I had a few minutes of spare time today so I read some internet news. I have to differentiate between the regular news and internet news for obvious reasons if you have spent any respectable amount of time online over the past few years.
Last Sunday, NASA detected a small bat clinging to the external fuel tank of the Space Shuttle discovery. A local wildlife expert supposed that the bats wing was damaged and it couldn't let go and fly away.
The poor little bat actually stayed on board for liftoff.
They were monitoring the bat throughout the entire countdown and noticed it would still move from time to time. With all their equipment they were even able to tell its temperature during launch.
NASA coldly summarizes this entire situation with one sentence, "The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery’s climb into orbit."
I for one tend to agree more with Gizmodo in that this bat deserves a more respectful send off. I quote them below with some slight, sensational additions. ;)
"Bereft of his ability to fly and with nowhere to go, a courageous bat climbed aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery with stars in his weak little eyes. For generations, batkind has dreamt (during the day of course) of a future where the eternal goal of becoming one with the night sky would come to fruition. The launch of the Twolegged Hairless Landwalkers Volcanobeast commenced, and Spacebat trembled as his frail mammalian body was gently pushed skyward. For the last time, he felt the primal joy of flight; for the first, the indescribable feeling of ascension into the ethereal, fathomless blackness.
Whether he was consumed in the exhaust flames or frozen solid in the stratosphere is of no concern. We know that Spacebat died, but his dream will live on in all of us."