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Quick, Robin! To the batosphere!
March 18, 2009 8:57 AM   Subscribe

NASA Interim Problem Report 119V-0080: The bat that went up with the Space Shuttle Discovery.
posted by ardgedee (65 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
This isn't the first time a bat has attempted to travel into space.

Clearly the bats know something we don't.
posted by jedicus at 9:04 AM on March 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


What kind of a world do we live in, where a bat, dressed as an astronaut, gets all of my press? This town needs an enema!
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on March 18, 2009 [18 favorites]


That bat has balls.
posted by dersins at 9:06 AM on March 18, 2009


Oh lord, this how Planet of the Vampires got started isn't it?
posted by Ruby Stevens at 9:06 AM on March 18, 2009


I remember from a tour that the sound of the launch alone can cause extreme physical damage out to a decent distance from the tower, the sound suppression system dumps 300,000 gallons of water onto the pad in 41 seconds just to dampen the worst of the sound waves. I'd guess that this little guy went into shock almost instantly and it's muscles just locked and held it in place.

I'd bet NASA uses sound systems like airports have to drive birds away, a clinging bat isn't really much of a threat, but I bet the PR from this leads them to add at least a token system to drive away bats or non-avian wildlife.
posted by Science! at 9:07 AM on March 18, 2009


I would favorite you a thousand more times, DU, if you had some how managed to incorporate Batdance.
posted by cavalier at 9:08 AM on March 18, 2009


Sonar won't work in a vacuum, bat-dude. Np space bugs for you.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:10 AM on March 18, 2009


I like to think that his is a bat that wasn't satisfied with normal bat life, and latched onto the spaceship in an effort to experience more.

Unfortunately, like Icarus, the poor thing died in its efforts.

Batty the Bat-stronaut: ?-March 17, 2009
posted by elder18 at 9:10 AM on March 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


.
posted by Scoo at 9:11 AM on March 18, 2009


*adds big red smile to painting of mathowie hanging in the mefi lobby*
posted by DU at 9:11 AM on March 18, 2009


.

And they do have systems to drive away bats. The CNN article said they have sirens that drive wildlife away, since they are near a wildlife refuge. In this case the bat had a broken wing and an injured shoulder. It wasn't going anywhere and wouldn't have survived even if they hadn't launched.

Ballsy little bat!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:12 AM on March 18, 2009


And what's he hanging onto? A bolt head? I'm imagining him shrieking into the wind during takeoff. Isn't there a Far Side like that? A flea or a spider or something hanging onto larger animal/vehicle and screaming? (There's the frog that "caught" the airplane, but that's not what I'm picturing.)
posted by DU at 9:13 AM on March 18, 2009


Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
posted by steef at 9:14 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


DU - Best. Bastardised. Batman quote. Ever.
posted by Jofus at 9:16 AM on March 18, 2009


"In the hours before Discovery's liftoff, NASA's Final Inspection Team (called the "ICE team") investigated whether the creature would pose a risk to the shuttle if its body impacted the orbiter's sensitive heat shield tiling. Ultimately, NASA officials signed a waiver confirming that the bat was safe to fly with."

OK, so the bat was partway up the fuel tank - but I thought they had scaffolds etc...around the thing. They couldn't just go get it? Oh, wait, these are the people who are champions at overthinking a plate of beans, but manage to lose a Mars Polar lander because one of its locations used metric, and the other used English, and they were both in the States.
posted by HopperFan at 9:21 AM on March 18, 2009


The bats chose this brave fellow to search out a cure for the dreaded "white nose" IN SPACE!

His injuries were simply a result of the intense space training he had to undergo.
posted by orme at 9:22 AM on March 18, 2009


That's just awful. My grandpa went the same way.
posted by Mister_A at 9:23 AM on March 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


This isn't the first time a bat has attempted to travel into space. Another bat was seen clinging to the side of the external tank attached to the shuttle Endeavour on its STS-72 flight in 1996....Coincidentally, an astronaut aboard that flight, Koichi Wakata of Japan, also flew on Discovery this week, making him the first spaceflyer to share two rides with bats.

Sounds like Wakata's spirit guide is tagging along on the shuttle flights to make sure he reaches LEO okay. Good looking out, bat spirit! Thank you for your sacrifice.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:26 AM on March 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Why does MTV post its videos under Viacom's Spike TV website? Batdance! With bat dancers! Go go go with a smile! Derail but DU started it :p
posted by cavalier at 9:27 AM on March 18, 2009


We will never forget him, nor the last time we saw him, this morning, as he prepared for his journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
posted by Gungho at 9:28 AM on March 18, 2009


He forgot to take his protein pills and put his helmet on. Now he's floating in a most peculiar way.
posted by educatedslacker at 9:38 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The series not even ended, and someone's already trying to relaunch Bat-tlestar.
posted by Benjy at 9:40 AM on March 18, 2009


Groan.
posted by Science! at 9:42 AM on March 18, 2009


You know, if this leads to good looking women wandering around naked trying to steal "life force," I guess I'm on the fence about it.
posted by maxwelton at 9:45 AM on March 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I feel surprisingly bad for the little guy.
posted by aramaic at 9:54 AM on March 18, 2009


"Based on images and video, a wildlife expert who provides support to the center said the small creature was a free tail bat that likely had a broken left wing and some problem with its right shoulder or wrist," NASA officials said Tuesday. "The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery's climb into orbit."

This wildlife expert gives a better diagnosis, based on video tape footage, than I get from 3 visits to my physician.
posted by zerobyproxy at 10:02 AM on March 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


well, when the astronauts come back with an insatiable appetite for blood, i'm sure we'll all be laughing then
posted by pyramid termite at 10:08 AM on March 18, 2009


and... cue Meatloaf
posted by popcassady at 10:10 AM on March 18, 2009


I was really hoping the bat would have gotten inside the shuttle and ended up on the ISS. I picture the Russians befriending him and feeding him freeze dried borscht and vodka.

*thick Russian accent* "He likes the Vodka. He's only a little drunk. Its okay -- he party bat."
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:11 AM on March 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Poor little bat.

.
posted by rtha at 10:44 AM on March 18, 2009


batflightinsane
posted by emelenjr at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2009


GODSPEED Interim Problem 119V-0080

/salute
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:46 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I feel surprisingly bad for the little guy.

I feel *very* bad for the little guy. Once you get past the yecch factor, bats are great, smart, an important part of the ecosystem. They are really amazing and fascinating animals.

You can always give a donation to Bat Conservation International in his (or her) name if you feel really bad.
posted by xetere at 10:48 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Like a bat shot into Space...SPACEBAT!!"

R.I.P. Interim Problem 119V-0080

.
posted by djrock3k at 10:59 AM on March 18, 2009


Heckuva time to get your finger stuck.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:00 AM on March 18, 2009


That bat TOTALLY won that bet.
posted by sidereal at 11:02 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel surprisingly bad for the little guy.

I feel *very* bad for the little guy.


Yeah, this made me sadder than it should've. Poor little bat.
posted by Mavri at 11:09 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


So long and thanks for all the mosquitoes.
posted by rocket88 at 11:10 AM on March 18, 2009


Poor little guy, but what a way to go, huh? Blaze of glory and all that.

*still a tiny bit disappointed the Large Hadron Collider didn't create a black hole that swallowed the earth*
posted by Quietgal at 11:10 AM on March 18, 2009


Let us all hope that this is not the sole use of the wonderful batinsane tag.
posted by Mister_A at 11:18 AM on March 18, 2009


For all we know, he's fine.
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:30 AM on March 18, 2009


I saw this on CNN.com just before stopping by, was flabbergasted by the article's conclusion: "The crew of the Discovery safely docked at the International Space Station on Tuesday. It was unclear whether its stowaway was still clinging to the shuttle."

There's any shred of a rational thought that the bat might still be clinging to the shuttle? Did the writer or an editor give this first fraction of a second's thinking?
posted by ambient2 at 11:40 AM on March 18, 2009


> There's any shred of a rational thought that the bat might still be clinging to the shuttle? Did the writer or an editor give this first fraction of a second's thinking?

The bat was attached to the big orange external fuel tank, not the shuttle itself. Assuming he survived the ascent, he might not have survived after the fuel tank jettisoned into the Atlantic.

CNN's science writers aren't doing a good job, either way.
posted by ardgedee at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2009


WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
posted by yoink at 12:28 PM on March 18, 2009


Launchbat at moment of launch. Hang in there, baby!
posted by steef at 12:54 PM on March 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


what's that, yoink? All I'm getting is a faint squeaking noise.

You can always give a donation to Bat Conservation International in his (or her) name if you feel really bad.


So... what is the little crittur's name, anyway? Spacebat, while obvious, lacks a certain... gravity.

I'm sorry please don't throw rocks at me
posted by mwhybark at 1:02 PM on March 18, 2009


Launchbat I like a little better.

Thanks for that pic, steef, it's the one I was hoping to see when I clicked through upthread.
posted by mwhybark at 1:04 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Launchbat is up among the stars, watching you masturbate.
posted by Mister_A at 1:27 PM on March 18, 2009


Ad astra per aspera. Astrobat, I salute you!
posted by bitmage at 1:29 PM on March 18, 2009


@echo off
call space.bat

rem rip little guy .
posted by samsara at 1:49 PM on March 18, 2009


I would favorite you a thousand more times, DU, if you had some how managed to incorporate Batdance.
posted by cavalier

posted by blueberry at 2:26 PM on March 18, 2009


Ooh! Astrobat! I think that's it!
posted by mwhybark at 2:56 PM on March 18, 2009


BAT•E
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:02 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought its name was already known to be "Interim Problem Report 119V-0080". A damn fine name for a bat in space, methinks.
posted by zoinks at 8:06 PM on March 18, 2009


Yeah, I meant "Interim Problem 119V-0080" of course.
posted by zoinks at 8:08 PM on March 18, 2009


Oh god, that's so sad. The poor injured bat thrust inexorably to his doom.
posted by orthogonality at 9:14 PM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone get the impression that they just said the bat was injured because, "He was fully healthy and had a long, full life ahead of him" would just sound cruel?
posted by dirigibleman at 9:28 PM on March 18, 2009


According to my NASA-employed roommate, his name is Raul.
posted by potch at 10:49 PM on March 18, 2009


Raul, huh? Any batymology of the name?
posted by mwhybark at 7:48 AM on March 19, 2009


Rodent (Airborne) of Unusual Launch
posted by dersins at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The tribute video.
posted by GuyZero at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


tl;dr;

Gizmodo for the win:
Bereft of his ability to fly and with nowhere to go, a courageous bat climbed aboard our Discovery with stars in his weak little eyes. The launch commenced, and Spacebat trembled as his frail mammalian body was gently pushed skyward. For the last time, he felt the primal joy of flight; for the first, the indescribable feeling of ascending toward his dream—a place far away from piercing screeches and crowded caves, stretching forever into fathomless blackness.

Whether he was consumed in the exhaust flames or frozen solid in the stratosphere is of no concern. We know that Spacebat died, but his dream will live on in all of us.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:55 PM on March 19, 2009


I almost completely aspirated a lungful of coffee when "Faith of the Heart" started in that tribute video, GuyZero. Thanks.
posted by steef at 9:43 AM on March 20, 2009


When I finally get turned into a Culture Ship Mind, my name is going to be "Interim Problem 119V-0080".
posted by aramaic at 10:18 AM on March 20, 2009


http://theinternetisterrible.com/wp-content/things/spacebat.jpg
posted by mwhybark at 8:08 AM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


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