Thursday, May 28, 2009


I started this yesterday and ended up getting distracted by an aircraft emergency probably something shiny. Therefore...

Today is Yesterday was Paul Desmond Scully-Power's birthday.
Besides having a cool surname that pays unintentional homage to The X-Files, Scully-Power was party to a pretty heated diplomatic incident.

Scully-Power was a crew member aboard Challenger for STS-41G.
STS-41G was memorable for a couple of reasons. First, it was the very first time that astronauts had taken an IMAX camera aboard the shuttle to film. (The Dream is Alive was released the following year. I might have seen it once or twice. Or thrice.)

But here's something you might not know.

On 10 October 1984, the Evil Empire (the one not created by George Lucas), enraged after seeing this Wendy's commercial*

flipped its hair, stomped its feet, and fired a "warning shot" at Challenger from the Terra-3 laser complex, which caused onboard systems to fail and caused temporary blindness in the crew.
Fortunately, the problems either fixed themselves or were easily repaired.

As you can imagine, this resulted in a fairly substantial diplomatic protest.

The laser bit didn't make the movie. However, if they had put it in, I'll wager The Dream is Alive would have grossed 18 kajillion bucks and solved NASA's funding problems for a hundred years.
If the crew of Challenger had fired back, we'd be driving flying cars on Saturn by now.


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