Apple pie in the sky

By Phil Plait | March 17, 2008 1:00 pm

BABloggee and webmaster of the fantastic What’s The Harm? website Tim Farley pointed out to me that NASA has released an incredible picture of the Space Shuttle Endeavour:

The picture was taken from the space station using a telephoto, and the linked page goes to a huge 1.6 Mb picture that’s 1200×800 3000×2000 pixels. It’s really quite stunning!

… but Tim also pointed out to me that you can see something sitting on the window console:

I wonder if they have one of those little FM transmitters so it’s hooked up to the dashboard radio.

I guess having an iPod inside the Shuttle is as useful as an OMS pod outside!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor, NASA, Pretty pictures

Comments (43)

  1. Rav Winston

    What? No copies of “Bad Astronomy?” What a ripoff!

    Silly I-pod-thingummy.

  2. Wow. How much did Apple pay for _that_ placement ad? :-) :-)

    Now, if we could only zoom in (like they do on those TV investigation shows) and see what’s on the display.

  3. Gnat

    I read the lithium batteries aren’t approved for space flight, so they have to squirrel away AA’s, which the ipod chews up like candy.

  4. Oh, and it’s certainly better than the iPod outside and the OMS pod inside!

  5. Gnat, are you saying that will all the technology NASA has to offer, there’s no way to plug an iPod in so it can get power directly from the shuttle??? Then what is the point of technology at all??? I thought this was the FUTURE!

    I think we know the direction of the next round of research.

  6. Ray C.

    That part about the AA batteries was here, linked from Slashdot.

  7. Mark Martin

    No Lithium batteries? But there are laptops & camcorders all over the shuttle & ISS. Don’t those use Lithium-ion batteries? Very interesting.

    But that pic of Endeavoor is excellent. It shows off the quilted nature of the low-temperature blankets very nicely. AMISH-IN-SPAAACE!!

  8. Duane

    Would it be possible to pick up FM stations while crossing over the US? I imagine they wouldn’t stay in tune for very long.

  9. zeb

    “…you can see something sitting on the window console…”

    Um, Phil, I hate to tell you but, the shuttle and the iPod are both in freefall. The iPod isn’t sitting on anything. Unless of course it was attached to the console.

  10. Surely the ISS or the shuttle has a console running iTunes? How else will they play Strauss as they orbit Earth?

  11. MUDDY PILOT

    Is that a pair of sunglasses hanging in the small window top left?

  12. Uhm… the 1.6 MB picture is in fact 3032×2064 pixels. Just sayin’.

  13. MandyDax

    Zeb:

    [T]he shuttle and the iPod are both in freefall. The iPod isn’t sitting on anything. Unless of course it was attached to the console.

    Um, velcro? :P

  14. zeb

    “Um, velcro?”

    D’oh! Forgot about that. Although, I guess that qualifies as “attatched to something”.

    Just to add, I remember astronaut Steve Lindsey talking at my school about it, and he said that the velcro wasn’t very effective. They could only use small circular patches so things would frequently get bumped off and float around the cabin.

  15. One Eyed Jack

    Sure, an I-POD is nice, but a pair of fuzzy dice would be sooooo much cooler. Maybe a bobble head pooch?

    Just please, please, no dashboard Mary or Jesus.

    -OEJ

  16. Gray Lensman

    There are lots more hi-res pics in the NASA gallery.Those folks are having way too much fun. I want to go! Sign me up!

  17. Ahruman, thanks. I hit “properties” on the image and got the original numbers, so I must have clicked the wrong image. D’oh!

  18. Davidlpf

    thinking that would be a great spot to watch some like “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “Space Cowboys” or “Appolo 13″ but they have better things to do.

  19. Mark Martin

    Davidlpf,

    I don’t know about during a shuttle flight, but aboard the space station they do watch their favorite movies. When Mir was still alive the Russian crews even stockpiled a considerable library of European porn! It’s all at the bottom of the Pacific now.

  20. Mark Martin

    Davidlpf,

    I don’t know about during a shuttle flight, but aboard the space station they do watch their favorite movies. When Mir was still alive the Russian crews even stockpiled a considerable library of European adult titles! It’s all at the bottom of the Pacific now.

  21. Mark Martin

    Curse WordPress and its slow ways!

  22. It’s probably plugged into the cigarette lighter adapter. The risk, of course, is that it will drain the battery and the shuttle won’t start when it’s time to leave. NASA will have to send Atlantis up for a jump start.

  23. Mark Martin

    If it boils down to that, let’s hope they use a better grade of jumper cables than the ones I found myself using once last summer: they melted like butter.

  24. Crux Australis

    Muddy Pilot; good eyes! You’re right.

  25. Crux Australis

    Meant to ask; what’s that writing on the tiles?

  26. Mark Martin

    The writing is probably just the identifying data. Each tile has an individually traceable history.

  27. SpaceFan
  28. Davidlpf

    Thanks Martin you learn something everyday.

  29. JDP

    And I thought that it was a pair of fuzzy dice on the rear-view mirror!

  30. Nigel Depledge

    Zeb said:
    ““…you can see something sitting on the window console…”

    Um, Phil, I hate to tell you but, the shuttle and the iPod are both in freefall. The iPod isn’t sitting on anything. Unless of course it was attached to the console.”

    Aha! Well spotted, Zeb. This just goes to prove that it was all filmed on a sound stage in Arizona!!!! They never left Earth at all!

  31. Detached Observer

    I just heard a story on the radio about how leaving things like iPods or GPS units sitting on you seat was an open invitation for opportunistic theives to smash a window and grab the item. I sure hope that doesn’t happen ’cause it would be my taxpayer dollars replacing the window!

  32. Dan

    I don’t know if I will get an answer to this but, there is something I think is weird on the shuttle. If I look around the windows and part of the nose, you can see all those little white plates (I don’t know how they’re called). You would think that since the shuttle is quite symetrical, that the plates around the windows would also be symetrical but, they’re not. It’s like a patchwork done to make them fit! How come??

    Maybe it is because of the holes on the left side of the nose but, I doubt it since they could have made special plates only around those holes. Anyway! Someone has an answer?

  33. aiabx

    Would it be possible or sensible for the mission scientists to use an iPod as a backup data drive? I’d like to think the flight computers don’t need a $300 backup, but if I were doing once-in-a-lifetime space science, I’d want as many backups as I could manage.

  34. Ian Kemmish

    Dan – the most usual reason for “unnecessary” asymmetry in safety-critical applications is to ensure that nobody, no matter how much of a hurry they’re in, can put something in the wrong place, or upside down. I’d say the tiles on the shuttle certainly fall into that category.

  35. Chris Nelson

    A nearby post explains how Enceladus is lit up even though it’s eclipsed by Saturn. Can we also get an explanation for why the Shuttle doesn’t have stark shadows? I can see a shadow from the dish on the left that seems to match the shadows of the clouds on the Earth. But how can we see what’s in that dish’s shadow? It doesn’t seem like indirect bounces off the Shuttle should be bright enough compared to the direct sunlight everywhere else.

  36. Buzz Parsec

    Chris – It’s indirect light that bounces off the Earth, that big blue, green, brown and white thing in the background…

    It’s the same reason you can see stuff on the north side of your house at noon (or the south side at noon, if you live in the southern hemisphere.)

  37. Chris Nelson

    Thanks for the reply, Buzz. I’d considered the Earth, but then figured it would only light up the underside of the Shuttle. It’s hard to tell the relative angles with the close-cropped photo and with no reference objects, though, so you may be right.

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