1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

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1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby xxnnss » Fri May 30, 2014 4:22 am UTC

Image

Title text: "That night, retired USAF pilots covertly replaced the '62' with '50'."

SpaceX Dragon V2 Unveil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZJLAo6VRtA starts at 35.08

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 30, 2014 5:06 am UTC

Is there like a thing where the USAF defines the edge of space as 50 miles up (and some pilots have flown that high and like to keep bragging that they've "been to space")?
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Moonfish » Fri May 30, 2014 5:10 am UTC

Isn't that 22.0641062 meters short?

Edit: In my rush to get my post near the top I misplaced the decimal point. It should have been 220.641062 meters. Thanks CharlieP.
Last edited by Moonfish on Fri May 30, 2014 8:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri May 30, 2014 5:26 am UTC

Next, they're going to convert all the distances to light years.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby cincykid » Fri May 30, 2014 5:36 am UTC

This sign is near... Grenada, Mississippi?

Edit: Silly me, forgetting state abbreviations.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Moonfish » Fri May 30, 2014 5:41 am UTC

The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sigh.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby cincykid » Fri May 30, 2014 5:47 am UTC

The Mississippi 'Devil's Crossroads' is in Clarksdale MS, no?

But that's about 151 miles to Jackson and 76 miles to Memphis [Google Maps].

Why are are there no units (miles, km) on the signs?

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby hetas » Fri May 30, 2014 6:31 am UTC

Maybe it's in nautical miles.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby eviloatmeal » Fri May 30, 2014 6:35 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Is there like a thing where the USAF defines the edge of space as 50 miles up (and some pilots have flown that high and like to keep bragging that they've "been to space")?

Pretty much that, yes.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Justme8800 » Fri May 30, 2014 7:19 am UTC

Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sigh.


I hate how imprecise these road signs are. I was on my way to Philadelphia the other day... I arrived at the distance the signs had said, but I sat there looking lost for half an hour until a passing motorist explained to me that I had another hundred meters to go. I will vote for the next candidate who promises to amend signs to sub-meter precision, the tyrannical reign of significant figures must come to an end.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby SparkOut » Fri May 30, 2014 7:29 am UTC

Is the angle of that sign really showing the shortest path to space?

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby CharlieP » Fri May 30, 2014 7:43 am UTC

Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sigh.


62 miles is 99,779.328 metres - add the 88.5 m elevation and you're still 132.172 metres short. The 22 metres mentioned earlier should have read 220.672 metres.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby CharlieP » Fri May 30, 2014 7:47 am UTC

Justme8800 wrote:
Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sigh.


I hate how imprecise these road signs are. I was on my way to Philadelphia the other day... I arrived at the distance the signs had said, but I sat there looking lost for half an hour until a passing motorist explained to me that I had another hundred meters to go. I will vote for the next candidate who promises to amend signs to sub-meter precision, the tyrannical reign of significant figures must come to an end.


I'd like to see all our road signs changed to metres and kilometres, but I suspect I'm in a small minority.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Pedro » Fri May 30, 2014 7:48 am UTC

Where we are depends on which Jackson we assume is referred to.

If it’s Jackson, MS (pop. 175 kilohumans), then we have to be in Grenada, MS or quite close — the total distance from Memphis, TN to Jackson, MS is c.210 miles (center to center), or at best 200mi (boundary to boundary), so Pythagoras doesn’t allow us much wiggle room.

If it’s Jackson, TN (pop. 67kh), then there’s much more room to play with, and so Tupelo, MS and Paragould, AK would indeed both be options.

My instinct would be to assume both Memphis and Jackson refer to the most notable places with those names, though, and also that the distances are in miles both since it’s a US sign, and since (115+98)km is shorter than the direct distance from Memphis, TN to Jackson, MS.

Unfortunately I can’t find a settlement named “Space” anywhere in this region. Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby CharlieP » Fri May 30, 2014 7:54 am UTC

cincykid wrote:Why are are there no units (miles, km) on the signs?


Do US distance markers customarily have units? The only signs I've ever seen (in over 20 countries) with a unit are in the Republic of Ireland, who switched from miles to kilometres in the last decade.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri May 30, 2014 8:44 am UTC

eviloatmeal wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Is there like a thing where the USAF defines the edge of space as 50 miles up (and some pilots have flown that high and like to keep bragging that they've "been to space")?

Pretty much that, yes.

That's an interesting read. So apparently the Karman line is some ridiculous space definition that is only really relevant to people flying in aeroplanes with wings of average size? The sign is still 0.5 to 925 Mm short, then again, with Randall coming from NASA the FAI definition seems more reasonable.
SparkOut wrote:Is the angle of that sign really showing the shortest path to space?

No, they show the highway, they don't want you to go through the towns.
Justme8800 wrote:
Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sigh.


I hate how imprecise these road signs are. I was on my way to Philadelphia the other day... I arrived at the distance the signs had said, but I sat there looking lost for half an hour until a passing motorist explained to me that I had another hundred meters to go. I will vote for the next candidate who promises to amend signs to sub-meter precision, the tyrannical reign of significant figures must come to an end.

They show distances with 100m precision here on bicycle signs, but not on signs intended for cars.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby JTL » Fri May 30, 2014 9:58 am UTC

This feels a little like Geoguesser...
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Clix » Fri May 30, 2014 11:41 am UTC

Don't assume that the distance is to the city boundary or center.

Good Question: Where do mileage signs lead?

"I think we all have a destination don't we?" said Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson Debbie Tower. "Florida Department of Transportation actually designates a central location within cities."

They're called 'control points.'

...Signs don't lead to city limits or landmarks. So how does DOT decide control points?

"We're looking for an intersection," Tower explained. "We're looking for something that will consistently, through time, remain toward the center of the city."


<edit> Though the point for a nearby city is toward the northern boundary thanks to urban sprawl. So I guess when the control point was established comes into play as well.
Last edited by Clix on Fri May 30, 2014 11:46 am UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 30, 2014 11:44 am UTC

SparkOut wrote:Is the angle of that sign really showing the shortest path to space?

So you typically put your launch site as close to the equator as you can, to take advantage of the speed of the earth's rotation, which gives you a cool 1676km/h =465m/s on the equator. Assuming you can accelerate your rocket to top speed instantly, you get the most benefit from this if you launch horizontally since it will simply add arithmetically to your speed; you get the least benefit if you launch vertically (because of the squaw on the hippopotamus.) On the other hand, for a horizontal launch you have to plough through the most atmosphere (not to mention forests, cities etc) on the way to spaaaaace. I conclude that there's an optimal launch angle that's somewhat east of vertical (i.e. towards Jackson, as in the picture). But I'm no rocket scientist. I looked up "Optimal trajectory" on the Great Wiki, but my eyes glazed over somewhere in the introductory paragraph.

EDIT: I was looking at Jackson, Tennessee, which is roughly East of Memphis, but now I realise y'all are thinking of Jackson, Mississippi, which makes more sense distance-wise.
Last edited by orthogon on Fri May 30, 2014 11:55 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby brenok » Fri May 30, 2014 11:51 am UTC

CharlieP wrote:
cincykid wrote:Why are are there no units (miles, km) on the signs?


Do US distance markers customarily have units? The only signs I've ever seen (in over 20 countries) with a unit are in the Republic of Ireland, who switched from miles to kilometres in the last decade.

Reading the Wikipedia article on traffic signs it seems that units are common in many countries. What are these 20 countries you have been to?

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby cellocgw » Fri May 30, 2014 12:21 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Next, they're going to convert all the distances to light years.



Bah, let's use furlongs. But only to avoid the inevitable "US or European football field? Did you remember the end zones?" wars.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Lazar » Fri May 30, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

No. It rounds to the nearest mile for the cities (as real road signs do), so it should do the same for space.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Earthling on Mars » Fri May 30, 2014 1:17 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Next, they're going to convert all the distances to light years.

"Memphis, .000000000016 light years"

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby goodluckfox » Fri May 30, 2014 1:23 pm UTC

Yeah, that's around Grenada somewhere. Jackson MS is a lot more noteworthy than Jackson TN. So it could be either on I-55, or highway 51.

Why the heck did Randall choose Memphis and Jackson??? He could have picked any two cities anywhere!

I-55 sticks to the hills and doesn't go into the Delta proper. The Delta is flat as a pancake, with hills off in the distance. And the drawing doesn't look like interstate or a ramp on an interstate. More like a Delta crossroads with hills off in the distance. Maybe somwhere on 49?

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby BlueNight » Fri May 30, 2014 2:10 pm UTC

SparkOut wrote:Is the angle of that sign really showing the shortest path to space?

That's what I was thinking, that someone tilted the space sign so it's not pointing directly up. As for the precision, it's simply the number everyone knows. Here in Albuquerque, as in Denver, it's 61 miles.

The power of "known numbers" is not to be underestimated (no pun intended): there's a sign on I-25 near the Comanche overpass that says Denver is 444 miles; that number sticks in my mind, while I still don't know how many miles it is to Santa Fe on the very same sign: 62? 60? 65?

Update:
Image
Well, that particular sign was taken down during the overpass rebuild a couple years back, so the nearest one is a mile north, 443 miles from Denver. Funnily enough, that also means the mileage to Santa Fe on that sign would have been 55. You'd think I'd have remembered 55, especially during an era when it was the national speed limit, but the coolness of the 444 ("trips") must have blocked my appreciation and memory of the 55 (mere "dubs").

But thanks to this thread, at least I'll remember the distance to Santa Fe now.

And thanks to this thread, I now know that The Big I (intersection of I-25 and I-40) is about equidistant to both space and the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Moose Anus » Fri May 30, 2014 2:57 pm UTC

Pedro wrote:Unfortunately I can’t find a settlement named “Space” anywhere in this region. Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?
There's the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama, but it seems kind of far.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 30, 2014 3:17 pm UTC

Moose Anus wrote:
Pedro wrote:Unfortunately I can’t find a settlement named “Space” anywhere in this region. Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?
There's the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama, but it seems kind of far.

The Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge is quite near. Nothing to do with space, but ... Bald Knob! :wink: :evil:
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri May 30, 2014 3:23 pm UTC

Moose Anus wrote:
Pedro wrote:Unfortunately I can’t find a settlement named “Space” anywhere in this region. Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?
There's the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama, but it seems kind of far.

Maybe they refer to some unnamed empty area.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby mcdigman » Fri May 30, 2014 3:52 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:
Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

No. It rounds to the nearest mile for the cities (as real road signs do), so it should do the same for space.


Its actually probably too precise for significant figures already, given that the exact place where space starts is arguable, and the fact that the actual definition of the Karman Line is 100 km, which has only one significant figure. Clearly by replacing the sign with '50' the USAF vets were simply correcting the sign to only display one significant figure, as is probably more appropriate.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Laimbrane » Fri May 30, 2014 4:04 pm UTC

I found this sign just off the exit 206 of I-55 near Grenada, Mississippi.

I'm not allowed to post the link, yet, but the image at tYwQvSf on imgur is the picture of the sign there.

No numbers, but the distance to Jackson, MS is about 112 miles and the distance to Memphis, TN is about 99. It's right near the town of Grenada. For reasons I can't figure out, there's a 1/2 cent postage stamp called the Space Shuttle Launch Stamp released by the country of Grenada in 1978.

Grenada, Memphis, and Jackson all have airports, though the nautical distances are wrong.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby orthogon » Fri May 30, 2014 4:07 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
Moose Anus wrote:
Pedro wrote:Unfortunately I can’t find a settlement named “Space” anywhere in this region. Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?
There's the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama, but it seems kind of far.

Maybe they refer to some unnamed empty area.

I visited some friends in Maine once; when I got to their place I mentioned that I'd been puzzled to see signs saying I was entering "R2D2". They laughed: I'd remembered it wrong. Actually it was "T2R9", which, I was told, was, "Town 2, Row 9". It seems that in the US (or perhaps only in Maine), everywhere has to be somewhere. The idea of spaces in between towns and cities wasn't acceptable. Areas of a given size that had no built-up areas were simply labelled as imaginary towns on a grid system. (This must have been on the I95 north of Bangor, ME, south of the turnoff for Millinocket. I haven't been able to find T2R9 on the map yet).

EDIT: OK, it's Township 2, Range 9.
Last edited by orthogon on Fri May 30, 2014 4:12 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby thevicente » Fri May 30, 2014 4:11 pm UTC

Back in 2009, when the Star Trek movie came, and with it the controversy about the Enterprise being built on the surface, someone posted somewhere it was justified because "Iowa is directly below space"

I thought that was clever.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby ps.02 » Fri May 30, 2014 4:18 pm UTC

See I think space should be defined as any volume that can be but is not permanently occupied by liquid or solid matter. I also think interstellar should mean between stars, as opposed to inside a star. Thus it is that I make my home in interstellar space.

Also, I regularly make a grocery run in less than 12 parsecs.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 30, 2014 4:19 pm UTC

Clix wrote:Don't assume that the distance is to the city boundary or center.


About twenty years ago, I visited a theme park (Chessington World of Adventures) - leaving the train station, we passed a sign saying the park was 1/2 mile on foot. About quarter of a mile later, we passed a second, identical sign. Another quarter of a mile, and the path met the boundary fence of the park; another quarter mile, and we reached the main entrance.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Coyne » Fri May 30, 2014 5:00 pm UTC

Moonfish wrote:The sign should factor in its elevation above sea level, but then the joke wouldn't be as funny.

I don't have the software ready to triangulate the possible locations of the sign, so I’ll just use Google maps for a quick guess.

I like either Tupelo Mississippi, which is a 106 Mile drive from Jackson and 105 to Memphis or Paragould Arkansas, 125 to Jackson and 83 to Memphis.
The elevation of Tupelo is 279 ft (85 m), Paragould is 302 ft (92 m)
So this sign is probably around 88.5 m above sea level, add that to the 22.0641062 which is the difference between 62 miles and the Kármán line as defined in km and a lost space traveler will end up about 100 meters short of space if she follows this wayward sign.


Years ago, there was a Don Martin (Mad Magazine) comic, with a western setting in Laramie, Wyoming. One of the lines was, "Meanwhile, across the street and 400 miles to the west..." (Like across the street matters over 400 miles.)

Now the space definition being used is 10,000,000 metres, and you're saying the stupid sign falls about 100 metres short. So 0.001% short?

So it's an easy fix: We just change the sign to say: SPACE 62.001

Dratted rounding errors.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby Rufaellie » Fri May 30, 2014 5:37 pm UTC

Yeah, to everyone who opened up Google Maps to try and find the location of this sign, it seems you've been: http://xkcd.com/356/
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby chefschubert » Fri May 30, 2014 6:29 pm UTC

On Hwy 55 north of Jackson, most signs measure the distance to Exit 98 (Hwy 25/Lakeland Drive) or Exit 96B (High Street/State Capitol). From that perspective, the indicated sign might be found at exit 211, which is the MS-333 bridge near Frog Hollow State Park, or at mile marker 213. This points to an intersectionless area of Memphis, so the likelihood is low.
The Mississippi signs giving mileage to Memphis typically measure the distance to the 55/240 interchange, exit 5A. This would indicate that Randall's sign is at Mississippi mile marker 208, near where US 51 crosses under IH55. Then the Jackson mileage would indicate the I-20/I-55 exchange, making this the most likely scenario.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby thevicente » Fri May 30, 2014 6:46 pm UTC

Also the arrow can be pointed in any direction, the vandalism can be just changing the number on it.

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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby BlueNight » Fri May 30, 2014 7:01 pm UTC

thevicente wrote:Also the arrow can be pointed in any direction, the vandalism can be just changing the number on it.

So if you point it directly to the right, how far is it to space?
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This far.
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Re: 1375: "Astronaut Vandalism"

Postby rtanenbaum » Fri May 30, 2014 7:29 pm UTC

Is there anything 62mi from Grenada that could reasonably be signed as “Space”?

There is a Pace, Mississippi (population 364) approximately 62 miles west of the intersection of Route 8 and Interstate 55 which is very close to Grenada.
So when the road sign was vandalized it was rotated to point upwards and the letter 'S' was added to the name.
A hypothetical road sign at that intersection would have roughly correspond to the mileage on the sign.
However it is highly unlikely that the sign would reference Pace.
More likely it would reference Cleveland, MS which is the larger town on the same route.


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