spaceSpace and Physics

Hilarious Sign At NASA Reveals Space Engineers Are Just Like The Rest Of Us


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Bobak Ferdowsi/Twitter

Sometimes even the best of us have our moments of weakness. And that applies even to NASA, it would seem.

In a post on Twitter, NASA engineer Bobak Ferdowsi (he of mohawk fame) tweeted a rather amusing picture of a sign in a bathroom at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.


“How do you expect to do a 25 km flyby of Europa, if you can’t even hit the garbage can?!?” the sign reads.

Ferdowsi noted that even some of NASA’s brightest minds can’t seem to get to grips with putting stuff in a trashcan.


“For reference, we're talking flying a spacecraft 15 mi / 25 km above the surface of a moon [about] 500,000,000 mi / 800,000,000 km away,” Ferdowsi added. “The trashcan is arm's length away.”

Someone added on the sign: “Pad target acquisition. Pointing errors. Injection errors… Good thing these guys aren’t the navigators!”


NASA is, of course, planning a mission to Europa called the Europa Clipper (no word on any missions to improve trashcan usage yet, though).

They’re hoping to launch in the 2020s, and they’ll of course need to have some pretty precise calculations to complete the planned 45 flybys of Europa during the mission.

Hopefully, by then, trashcan etiquette will have improved.


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