Monday, March 16, 2009
Rumors persist that Mang, a well known bat, hitched a ride on the orbiter after his recent return from space where he was piloting a space telescope. Despite evidence including photos, here this was not Mang but another bat named Brian (according to Dr Ian O'Neill).
Also, Brian clearly was not a Scout as can be seen from the lack of protective gear for either the journey or the last minute escape.
Either way, we suspect that Brian may have Gone Home (i.e. he's an ex-bat) if he didn't get away well before launch.
Good luck Brian, where ever you are!
Update: It seems that Brian indeed has gone home. Reports indicate that he did not fly away, was not frozen, and was observed clinging to the external fuel tank of the orbiter as it lifted from the pad. It is believed Brian may have been injured and could not fly away. For more info, photos, and even a song (Major Tom) adapted to honor him - see here and here. (Strangely I have an image from the movie Toy Story stuck in my head - the vibrating face of Woody the Cowboy as he, RT and Buzz strapped to a rocket blast off from the road in pursuit of the moving van - only this time it's Brian face). It's not known how long he could have held on but we can only hope.
God speed, Brian - the world's first hypersonic space bat.