Gather ’round the campfire kids, it’s time to tell the sad story of a brave free-tailed bat named Brian.
On March 15, 2009, we watched in terror as Brian, a Florida free tailed bat, stubbornly remained attached to Space Shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank moments before launch (left). On Thursday, ten years later, the European Southern Observatory released a stunning photo feature of the Bat Nebula (right). A coincidence? I think not. [NASA/ESO]
On March 15, 2009, Twitter was days away from its third birthday, Ashton Kutcher was one month away from becoming the first tweep to reach one million followers, and a community of space enthusiasts habitually live-tweeted the final space shuttle launches from the comfort of their homes. They were simpler times.
Wikipedia recognizes Brian’s sacrifice.
One launch, however, became infamous — nay, historic —not for the fact it was one of the last handful of launches of NASA’s shuttle program, but because there was a tiny stowaway attached to the shuttle’s bulbous orange external fuel tank minutes before ignition.
That stowaway was an ill-fated bat named “Brian.” And “he” became a legend overnight.
A Legend Is Born
During the countdown to the launch of STS-119, ...