The anniversary of the first launch of the Canadarm 31 years ago is being celebrated on Google.ca with a doodle.
The image on Google Canada’s home page depicts an astronaut floating in space and manipulating the Canadarm to spell out the L and E in Google.
Google’s chief doodler Ryan Germick says the suggestion for the image came from the company’s Canadian offices a few months back.
He says his team chooses from “hundreds and hundreds” of doodle ideas to work with and is on track to have completed about 300 by the end of 2012.
Germick says the Canadarm doodle took “several tens of hours” to complete.
The Canadarm had its first mission on Nov. 13, 1981 on the U.S. space shuttle Columbia.
“For doodles we really try to sort of celebrate things that are exciting to Google as a culture and we think will be exciting for our users,” says Germick.
“We’re big proponents of technology and innovation and knowing this is one of the really cool things that Canada has done for space technology we thought it would be the perfect thing to celebrate.”
The Canadarm is 15 metres long with a 33-centimetre diameter and a weight of about 410 kilograms.
The dexterous robotic arm was used to move and retrieve satellites and provide support for astronauts during spacewalks, among other tasks.
Its final mission with shuttle Endeavour ended June 1.