A small interestiong article I read in the news today..
Wednesday, July 5, 2006
HOUSTON - NASA's rocket scientists have a new appreciation for the out-of-this-world power of bird droppings.
The orbiting space shuttle Discovery sported some whitish splotches on its black right wing edge that NASA officials said appeared to be bird droppings.
Shuttle lead flight director Tony Ceccacci said he saw the same splotches on the identical part of the shuttle about three weeks ago when Discovery was on the launch pad and laughed when pictures beamed back from space Wednesday showed they were still there.
That means these bird droppings withstood regular Florida thunderstorms, a mighty Fourth of July launch during which 300,000 gallons (1,135,590 liters) of water is sprayed at the shuttle's main engines, and a burst upward through Earth's atmosphere. During that launch Discovery went from zero to 17,500 mph (28,158 kph) in just under 9 minutes.
And still the bird droppings remained in place. Mostly.
Some of the droppings may have shaken off during liftoff, Ceccacci guessed. He figures the rest will burn up during landing, when the shuttle's edges get as hot as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,649 Celsius).
Rob Fergus, science coordinator for Audubon At Home, a division of the National Audubon Society, sometimes gets calls from people asking how to remove bird excrement from their cars.
"Usually they can hose it off," he said. "Apparently that doesn't work with the space shuttle. Maybe they need a bigger hose."