McNASA and whale oil

April 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm | | stupid technology

This is the strangest paragraph I’ve read in a while:

“But during the 1980s, [NASA] lost much of its old high-quality data. Its early tracking stations recorded satellite data on high-resolution master tapes that used whale oil to bind iron particles to the acetate. The whale oil made the tapes far more durable, but when commercial whaling was phased out in the mid-1980s, NASA couldn’t get such long-lasting tapes. So it reused old ones. NASA engineers taped over some 200,000 previously recorded master tapes, including high-resolution records from spacecraft as diverse as early Landsat satellites and Apollo 11, and preserved only low-resolution copies.” (source)

I checked to make sure it wasn’t the April 1st issue of Science. The entire article is weird, including the fact that researchers are working out of an abandoned McDonald’s.

Just another reason to start hunting those smug whales again.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. Sorry PETA, I’m doing this in the name of science!

    Comment by Will — April 16, 2010 #

  2. Yeah, now they cook the tapes in beef fat, and and if you ask nicely, they’ll supersize the data for you.

    Comment by jordan — April 19, 2010 #

  3. Or we could make the Japanese stop killing whales for “research,” (i.e. sell the meat) and kill the whales for something useful. This is a weird story.

    Comment by Jacob Peacock — June 9, 2010 #

  4. I always support the cause of PETA.`*:

    Comment by Hayden Robertson — June 17, 2010 #

  5. Our lab is currently suffering because one the gold standards of myoglobin research was Sperm whale myoglobin. Except that now it costs an arm and a leg because it’s apparently not cool to run the seas red with the labours of our research.

    Comment by Kendall — June 23, 2010 #

Leave a comment

thanks for the comment

Powered by WordPress, Theme Based on "Pool" by Borja Fernandez
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS.