If you did any Googling today, you might have noticed this, and wondered what it was:
It’s the Canadarm! And Canada’s National Post explains:
The 31rst anniversary of the first launch of the Canadarm, the nation’s robotic space exploration tool, is being celebrated with a Google doodle.
The Canadarm had its first mission on Nov. 13, 1981 on the U.S. space shuttle Columbia. The dexterous robotic arm was used to move and retrieve satellites and provide support for astronauts during spacewalks, among other tasks. Although Canada does not have a space program of its own, the Canadarm is the country’s most visible and famous contribution to the U.S. and international space effort. . .
While the Canadarm’s final mission was shuttle Endeavour in June, the more advanced Canadarm2 has a permanent place on the International Space Station.
The Canadarm has a unique place of pride in the Canadian psyche and is often a point of pride spoken of when referring to the nation’s technological prowess. The U.S. radio program This American Life listed the Canadarm as one of the facts about Canada and Canadians interacting with the United States that every Canadian knows about (and can quote instantly), but that most Americans are clueless about. (The other facts mostly centred around which cast members of 90210 were Canadian, which was true when the TAL episode aired in the late 90s and is still true now.)
Well, I know about Banting and Best, and lots of great Canadian actors, Gordon Lightfoot, Shania Twain, and Tim Horton’s donuts (now sadly debased), but this was new to me. The Canadarm is versatile; it can move payloads, inspect spacecraft damage, repair satellites, and generally look at stuff.
Here’s a video of the Arm in Action:
A mechanical handshake to our neighbors to the north!