By Phil Plait | January 18, 2011 7:00 am

It’s been forever since I posted some pareidolia: an object or shape that looks like something else. Usually it’s a face or a religious icon — Jesus, Mary, Mohammed, whatever — but really it can be anything.

So behold: the Carrot Shuttle!


That was in a bag of baby carrots. First one I pulled out, too! Pretty cool.

carrot_shuttle2As you can see, it looks even more like the Shuttle from an oblique angle. I love the little rocket nozzle sticking out the back. I think the carrot dried up and cracked while being squeezed by other carrots, flattening it out and giving it the winged shape. Either that or it’s a divine sign that I should be an astronaut.

Of course, I get sick on a kid’s swing set, so that’s probably not it.

… unless this vegetable is actually a sign I should go to Vega! But that can’t be right. They would’ve sent a poet.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Pareidolia
MORE ABOUT: carrot, Contact

Comments (41)

  1. John Sandlin

    It’s not a sign, it’s a reminder. The shuttle is due to launch real soon now (well, kinda), and everyone that wants to see a launch of a shuttle and hasn’t needs to book their travel now or miss it forever.

    Well, that’s what I see 😉


  2. I think I see some tile cracking. Might be time to retire those carrots!

  3. Marcello

    Baby carrots are evil!
    They’re not actually baby carrots, they’re grown-up carrots that get shaved down to size to be sold at higher prices.

  4. thetentman

    carrots indeed. I saw Phil last night on some cable channel explaining how the planets could get out of whack and collide in the distant future. He has a face for RADIO Astronomy.

  5. Chris

    Kinda looks like the Virgin Mary to me…

  6. @ Marcello:

    Only cheap, imitation “baby” carrots are as you described. Genuine baby carrots, or “petite” carrots as they are less cannibalistically known, are actual young carrots picked while still tender and yummy.

    My dogs love their baby carrots, so this I know for truth.

    I see something entirely different in that carrot, especially in the oblique view.

  7. Boyg

    It’s clearly a nose.

  8. John Nouveaux

    You do realize, of course, we now have your fingerprints (well of your left hand anyway) on file. Muah ha ha!

  9. Messier Tidy Upper

    … unless this vegetable is actually a sign I should go to Vega! But that can’t be right. They would’ve [should’ve?] sent a poet.

    I dunno I reckon Jodie Foster did a pretty good job! 😉

    Travel to Vega? If only we could.

    (Although I’d settle for Alpha Cenaturi, Proxima at a pinch.)

    @ 6. kuhnigget : My dogs love their baby carrots,

    Carrot eating dogs? For real? Neat! :-)

    Mine will have the odd apple core but carrots ? 😮

  10. humble reader

    Could be the right hand if he mirrored it.

    Amazing cosmic fine tuning, carrots and shuttle external
    fuel tanks share the same color.

  11. Welll-llll… maybe not the Shuttle design as we all know it, but maybe an early-phase STS design, or an old Korolev concept, or that new unmanned winged RV that the Air Force launched last year. Still, all quibbles aside, it sure as hell does resemble some kind of skip-glide lifting body vehicle, for sure.

  12. Missy

    HAHA Thank you, I needed a laugh this morning!!! Now to get back to being impatient for the Stephen Hawking lecture tonight….

  13. I really think it looks more like an orange “Grimace” from McDonaldland.

  14. Contact. : ] Love the film to bits. Thank you, Mr Zemeckis. ( and Mr Sagan, of course )

  15. Oli

    It’s a sign that you shouldn’t think of these things as signs.

  16. Douglas Troy

    I think it looks like a Babushka Doll. When you bite into it, see if there’s a smaller, similar carrot inside the first …


  17. Number 6

    “Ahhhhhhhhh…(chomp…chomp…chomp)…What’s up Doc?”

    Phil, looks like you’ve got a ready-made prop for an upcoming “Veggie Tales in Outer Space” movie. Interesting color for a Space Shuttle. Orange you happy?

  18. Floyd

    We watched Contact two weeks ago. It’s an amazing movie, especially through the wormhole to her “father.”

  19. Michel

    “Of course, I get sick on a kid’s swing set, so that’s probably not it. ”

    Maybe if you eat it you´ll be cured!
    And tomorrow you scream “HOLY SH…”

  20. Erik M

    Looks like the Virgin Mary’s nose!

  21. QuietDesperation

    ZOMG! Not shuttle. Carrot bomb!! Throw it! Quick!

    We watched Contact two weeks ago. It’s an amazing movie, especially through the wormhole to her “father.”

    My initial reaction was minor dislike, but that grew into a serious dislike. The whole end was a cop out. I *hate* the story archetype where something amazing happens, but only one person knows it and can’t prove it. Bleah… I had to search for a word at the time to adequately describe my perception of the film: “mawkish”

  22. Number 6


    Sorry to disagree with you and agree with most…I really enjoy that film….but it’s been quite a while since I last saw it.

    At the very end of the film, wasn’t there a suspicion by two others who read or heard the final report of her mission that there was an unexplainable (or not easily explained) time difference — as to how much time went by inside and outside of the capsule?…. a difference of about 18 hours (according to the IMDB database)…So, it wasn’t a sure thing that only one person knew something unusual had happened, but couldn’t prove it.

    Jake Busey as Joseph, the religious terrorist is especially creepy…Jake has that “interesting presence” on film just like his Dad, Gary.

  23. I, for one, welcome our new rabbit overlords.

  24. Matt B.

    For anyone that didn’t like the ending of the movie Contact, read the book. There’s more of an ending there. Or so I’m told; I’ve read the book and I asked a friend about the movie.

    I feel for Phil concerning the swingset. Sometimes I get that feeling just coasting down a slight decline in my car. It must be partly psychological.

  25. Chris Winter

    Number 6, you’re right. Ellie had a solid-state sound recorder with her. After her trip, which seemed to last only seconds, it was found to have recorded 18 hours of static (or silence; I forget which.)

  26. Chris Winter

    Mike Flugennock was on the right track. That’s not the shuttle; it’s Buran!


  27. Digital Atheist

    i saw that blasted penguin Tux from the silly Linux sites. :-O

  28. alfaniner

    My first impression was Gleep (or is it Gloop?) from The Herculoids.

  29. Number 6

    Because we’re on the subject of science fiction (Contact), you might want to take a peek at your local PBS TV station tonight and watch the “Pioneers of Television”. Tonight’s topic is tah-dah….Science Fiction!

    Looks like they are covering the series: Lost in Space, Star Trek, and Twilight Zone

  30. Keith Bowden

    Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar…

  31. Joseph G

    What most people don’t know is that carrots are the mutant descendants of genetically engineered self-propagating supercrops develops by intelligent beings from a more fashionable part of the galaxy.
    Their beta-carotene is over 10 times as available after cooking – this is because carrots were intended to enter a planet’s atmosphere, survive reasonably intact, and embed themselves in the soil – this is where the pointy shape and crunchy texture come from. The greenery of the original carrotoids acted to decrease its terminal velocity before reaching the ground.
    Eventually they would form supercolonies that formed enormous cannon-like structures. After accumulating enough energy to grow combustibles, these carrot cannons would fire baby carrots back out into space, where they would embed themselves in comets, some eventually reaching other planets.
    Over millions of years, Earth viruses mutated the carrotoids into their current relatively immobile form. Unfortunately, little evidence of their glorious, adventurous history remains.

    And that’s how I’m going to one day convince my kids to eat their vegetables.

  32. Joseph G

    @#21 QuietDesperation: Excellent. I love that word, I’d always hoped to see someone have good reason to use it in a sentence.
    Much as I love Carl Sagan, I agree, the ending sucked (the movie, that is – it’s been ages since I read the book).
    And not just the “And no one believed her” part, no, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
    What I hated was the painfully obvious parallel they tried to draw between her unprovable experience and her weird boyfriend’s religious faith. Because, apparently, seeing something a tad unusual – after being dropped into a trillion-dollar space machine built from confirmed alien blueprints – is exactly as hard for others to believe as faith in God (based on no concrete experiences whatsoever).

  33. Joseph G

    @#23 Ken B: Hehe. My thought was “Ayyyn… I musta taken a wrong toyn at Albakoikee!”

  34. Fizzics Teacher

    Sure, go to Vega, but there isn’t much to see there. The drive to Vega is nice. In the summer. With no snow.

    (Vega is a small community in Alberta, about 110 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. )

  35. @18 Floyd and @21 QuietDesperation –

    Read the book. It’s so much better, and the ending is amazing!

    @34 Fizzics Teacher –

    As long as you’re not DRIVING a Vega!

  36. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ The Barber of Civility :

    Or being hunted by Vincent Vega :

    While listening to :

    the Spanish singer-songwriter, Vega. 😉

    Ah, Wikipedia fount of all wisdom (or not!) :

    Turns out there’s a Vega in Norway and Sweden & *two* in the States – &, no, one of them is not Las Vegas!

    Agree when it comes to the novel versus the movie of Contact – and, yeah, I thought the ending sucked too. For both actually – novel’s better but it & the film both gave a great journey with lots of interesting stuff along the way but had, in my view, a disappointing let-down of a finish. :-(

    @31. Joseph G :

    What most people don’t know is that carrots are the mutant descendants of genetically engineered self-propagating supercrops develops by intelligent beings from a more fashionable part of the galaxy.

    LOL. Good one! :-)

  37. Messier Tidy Upper

    PS. WARNING : Obscenities & NSFW language on the Pulp Fiction Youtube clip linked in the comment that’s currently awaiting moderation above – sorry forgot to add that in time. :-(

  38. ggremlin

    It looks more like a sign you shouldn’t pick your nose.

  39. Gary Ansorge

    ,,,and God said, “Let there be,,,Oops!”

    Positive cosmological constant implies God didn’t get it quite right. Slightly negative would be better for life.

    Gary 7

  40. mike burkhart

    It looks more like an SR-71 to me then the Space Shuttle .

  41. mike burkhart

    If it had two extentions in the front it would look like Firefox ( fictonal Soviet Mig 31 fighter from the novel Firefox and a 1982 movie staring Clint Eastwood )


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