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Best. Self-Portrait. Ever.
August 5, 2005 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Astronaut Steve Robinson took a picture of himself that Escher would've loved, when out fixing the Space Shuttle Discovery. Available in hi-res, too (not safe for dialup).
posted by cerebus19 (67 comments total)

 
Neat!
posted by voltairemodern at 11:39 AM on August 5, 2005


I actually like the picture with earth in it better, but it is neat.
posted by OmieWise at 11:50 AM on August 5, 2005


That's pretty sweet.
posted by dead_ at 11:50 AM on August 5, 2005


Ooh, theres a Purge button!
posted by fatllama at 11:51 AM on August 5, 2005


Ok, that's great Cindy Sherman, now stop fucking around and get back to work.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:51 AM on August 5, 2005


I don't think I'll ever get sick of pictures from space. Thanks!
posted by Moral Animal at 11:53 AM on August 5, 2005


I hate it when people show me their vacation pictures.
posted by sourwookie at 11:58 AM on August 5, 2005


It's like myspace in space!
posted by wigu at 12:02 PM on August 5, 2005


I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:03 PM on August 5, 2005


This photo made my day. Just love the clarity that you get in an airless environment. Let's do that here! What a great boon it would be to photography!
posted by mk1gti at 12:03 PM on August 5, 2005


Any idea what part of Terra is visible in the second picture?
posted by sciurus at 12:07 PM on August 5, 2005


I imagine I would flip out if I were suspended that high above the earth, but I cannot say that with any particular level of certainty.
posted by odinsdream at 12:08 PM on August 5, 2005


Also, wonderful picture.
posted by odinsdream at 12:08 PM on August 5, 2005


Way cool.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:09 PM on August 5, 2005


This is beautiful and awesome and cool! The world looks so peaceful up there.

sciurus, it might be a job for the Google Maps scavenger hunters! Actually, that might be fun to do if I didn't have so much work to do. Dang!
posted by fenriq at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2005


sciriurus: It kinda looks like Alaska to me, but I'm really not sure.
posted by cerebus19 at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2005


"Damn. I blinked!"
posted by ColdChef at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2005


Whoa! I can see my house from there!
posted by ColdChef at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2005


D'oh! "sciurus," that is.
posted by cerebus19 at 12:17 PM on August 5, 2005


Reminds me of this photo from the moon landings.
posted by smackfu at 12:23 PM on August 5, 2005


Wait, this one is fake, too?
posted by ColdChef at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2005


Stupid Question of the day: are NASA pictures copyrighted? I would assume that I paid the taxes, and hence am employing the photographer, so basically they are public domain. Yes?
posted by darkness at 12:26 PM on August 5, 2005


I think its looking approx NW up the Gulf of Oman towards the straits of Hormuz.
posted by adamvasco at 12:38 PM on August 5, 2005




YAY!!!!!!!
posted by Freen at 12:51 PM on August 5, 2005


Oh, you mean this photo?
posted by growabrain at 12:59 PM on August 5, 2005


I notice the lack of a Canadian flag -- which has always been there in previous trips -- on the Canadarm. Buggers.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:59 PM on August 5, 2005


Does anyone else think that the photo of the President (in the photo gallery) watching the launch is a bit odd? I mean, that TV is pretty small for the leader of the free world.
posted by mania at 1:00 PM on August 5, 2005


An absolutely lovely photograph.
posted by slf at 1:03 PM on August 5, 2005


In keeping with sourwookie's reference to vacation picutres,
there's one of Noguchi (I'm having trouble linking to it) that reminds me of someone propped up in the back of their truck with just a glimpse of scenry in the background. Great pics.

How could anyone not admire the courage those astronauts have. Space travel is an amazing adventure. (Even though I'd toss my cookies the whole time - assuming I didn't have a heart attack on liftoff.)

Re: those of Bush on the main image page, this puts everything in context - how important this king thinks he is, yet how brief his reign is compared to timeless, beautiful mother earth.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:05 PM on August 5, 2005


That's awesome.

But why didn't he use his flickr account?
posted by blacklite at 1:14 PM on August 5, 2005


Five Fresh Fish: I think that's the arm of the space shuttle. Robinson was attached to the Canadarm.
posted by Pendragon at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2005



I notice the lack of a Canadian flag -- which has always been there in previous trips -- on the Canadarm. Buggers.


It's right there in the 2nd picture, if you look at the hi-res version.
posted by smackfu at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2005


Here's a link to a full-size version I've cleaned up a little in Photoshop. Of course, I have no idea whether the earth really looks this blue from up there...


posted by killdevil at 1:21 PM on August 5, 2005


sourwookie: those aren't vacation pictures, it's a business trip...
posted by Lord Kinbote at 1:22 PM on August 5, 2005


Unprecedented Vista (bottom image)
Discovery's underside floats over the Earth in this first-of-its-kind view, taken during astronaut Steve Robinson's dramatic August 3 spacewalk. Riding the International Space Station's robot arm, Robinson ventured under the Shuttle to remove a pair of gap fillers sticking out between tiles on the orbiter's heat shield.


So the arm in the second image can only be the arm from the shuttle.
posted by Pendragon at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2005


blacklite writes "But why didn't he use his flickr account?"

...or post it on Mirror Project?
posted by terrapin at 1:42 PM on August 5, 2005


By the way, I'm sure everyone is hoping the same thing but I hope the repairs they made will get them all home safely.

I think I might have to print these out, they are just amazing!
posted by fenriq at 1:44 PM on August 5, 2005


I think it might be the Mediterranean at Gibraltar. It looks like the land on the right is Spain, and the left is Africa.
posted by clgregor at 1:46 PM on August 5, 2005


I agree with clgregor.

I think it's the western Med.
posted by Relay at 2:18 PM on August 5, 2005


To add to the western Med theory, that would make the apparent city underneath the arms' tip Valencia.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2005


Robinson was attached to the SSRMS, the space station's robot arm, during the gap filler removal EVA. Fellow astronaut Soichi Noguchi was tethered to one of the station's trusses, I believe, and the Space Shuttle's arm was used as a video/camera platform to aid the astronauts controlling the robot arms and orchestrating the whole EVA procedure. See http://spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts114/050803gapfillerart/ for a visual (computer rendition) of the setup.

More info on the gap filler EVA procedure (including a procedural document in PDF format that was uplinked to the astronauts pre-EVA): http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/crew/EVA_gapfiller.html

btw: There are actually two CanadaArms -- CanadaArm 1 and CanadaArm 2 (a robotics expert just stated this in a taped interview on NASA TV), and the ISS has an arm as well (the SSRMS). I'm not clear on which CanadaArm was in use during the gap filler EVA, and actually I think both may have been. I recall the robotics team commenting that another way this particular EVA was unprecedented was it having 3 arms in motion simultaenously at times.
posted by geekgal at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2005


That pic is SO AWESOME.
posted by BoringPostcards at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2005


smackfu: Thanks! I'm glad to see it's still there.

CanadaArm 2 is funky, if I understand correctly: it "inchworms" from socket to socket, giving it full(?) coverage of the ship without the cargo bay doors being open.

I think it's very amusing that the shuttle was repaired by essentially grabbing a handful of fluff and yanking it out.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:08 PM on August 5, 2005


Mind, I doubt the astronaughts are finding it anywhere near as amusing...
posted by five fresh fish at 5:09 PM on August 5, 2005


Beautiful. Took me a while to get my head around though (I must be easily confused).
posted by Acey at 5:11 PM on August 5, 2005


If it's the western Med, what's all the white? It's not clouds; it's snow. Are you sure?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:19 PM on August 5, 2005


OPEN THE POD BAY DOORS, HAL! HAL!!!
posted by fungible at 5:23 PM on August 5, 2005


What I'd like to know is, whatever was removed was there for a reason; now what?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:28 PM on August 5, 2005


They have pretty superfantastic fuckin-a amazing snow in Spain, given that you can see its shadow on the ground far underneath it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:44 PM on August 5, 2005


ok. it's clouds? be nice. I didn't think clouds would be so narrowly distributed. be nice....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:47 PM on August 5, 2005


WAY COOL.

It's slightly freaky that you can't see his face though. Looks like he has one mechanical eye...
posted by divabat at 6:03 PM on August 5, 2005


Hey! You're right about it being the western med.--I can see Miguel!

Best Powerbook desktop image evar!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:24 PM on August 5, 2005


Looks like the bunch of clouds in the sea below the center of the photo is covering the island of Ibiza (had fun trying to match the angle in Google Earth).
posted by gubo at 6:42 PM on August 5, 2005


"How could anyone not admire the courage those astronauts have."

1/50 chance of getting blowed up for a $100k/yr high-prestige job + 2 weeks of microgravity that just dozens of people can experience?

Meh. I'd go for that, 'better to burn out than fade away' and all that. The 8th AAF in Europe was running that mission risk, weekly, in 1943. That's fucking courage.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:51 PM on August 5, 2005


ParisParamus: Meta.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:20 PM on August 5, 2005


What I'd like to know is, whatever was removed was there for a reason; now what?

One of the great perks of my job is that I can watch NASA TV all day long. During one of the press conferences they said that the purpose of the gap fillers is to fill gaps, so that the tiles don't have wiggle room and don't chatter during the extreme vibrations of launch.

Once they've launched, the gap fillers aren't really needed.

Recalling that this is the first time they've been able to actually see the orbiters heat shield prior to entry, I think probably many previous gap fillers have come out but have been sheared off or knocked out by the entry itself. But NASA was prudent to pull it out of course. Unknowns of hypersonic flight and forecast model variances and all that.

Final note: the war in Iraq has cost us 200-300 times the cost of this flight.
posted by intermod at 8:56 PM on August 5, 2005


Question: are there text and/or symbols visible on the shuttle's tiles in these pictures?(?)
posted by nobody at 9:10 PM on August 5, 2005


question: did you look at these pictures?

there was a kid in math class in junior high, we were taking a quiz... he raises his hand :

"is there a back?"

omgrofl
posted by Satapher at 9:21 PM on August 5, 2005


Question: are there text and/or symbols visible on the shuttle's tiles in these pictures?

Sure are. Both. Here's a picture of a tile that fell off Columbia when it broke up, just to let you see the lettering up close.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:22 PM on August 5, 2005


I had another look and I agree its W.Med with the Balearics covered by cloud. It must have been taken last Tuesday or Wednesday.
posted by adamvasco at 12:21 AM on August 6, 2005


I would assume that I paid the taxes, and hence am employing the photographer, so basically they are public domain.

Usually true in the U.S., but not here in the UK, where even acts of Parliament are copyrighted. Bizarre.
posted by grouse at 1:32 AM on August 6, 2005


I'd go on a space mission if I could, just to get a glimpse of what's in that second photo. Funny, isn't it, that it's worth the risk to look at a place where you already are.
posted by orange swan at 3:57 AM on August 6, 2005


was he smiling?
posted by dabitch at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2005


Beautiful. Took me a while to get my head around though (I must be easily confused).
posted by Acey at 7:11 PM CST on August 5 [!]


I had the same problem. Its a very cool albeit confusing image.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:58 AM on August 6, 2005


Photo clearly showing the markings on the individual TPS (Thermal Protection System) tiles on the Shuttle's underbelly:

posted by geekgal at 12:27 PM on August 6, 2005


Ack...

Photo, as previously mentioned
posted by geekgal at 12:28 PM on August 6, 2005


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