On display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., it’s a TKS manned spacecraft:
This obscure little gem is a rarely discussed part of the old Soviet human space program. One constant of that program was that it was bedeviled by internal rivalries and fights over prestige and funding. So, the TKS was one set of hardware (designed by Vladimir Chelomei) that was developed for human flight, tested, then defunded in favor of another (designed by Sergei Korolyov).
Here, you see a Corporalmissile, on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center:
The Corporal missile (not to be confused with the WAC-Corporal sounding rocket) was the U.S.’ first operational guided (vs. ballistic) missile, and the first U.S. guided missile system to be approved to carry a nuclear warhead. It was a rushed, stop-gap weapon, intended for tactical use to defend against a feared Soviet invasion of Western Europe. Continue reading →
Now on display in Paris in the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy (sadly, in a stairwell), it’s an excellent fossilized skeleton of a Palaeotherium Magnum:
Palaeotherium is an extinct genus of quadrupeds, most closely related to modern-day tapirs and horses. Based on the large number of their fossils that have been found to date, they widely roamed the forests that covered western Europe some 45 million years ago. But Palaeotherium browsed on low-hanging leaves (up to about 1-1/2 meters above the ground), leaving it at a disadvantage when Europe dried out, and the ancient forests were replaced by grasslands.
Most species of Palaeotherium were small, measuring about 75 cm (2-1/2 feet) tall at the shoulder. Palaeotherium Magnum was the largest of its kin, nearly reaching the size of a modern-day horse.