Everyone involved in The Hunger Games to get the new iPhone X already knows the drill — it comes in only two colors, silver or space gray. While the two might not sound that different, a former NASA astronaut who flew aboard the space shuttle Atlantis tells Inverse there’s some actual history behind the popular “space gray.”
“There are panels that the switches [in the space shuttle] are mounted on that look like that color,” Leland Melvin, former NASA Astronaut and current Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) advocate, tells Inverse. “I like to get Space Gray but sometimes I just get what they have in the store.”
Melvin adds that space gray looks like aluminum, which was ubiquitous aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, which he flew on in 2008 and 2009 as mission specialist. “[Aluminum is used] for all the different systems, like electrical, hydraulic, robotics work station, etc,” Melvin says.
Apple first introduced Space Gray back in 2013, when it debuted the iPhone 5 collection. The dark gray definitely gives the phone a 2001: A Space Odyssey quality without being ostentatious. Perhaps the drawback of the iPhone X isn’t its limited color range, but its extreme fragility. At least that’s what people who know more about tech than I do are saying.
While most of us will never go to space, getting a phone that looks like it could come from space is definitely the next best thing option. If it allows us to live vicariously through astronauts far more capable than us, then it’s worth every penny.