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ISS News

Hula Girl Sighted on ISS

By Keith Cowing
December 4, 2005

Editor’s note: The other day I posted this image wondering if it was showing one of those little troll dolls (you know with the wild spiky hair on top of their heads). Well, it seems I forgot that there is no ‘up’ or ‘down’ in outer space. Had I rotated the image I would have seen that it was a little hula girl. Now that this mystery has been solved, the question remains: what is she doing on board the ISS?

Look just to the left of Bill McArthur’s hand on the laptop in this image: “Astronaut William S. McArthur Jr., Expedition 12 commander and NASA science officer, holds a Hand Control Module (HCM) while looking at laptop computer graphics during a Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) training session in the Unity node of the international space station.”

Reader’s note: “Regarding the Troll sighting – if you turn that image upside down, it looks a hell of a lot like a Hawaiian hula girl bobble doll that you’d find on your dashboard. Looks like a keychain ring coming out of her head.”

Editor’s note: I agree with the reader and think it is a hula girl. If you look at this image – just to the upper right hand corner of the laptop, you will see a green object with two small human feet poking out – and a keychain.

Reader’s note: It’s definitelya hula dancer.

I think this was inspired by the movie “Space Cowboys“, which apparently entertained many of the astronauts when it was released in 2000. At the beginning of the movie you see James Garner flying a jet with a Hula girl on the dashboard. Later, you see it on his pulpitand tie. Finally, during the reentry you see the Hula girl jiggling away on the dash of the shuttle.

As far as I know,a hula dancerfirst appearedofficially on the ISS during STS100 inApril 2001. She’s clearly visible, still in her plastic case and with a sticky note attached, sitting on top of the RMS control station — seeSTS100-390-021 with JamesVoss and SusanHelms(28 April 2001). [and this photo as well -ed.]

Of course, thehula dancer sighted April 2001 in Destiny had a red and white white skirt, while the Octover 2005 one in Unity is clearly green.

And I, for one, welcome our new hula danceroverlords.

I’d love to hear the real story behind this.

Eric Hartwell

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.