Category Archives: tech

GeekDad:WISE will rise on 12/11

geekdadnewlogoAnother great space telescope is set to launch on Friday morning. Tune in if you can. And be sure to show your kids the replay when they get home from school!

GeekDad: Goodbye Space Shuttle :-(

geekdadnewlogoI forgot to repost my GD article about the demise of the Space Shuttle. So here ye go mate!

And The Hits Keep Coming!

Last week it was ESA and Rosetta. This week, NASA had to go one up on the Europeans.

Waaaaay back in 2006, Cassini was able to image geysers shooting off of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Since that discovery, the Cassini team has been able to swing the orbiting robot into a few really close passes to the moon.

A few days ago, they were able to capture this fantabulous shot!

Enceladus Geysers!

Stu over at Cumbrian Sky has a nice post that sums up my feelings as well (thanks for the pic!). How I’d love to be able to see these geysers with my own eyes!

ESA Rocks Again!

Earlier this week, I pointed to a photo over on the Planetary Society blog that the Rosetta team captured as it approached the Earth-Moon system. Now that the robot is getting closer, it turned it’s eye-camera towards home:



ESA Rocks Too!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you  know I am a big fan of NASA. But, as much as we Americans like to be #1 and want everything to always be about us, there are other space agencies in the world. While not as blessed with a budget as large as NASA’s (and that’s pitifully small if you ask me), the Europeans, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, and a whole host of others nations are working towards building a space-based society.

The Europeans are excellent makers of robotic explorers. One of their “long term” missions, Rosetta, is nearing a key point in its travels. On its way out to its rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014 (where it will go on orbit and release a lander!), Rosetta will make a swing by of Mars once and Earth three times! The third and final swing-by of home is set for this month. Emily Lakdawalla over at the Planetary Society blog, highlights a great picture of a crescent moon taken from Rosetta as it approaches our Earth-Moon system.

Rosetta on final approach to the Moon

I feel so lucky to be alive at a time when space science is going through such a boon. I predict that it is going to be a great 10 – 20 years!


GeekDad: NASA iPhone Application – Download Now!

geekdadnewlogoI forgot to repost this on GC after it landed on GeekDad last week. If you have an iPhone, you MUST download this app!

I Want – A Personal Lunar Lundar

ngllc-patch-2009Missed this over the weekend. The XPrize Lunar Lander Challenge is giving 1,000,000 buckaroos to the first team that can build a lunar lander that:

  • make a round trip between two landing pads
  • refuel at the 2nd landing pad
  • hang in the air for at least 3 minutes during each leg of the round trip
  • land on a pad that is littered with fake lunar boulders

Here is the first leg of flight #1 from Armadillo Aerospace

SQL Swagger

twiter_01On Friday, the #songsincode tag was making its way around the Twitterverse. I came up with one that I thought was pretty cool. Can you guess which song this is:

select count(1) from corner_folk 
where swagger > (select swagger from corner_folk 
where name = "us"); 
0 rows returned;

Only 7 More To Go :-(

The end is coming too fast! I only have seven more chances to catch a Space Shuttle launch. That is unless the Human Space Flight Review Committee recommends an extension for the Shuttle and the Obama administration approves. Big decisions are in the works…

Kayuga Falling Into The Moon

Kayuga completed it’s mission and as planned crashed into the moon last week. JAXA released the HD video of its demise onto their YouTube channel. Wow! LCROSS is many times more massive than Kayuga, so the fireworks will be impressive. But LCROSS does not have an HD camera aboard. Someone should turn this into a 3D video.

Google Wave Is Going To Kill Everybody

I pray for Google’s competition. They will become a monopoly simply because they create the BEST products!

Quick Post: Trusting Machines

I really would like to go into space, but I’m not sure if my gag reflex will let me handle this one!

Absolutely, Positively, 100%, Frakkin, Awesome!

1:10 scale! That’s amazing considering I just saw a close-up of the real thing a few weeks ago at Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

The Saturn V

The Saturn V

Thanks GeekDad for the tip…

Stellarium is awesome!

logo24bitsbetaA few years back, I downloaded a program called Stellarium. It didn’t run well on my PC at the time (I was still stuck on a P4 single core), so I did not get to use it much. Earlier this year I rediscovered this great program after getting my new dual-core XPS M1730.

And wow! This program rocks! If you have any interest in astronomy, even just a teeny-tiny inkling, then this is one program that you need to download. It is so easy to use, yet so flexible and powerful! And did I mention that it was FREE! (p.s. I love open source software).

The night sky is rendered in such fabulous detail. From the motions and paths of the planets and stars, to the constellations and the artistic drawings that represent them, to the user interface itself, Stellarium is a top-notch desktop astronomy package.

The program comes in Windows, Mac, and Linux flavors. The Windows package is about 43 MB, so it will take a minute or two to arrive on your PC. And don’t be alarmed by being redirected to the SourceForge download page. This is a well-known and respected repository for a number of open source packages. After downloading the package, just run the EXE to get the install started.

And after installing, download the User’s Guide PDF file (also available on the main Stellarium page). It will help you set up your location and you will be well on your way to exploring the night sky.

Here are a few other links to help you find your way around the program:

Here are some of my favorite aspects of Stellarium:

Constellation outlines!

Constellation outlines!

Photorealistic close-ups!

Photorealistic close-ups!

Planetary close-ups include moons!

Planetary close-ups include moons!

Change constellations to other cultures!

Change constellations to other cultures!