole world watching and wondering.

Lucky fucker.

Not quite (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240409)

30 feet off the pad the engines gave out and the bat carried them into orbit.

Heroic fucker.

Re:Somehow I doubt it (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240453)

Lucky fucker

Combustion, suffocation, and perhaps severe hypothermia as well. I don't think I would call that luck; or at least not the kind of luck I would ever care to have myself.

Re:Somehow I doubt it (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240507)

Combustion, suffocation, and perhaps severe hypothermia as well. I don't think I would call that luck; or at least not the kind of luck I would ever care to have myself.

Hey, some people would go through even more than that to make international headlines.

Re:Somehow I doubt it (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240691)

Sounds like a day in the life of your average resident of Siberia

Re:Somehow I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240737)

Hell, toss in a whip, some handcuffs, and a gimp mask. Now that's what I call a baht mitzvah!

Re:Somehow I doubt it (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240775)

We all die deaths. Most of them are pointless meaningless wasted deaths that no one will know about, let alone remember. I don't think I would call that luck; or at least not the kind of luck I would ever care to have myself.

Re:Somehow I doubt it (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240831)

yeah, somewhere in the first 30 seconds, don't they have to power down a little as they break the sound barrier? There's no way it could have lasted even up to that point.

That is the ultimate bull ride though.

yeah (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240369)

Batassss

Seriously (0, Troll)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240385)

I'm just glad it wasn't a mission to somewhere other than our immediate space. Whether or not the bat survives, throwing a kilo or so of biological/bacterialogical matter around could seriously jeopardise the sterility of some quite interesting places. Send a mission to Mars one week, find the next week that it's overrun by heat-loving bacteria that spread like mad and cover the planet. It's not impossible, and then where would our search for the origins of life be?

Moreover, I'm surprised that they didn't cancel the flight for such a thing. It only needs to slightly dislodge a heat tile, or create some other tiny imbalance and the shuttle crew could be toast. You can't launch in a sterile environment, but if you spotted the damn thing and "just hoped" it would fly away, that's pretty poor risk management. I hope they at least did a quick back-of-the-envelope look to see if it *could* be risky, rather than just hoping it wouldn't be.

Re:Seriously (4, Informative)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240749)

The bat was on the far side of the external tank from the orbiter, about a third of the way up from the bottom. There wasn't really any way that it could strike the orbiter during launch, or that any foam that it might pull off would fall and strike the orbiter. The weight of the bat compared to the weight of the shuttle loaded with fuel is negligible, you'd need a pretty big envelope for your back-of-the-envelope calculations to have enough decimal places to show any effect from it. It was not an unsafe call to essentially ignore the bat. It didn't pose any risk.

As for the idea of contaminating something like Mars and having it end up overrun with earth bacteria, I guess it's impossible to prove that it couldn't happen, but I don't it's very likely. Mars is more like the earth than anywhere else in the solar system, but it's still very different. You might be able to find a few organisms here that could potentially survive on Mars, but it's doubtful that any would thrive, particularly to the point of overrunning the planet.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240759)

If, as it seems, Mars is sterile, whatever bacteria get carried there would die from starvation. Bacteria, like everything else, need to eat in order to survive. There is zero chance of overrunning other planets with bacteria, because of this. On and also because the surface temperature of other planets in our solar system is either far below freezing, or way above boiling. No water-utilizing organism could survive.

Re:Seriously (1)

evilkasper (1292798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240835)

I would really be surprised if the bat managed to hold on to the tank after the sudden acceleration.

Re:Seriously (1)

jaria (247603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240881)

> I hope they at least did a quick back-of-the-envelope look to see if it *could* be risky, rather than just hoping it wouldn't be.

Bat-of-the-envelope calculation?

External Tank (5, Interesting)

kybred (795293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240389)

The external tank doesn't make it into space. It separates from the shuttle before that. Unless the bat managed to switch horses in the middle of the stream.

Re:External Tank (3, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240451)

The external tank doesn't make it into space.

Yes it does. It doesn't make it into orbit, however.

Re:External Tank (4, Informative)

kybred (795293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240763)

MECO is around 185,000 feet (35 miles). The start of 'space' is commonly defined as 50 miles [answers.com] . But yes, that's damn high.

The Truth (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240397)

VAMPIRES IN SPACE

Are any of the astronauts oversexed teens? All those '50s sci-fi movies will come true one day, you just watch.

Give'm hell space bat!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240435)

You show them fly boys how its done!!

It wasn't a bat... (1)

Sigmon (323109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240439)

It was Dracula!

Its final message to Earth (5, Funny)

PriceIke (751512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240457)

"So long and thanks for all the bugs."

Milers (1)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240505)

an orbital velocity of 17,500 milers per hour

Milers.

Re:Milers (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240767)

an orbital velocity of 17,500 milers per hour

17500 milers per hour = 28163.52 kilometes per hour

it's now a dead bat (2, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240523)

bats can't survive in space.

bats can't survive in the upper atmosphere.

bats aren't falcons.

Re:it's now a dead bat (5, Funny)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240887)

other things bats are not or cannot do...

Bats cannot swallow a whole hotdog

Bats cannot follow the finer details of Neon Genesis Evangelion

Bats aren't horses, sheep or baseball bats

Can you hear me Major Bat???? (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240525)

Godspeed little bat.

Baaaaaaats in Spaaaaaaaace! (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240545)

Let's just hope that bat uses his newly aquired superbat abilities (after the appropriate amount of exposure to intense intergalactic radiation) for good, and not evil.

mad as a hatter (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240561)

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
        How I wonder what you're at!
        Up above the world you fly,
        Like a teatray in the sky.

I can't believe it wasn't posted yet... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240585)

Oblig:

I for one, welcome our new Space-Bat overlords.

Tag story "batronaut" (1)

Game_Ender (815505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240597)

Title of the post says it all.

The difference in Quality. (5, Funny)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240601)

"...showed a tiny speck on the side of the tank. When those photos were blown up, it became apparent that the speck was a bat.

And that folks, is the difference between NASA-cam and your average gas-station-cam, which, on average, can't identify Bigfoot if it were robbing the place.

Re:The difference in Quality. (5, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240667)

I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that's extra scary to me. There's a large out of focus monster roaming the countryside. Look out, he's fuzzy, let's get out of here.

Thanks to Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)

Re:The difference in Quality. (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240773)

So you're saying Bigfoot also has a reality distortion field? I think we have found a good replacement for Jobs.

Re:The difference in Quality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240869)

Bigfoot is just a wookie with a personal cloaking device.

But why can't the heat tiles stay on? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240615)

NASA should investigate adhering heat tiles with bat claws

Damn! (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240619)

Is it April 1st already?

PETA shuts down NASA (1)

burtosis (1124179) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240633)

Details at 11...

Evolution (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240653)

We're seeing the first steps in the evolution of space-bats!

That's zero to 100 mph in 10 seconds... (1)

potscott (539666) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240723)

Pffft. My car is faster then that. Seriously.

Re:That's zero to 100 mph in 10 seconds... (1)

lendude (620139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240849)

Not vertically skywards from a standing start it isn't...Seriously.

Wait till PETA gets hold of this story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240765)

NASA better be prepared for the upcoming lawsuit from PETA

It's All fun and games... (1)

acedotcom (998378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240791)

until the space shuttle burns up on re-entry because the bat chewed a hole in it or something.

Nice story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240799)

Sounds like it would make a good Pixar movie.

Historic words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27240825)

One small nap for bat, one giant leap for batkind.

Finally! (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240837)

A new villian for the Fantastic Four--Collossal Cosmic Space Bat!

Our only purpose on earth (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27240883)

is to get bats into space, so they can colonise the universe.
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