Knots in Space!

Superinteressanter, extrem nerdiger Artikel im International Guild of Knot Tyers-Forum über die Knoten in den Kabelbindern der NASA, die zusammen mit Curiosity grade auf dem Mars rumfahren.

NASA has in-house standards for the knots and methods used on their spacecraft. These are specified in NASA Technical Standard NASA-STD-8739.4 -- Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses, and Wiring. As far as I've been able to identify in the rover images below, all of the lacings shown are one of two of the several patterns specified in the standard.

The above illustration shows the so-called "Spot Tie". It is a clove hitch topped by two half-knots in the form of a reef (square) knot. In addition to its pure binding role, it is also used to affix cable bundles to tie-down points, as can be seen in many of the Curiosity rover images below.

Knot history buffs might find it interesting that a "Spot Tie"-like knot, with opposite Clove Hitch end orientation and topped only with a single half-knot was illustrated in 1917 by A. Hyatt Verrill under the name "Gunner's Knot". This was seemingly due to Verrill copying from J.T. Burgess, who had oversimplified "Bowling's" description of what possibly was the first known textual description of the Constrictor knot. But that's a whole different can of worms!

Knots on Mars! (and a few thoughts on NASA's knots) (via MeFi)