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March 19, 2008 11:16 AM   Subscribe

A handful of pretty great spacewalk pix from last summer's Endeavour mission.
posted by CunningLinguist (59 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:16 AM on March 19, 2008


Man, those are serious...
posted by sfts2 at 11:21 AM on March 19, 2008


What pieces of land (islands, perhaps?) are we seeing in photo #2?
posted by NoMich at 11:21 AM on March 19, 2008


[too depleted to comment after deeply satisfying spacegasm]
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:25 AM on March 19, 2008


These are great. Thanks for sharing. And also making me feel even worse about my photography skills, as I can't get pictures anywhere near that crisp, even with the benefit of gravity.
posted by tyrantkitty at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2008


Wow, those are fantastic.

The shuttle looked strangely old-fashioned with no adverts plastered over it. Can't be long I dont imagine.
posted by criticalbill at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2008


Yeah, there is a really unearthly crispness to those shots. Curse this air!
posted by GuyZero at 11:34 AM on March 19, 2008


Other than the ads for Canada.

I've never gotten vertigo from spacewalk photos before so they must be doing something right here.
posted by DU at 11:35 AM on March 19, 2008


Remarkable. Thank you.
posted by googly at 11:40 AM on March 19, 2008


Makes me feel like I'm in kindergarten again. Back before science class got hard.
posted by Corduroy at 11:41 AM on March 19, 2008


"Other than the ads for Canada."

Oh don't be like that. I also noted prominent placement of the stars and stripes, and the NASA logo.

Canadarm and Dextre: that's what happens when you leave out the specifics of asking us to help you arm your shuttle.
posted by Mike D at 11:42 AM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely gorgeous.
posted by mogget at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2008


I think Arthur would appreciate this post. I know I do.

I know somebody will chime in about manned space travel not being worth the money but I’m happy to pay my tax dollars just to get pictures like this every now and then.
posted by bondcliff at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2008


It's so odd to see earth so close i the background. It reminds me just how 'close' space is, in terms of zero-G. It just looks as though they should be hurtling back to the planet from where they are orbiting. Can't wait to show my seven-year-old these. Thanks.
posted by docpops at 11:53 AM on March 19, 2008


These are from STS-118, Endeavour's first flight since the Columbia disaster (and only its last flight before its current mission right now), delivering the S5 starboard truss segment to the ISS.

Some of the photos also appear in the official NASA mission gallery/ Very lovely and crisp images, probably because these are taken with serious pro hardware, plus there's no air to haze up the intervening space between shuttle and station.
posted by brownpau at 12:00 PM on March 19, 2008


Holy crap, those are nice.
posted by brundlefly at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2008


Oh, and CSA has even more.
posted by brownpau at 12:02 PM on March 19, 2008


I'd love to get the original raw images. These jpegs have some problems. For instance, this picture has some horrible banding in the horizon and in the ocean just above the arm.
posted by Potsy at 12:05 PM on March 19, 2008


Potsy - Here you go. Not the exact same image but it's from nearly the same angle and might be from the same set.
posted by brownpau at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2008


Those are obviously fake, maaaaaan. Most likely taken in the same studio where they took those bogus moon shots, maaaaaan. Look closely, maaaan, and you'll see the backdrop rigging.
posted by VicNebulous at 12:15 PM on March 19, 2008


Wow. Absolutely wild. As an amateur photographer, I'm curious if they use any sort of special camera, or simply housed a "normal" one in some sort of protective casing.
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:20 PM on March 19, 2008


Jesus christ space is awesome.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:21 PM on March 19, 2008


on post: thanks brownpau
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:21 PM on March 19, 2008


*adds spacegasm to lexicon*
posted by Mister_A at 12:29 PM on March 19, 2008


NoMich's question has posed quite a conundrum for this geographer: Where in the world is that? A key question is just how wide that strait is: 5 miles? 20? And in the lower left I notice some fjording (no pining, please) of the coastline, and some summer snow cover. There are mountainous areas above the left-center, and to me the tree-line looks fairly low. I'm guessing this is a high-latitude area in the northern hemisphere; the photo was taken during northern summer. I've been poring over my atlas, and even tried to sketch the landforms as they might look "straight down," but have to admit I'm pretty stumped!

Great photos, nonetheless; I've grabbed a couple for my desktop picture rotation.
posted by BrotherFeldspar at 12:31 PM on March 19, 2008


Awesome photos - and so surreal to see a fully suited astronaut pausing from their work to wave to the camera. Really cool. The space shuttle looks sooooo old! Can't they at least slap a coat of paint on it?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:40 PM on March 19, 2008


Not certain but it looks like New Zealand looking from the SE with South island to the left.
posted by pots at 12:49 PM on March 19, 2008


I always thought I'd do pretty well in freefall- good balance, I don't get motion sick, good sense of spatial organization. Then I look at these pictures and realize that floating over a planet with nothing underneath, some part of my brain would still go "AAAAAAH! I"M FALLING!" Not exactly helpful during an EVA.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:50 PM on March 19, 2008


and so surreal to see a fully suited astronaut pausing from their work to wave to the camera.

Actually, according to brownpau's link, I think he was looking for a potentially deadly rip in his glove!
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:55 PM on March 19, 2008


For a moment there, I felt the same way I did as a kid in grammar school, keeping track of the Apollo missions as they got closer and closer to landing on the moon. With all that's happened since Apollo 11, I never thought I'd feel that way again. Thanks, CunningLinguist.
posted by tommasz at 1:00 PM on March 19, 2008


Oh my stars and garters, those were excellent.

I have an unhealthy obsession with satellite imagery, and also get a thrill from hunting through open government-agency ftp servers for fun stuff. For anybody with similar afflictions, this will provide hours of fun. Please do not strip-mine the server: there are 57MB TIFFs involved, and nobody wants them to have to lock it down.

Directory suggestions: goes east (or west) -> fulldisk -> vis.
posted by sixswitch at 1:02 PM on March 19, 2008


It must be beautiful to be up there. But see all that space between the astronauts and the ground? That's why they wear diapers.
posted by pracowity at 1:03 PM on March 19, 2008


Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow!
Thank you! Brought a tear to my eye! Goddamn, it is beautiful out there -- I don't care, I'll breathe canned air and live in a box, send me send me send me!

So after the news about Sir Arthur C. Clarke, this does my heart good, these pics. Thank you very much for reminding us what we need to be doing -- we need to be seeing about the serious business of getting the fuck off this rock.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:10 PM on March 19, 2008


WRT the question about "Where is that?" I distinctly recall one of NASA's Image of the Day (or maybe it was APOD) pages having that exact photo with a caption describing where over the world they were at the time that photo was taken, but I cannot for the life of me find it right now despite multiple searches. I'll get back to you on that.
posted by brownpau at 1:14 PM on March 19, 2008


Not certain but it looks like New Zealand looking from the SE with South island to the left.

Yeah, that looks right. I just compared that particular photo to the satellite images of New Zealand provided by Google Maps and they look awfully similar.
posted by NoMich at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2008


Speaking of APOD, there's a gorgeous picture of Mercury there today. Interestingly, in the first draft of the script for Forbidden Planet, Mercury was the setting. I like Altair 4 better.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:17 PM on March 19, 2008


Oops, meant to put in this link as well, for anybody who enjoys staring at SOHO imagery (used extensively in Danny Boyle's fantastic but ill-starred Sunshine).

Work backwards from this address for fun solar exploration.

Excellent link, CunningLinguist.
posted by sixswitch at 1:19 PM on March 19, 2008


This whole thing is just a silly viral ad for something called "Canada". I dismiss you, Canada.
posted by Mister_A at 1:24 PM on March 19, 2008


Turns out that the photo in question is from an EVA during an earlier mission, STS-116, showing NASA's Bob Curbeam and ESA's Christer Fuglesang working on the ISS's P5 Truss while their orbit took them over Cook Strait, New Zealand.

On preview: ah, NoMich has it, just as I find it on NASA IOTD and the STS-116 image archive. OK, I shut up now. I am being outed by this thread as more of a spacegeek than I'll admit to even myself.
posted by brownpau at 1:25 PM on March 19, 2008


It is New Zealand. I can see my Mum's house
posted by dydecker at 1:26 PM on March 19, 2008


WHO'S AWESOME? YOU'RE AWESOME!
posted by brownpau at 1:27 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


As brownpau said, many of these have been Nasa Image of the Day pictures. There, they're in a slightly less manipulated form - I have a softer (colorwise) version of this one as my desktop.

Original image on NASA IOTD

The earth (in the original, unmanipulated one) in the background is just insane to me - it looks like snow, snow that is right next to you, at your feet.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2008


New Zealand's in the northern hemisphere, right?
posted by BrotherFeldspar at 1:37 PM on March 19, 2008


My Mum went to school with a lady who later went on to marry an astronaut who flew on five missions. The year of his last mission (93 I think, he went up with his space spanner to fix the Hubble telescope) the family Christmas card was of him spacewalking with the earth in the background. We framed it!

Actually, according to brownpau's link, I think he was looking for a potentially deadly rip in his glove!


I met him a couple of times and he showed me round the Space Centre in Houston. They practice spacewalks in a vacuum with the temperature lowered to minus a great deal. He was training once with a guy whose gloves weren't working correctly and he got frostbite and lost the tip of a finger. In training, this is. And they also have an swimming pool with a full-size shuttle in it which they use for weightlessness training. Coolest fucking thing I ever did see.
posted by jontyjago at 2:23 PM on March 19, 2008


No stars… FAKE!

Actually, those are really incredible. Nice to see some great photography from up on high again. Now they just need some nice HD video cameras for the missions. There is no excuse for the shitty quality footage that has (rarely) made the evening news since the 80's. That's the reason the space missions lost their luster in the publics eye. Bad photography made it all look cheap and boring. Back in the 60's, man, you've seen For All Mankind right? That is photography. 70mm film, Hasselblad stills. Finally they're taking advantage of the opportunity to WOW us again.
posted by JBennett at 3:22 PM on March 19, 2008


You know, for whatever reason I ended up landing on the fifth photo down, and all I could think was, "I didn't know they did a Space Shuttle Transformers bot!"
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 3:50 PM on March 19, 2008


Great pictures.

Though they reaffirm what I've known for years: I could never do what astro/cosmo/taikonauts do. I just simply don't have the stones for it. The idea of floating off into space and being unable to do anything about it in a frictionless zero-G environment scares the crap out of me. To me that is what being buried alive was to Poe.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:42 PM on March 19, 2008


It just looks as though they should be hurtling back to the planet from where they are orbiting. Can't wait to show my seven-year-old these. Thanks.

Well, they are hurtling back to the planet, but the planet is somewhere else by the time they get to it. c.f., orbit.
posted by odinsdream at 6:47 PM on March 19, 2008


You know, I get tired of all this photoshop wankery, and the stoopid HDR crap too. And, why the fuck do they have such impossible to navigate sites...

Oh, wait....

nevermind
posted by Eekacat at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2008


These are beautiful, thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 PM on March 19, 2008


The idea of floating off into space and being unable to do anything about it in a frictionless zero-G environment scares the crap out of me. To me that is what being buried alive was to Poe.

For an EVA done when the Shuttle is flying by itself, it can come get you if you become disconnected from structure. When an EVA is performed at the ISS, astronauts are equipped with a teeny-tiny little rocketpack (called SAFER) with just enough capability to stop you from tumbling and let you translate back to the station. The SAFER units attach near the bottom the suit's backpack, making it look like it extends lower (towards the feet).
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:34 PM on March 19, 2008


Late to thread ... As discussed above (I skimmed), the second picture shows New Zealand in the background. I have had a blow up of that exact picture on my office wall for a year. Partially because I'm a space nerd and it's a gorgeous picture, but partially because I was planning a trip to New Zealand! Which actually happened in the past month. During the trip I took that picture down off the wall and stuck it on my door with a note:

[intermod] is here ... no, not at the space station, in New Zealand (background)

And I just got back 10 days ago, and only now am I starting to get enough time (getting resynced with Regular Life) to even consider wandering over to Metafilter, and what do I find ...

P.S. the fact that Metafilter uses EM and STRONG tags instead of I and B is totally hot

P.P.S. Tonight's Jeopardy had a question about Arthur C. Clarke. Taped months ago.
posted by intermod at 7:42 PM on March 19, 2008


That has got to be an incredible trip: Floating in space, with nothing between you and the void except a padded spacesuit and a reflective visor. The great thing about these pictures is you can almost imagine being in them. Thanks for posting these.
posted by dylan20 at 8:40 PM on March 19, 2008


Thanks for the post. These pictures are stunning.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 PM on March 19, 2008


Probably linked alread, but here is NASA's shuttle multimedia page.

Lots of unbelievable EVA photographs, but also lots of interior shots. This is inside Zvezda, with lovely Russian homeliness (and Yuri Gagarin!).
posted by Harry at 8:15 AM on March 20, 2008


but also lots of interior shots.

Obviously fake, you can't see any stars.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 AM on March 20, 2008


good explanation for why you can't see stars in these NASA photos is here.
posted by alohaliz at 11:20 AM on March 20, 2008


Awesome photos - and so surreal to see a fully suited astronaut pausing from their work to wave to the camera. Really cool. The space shuttle looks sooooo old! Can't they at least slap a coat of paint on it?
I think the Shuttle looks amazing. With the imminent retirement of the shuttle, it looks like NASA is going back to the sixties with the old school Orion spacecraft.
Though the shuttle is expensive to operate with per pound costs into the tens of thousands (launches cost around half a billion USD), its elegance and utility are hard to deny.
Regardless of expenses, I agree with Burt Rutan in believing that space exploration should advance technology and not just recycle it as it appears the Constellation Program is doing.
posted by coachfortner at 11:21 AM on March 20, 2008


I disagree. Space exploration should advance exploration. The shuttle is a 36-year-old design that has been exposed as needlessly risky and has capabilities that we don't actually need (e.g. downmass). By moving to evolved versions of proven designs (come on, Constellation is not Apollo, look at the stages) we can focus on the next steps of space exploration instead of farting around with tile repair caulking guns and bringing the entire manned program to a multi-year standstill every decade or so when those tough odds catch up with us.

I agree that Constellation looks like the same old same old. In that vein, though, what your ire should really be directed at is the return to the Moon lunacy. We should be going to an asteroid, then to Mars. Skip the Moon. Basic orbital dynamics shows that it would not be a "stepping stone" to Mars anyway. See also The Planetary Society's efforts to get NASA to consider the asteroid interim step instead.
posted by intermod at 9:41 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


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