Houston, We Have a Parking Problem [VIDEO]

The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 7 2013 8:00 AM

Houston, We Have a Parking Problem

A somewhat more advanced version of NASA's MMSEV may explore other worlds.

Photo by NASA Johnson Space Center

Having driven around NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, I know how hard it can be to find a parking space, so I feel this guy’s pain.

Ha! That video was made by students at JSC as part of a fun, satirical video series (called "This is JSC") to promote NASA. The vehicle is called the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle, and is something like a concept car; a vehicle meant to stretch the imagination and test out some engineering ideas. In this case it’s built on lessons learned from the rovers on Mars and the ones used by Apollo astronauts on the Moon. The MMSEV can be used to explore the surface of other worlds, and the cabin can be modified to be used in space as well to transport astronauts and supplies.


I saw this thing up close when we were filming “Bad Universe” in JSC’s huge Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. We didn't have a lot of time so I was only able to walk past it (there's a lot to see in that cavernous warehouse), and now I wish I had had more time to take a good look at it. It’s clearly a fascinating machine, and given the video, I think it would also prove useful in cities here on Earth, too. It’s no Urban Assault Vehicle, but I imagine it would have its advantages.

[P.S. This isn't the first time folks at JSC have made a funny video to do outreach. You may remember this one.]

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.