In May, as it prepared to take off, we offered a list of the five coolest mission patches of the shuttle Endeavour.
We wish we could do the same for the Atlantis, scheduled tentatively to go up on the last shuttle mission Friday, but it appears the ship did not provide as much inspiration as the Endeavour did.
So we give you Atlantis's ten oddest mission patches:
10. The hidden mustache face Take a look at the very tip of the shuttle. Not the boosters, the ship itself. Do you not see a dude wearing glasses, a Charlie Chan mustache and goatee, with a little cap on his head? You will never unsee it. We are extremely grateful no Asian astronauts were on this mission.
9. Shuttle Mission 98: In which they installed a giant Pixar logo in space We've all seen the bouncing Pixar character that squeaks its way into the logo.
Here it is being installed in space, in what we presume was a promotional campaign for A Bug's Life.
8. World's biggest playground game ever We believe the rules of the playground game the Atlantis is obviously installing in space involve throwing a baseball into a basket, which then spits it out in a crazy direction. Sort of a space-age, highly expensive version of those eight-foot-high cones you see with multiple openings at the bottom for the ball to come out of on not-updated-recently school playgrounds.
7. Shoot-Out at High Noon Two men face each other on a dusty Western street outside the saloon. The mothers have hustled their young'uns into the nearest shop, a nervous storekeeper has whipped down the shade on his front window. Fingers twitching near their guns, the sworn enemies squint as they wait to see who draws first....
6. "And now, your highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden Rebel base" That looks less like the space station gliding towards the shuttle than it does Darth Vader's IT-O Interrogator drone.
5. An homage to Yellow Submarine This overbright patch with a hippie feel has us thinking that rainbow is going to morph into a Blue Meanie or something. We can't be more specific because we've never made it through Yellow Submarine.
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4. Maps drawn while u wait!!! We have no idea what's going on with those strange landforms pictured on the globe here because there appears to be no Florida, but the top half looks like two bears leaning in to kiss each other. CAUTION: Do not use this patch for navigational purposes.
3. Would you prefer the generic patch? Sometimes patch designers just threw up their hands and said, "Fuck it -- toss on a shuttle and a sunrise and let's go get a beer."
2. You had to be there We assume this all makes sense to someone familiar with the actual mission, but since 99 percent of America doesn't care about the specifics of the mission, it instead just looks like it will involve an old sailing ship installing an ultramodern table lamp that features a cool spinning ball as the bulb. Maybe it did, for all we know.
1. "Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby" "Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full." Chuckling, Maverick buzzed the Statue of Liberty anyway.