Blog Archives

What Did You Do For Your Job Today?

Me: Built a couple of tables in the Data Warehouse, continued to be surprised at the rigidity of  Teradata, put off yet again that division-wide SOA meeting

These dudes: Spent the day arguing the merits of various landing sites for Curiosity (personally, I’m partial to Gale Crater)

Current career: 0

Planning for the future: +1

I meant to post something like this last week when the conference wrapped up…

Sorry Shuttle, Mine Eyes Will Not See You Fly :(

For the longest time, I had “See a space shuttle flight” on my TODO list. There is only one more to go and unfortunately, I have not hit it big with a hot web app (90s’), nor a spectacular mobile app (00’s). Thus, there is no spare cash to flit me back and forth to Florida to catch an ever delayed launch (got to keep the day job). So, I’ll have to revise this particular TODO.

Hopefully, with the onset of some really exciting happenings in the commercial space flight arena, I may still get that opportunity to feel the rumble of thousands of pounds of thrust in my bones. SpaceX is leasing out Pad #40 and with the coming the Falcon 9 Heavy, I may get the opp to see a new Lunar or Martian mission push up and out of the gravity well.

And if I do eventually hit it big with the next goldrush in technology (nano?), maybe I’ll be able to afford to not only watch, but participate. Assuming that Mrs. Calrissian will allow me to see the dark side of the moon.

Image from Quest for Stars’ Senatobia-1 Mission:

Review: One Good Soldier by Travis “Doc” Taylor

One Good Soldier“Doc” Taylor does a great job of wrapping up this series. I really enjoyed the mechas and especially the battle scenes. I think I’ll explore some of his other series as well. Visit the author’s website.

Check out my review

Looking Back At Home

For me, one of the saddest things in life is to see inner city gangs fighting over turf. Often just a block or two. I’ve always found that view of life so limiting.

I feel the same way about people that have never traveled outside of their city or county. There is so much about this life and this universe to discover. Now look at this picture!



That’s home. Home for me. Home for you. Home for all six billion humans in this universe. Everyone that you have ever loved, every person in all of history has lived on that ball of rock.

This picture was taken from a satellite that was orbiting the planet Mars. Back in 2006, it took some time out from looking down at Mars and turned its camera towards the heavens. Wow! Even more spectacular is the full image, which captures Jupiter and its moons.

Support space science and exploration! Turn your kids into space nerds!

Big ups to BA for the highlight of the original!

War of the Worlds: Goliath

war_of_the_worlds_goliath_posterWhile doing research for a new GeekDad article, I stumbled across an article on SciFi Scoop (my new favorite site) about an exciting straight to DVD movie (coming in 2010). War of the Worlds: Goliath takes the H.G. Wells story of Martian invasion and follows through with the Martians returning after a 15 year hiatus. Evidently, they’ve overcome their microbe issue and are ready to try & take Earth once again. But this time, we are ready! Steampunk mechas y’all!

Check out the trailer (below) and the official site.

NOTE: Not that I mind, but why does the brotha always have to be muscle-bound and pack major heat!

Review: Ben Bova’s Return To Mars

Return To MarsA great follow up to the original Mars (read the review for Mars). Jamie Waterman leads the team on the 2nd expedition to the red planet.

Check out my review

FMARS: Hard Work, Low Pay, Eternal Glory

Want to live here for four weeks?

Want to live here for four weeks?

A week or so ago, I blogged about the MDRS. This week, I received an email from the Mars Society and they are looking for volunteers for another analog station. Flashline Mars Artic Research Station (FMARS) is located at Devon Island in the Nunavut Territory of Canada. The 2009 research season will run from the beginning to the end of July 2009.  All interested humans can apply for a position on the team. Applications, including resume, character references, a brief letter explaining why you wish to participate, and a summary of any proposed research should be sent no later than March 31, 2009 to:

Mars Society
11111 W. 8th Ave. Unit A
Lakewood, Co 80215

I was in the midst of typing up my application and explanation letter when Mrs. Calrissian looked over my shoulder. Guess I’m not going now…

Mars Cribs with Janine Baijnath

MDRS, the party spot!

MDRS, the party spot!

The Mars Society runs an analog station in the Utah desert, Mars Desert Research Station. The location has terrain similar to what may be expected on Mars, so it gives researchers a place to experiment with different exploration techniques, crew schedules and tasks, as well as studying psychological conditions (can’t have people going postal 100 million miles from home).  The crew’s usually do a two to four week stint at the station.

I am on the Mars Society‘s mailing list and this morning I received a note about the wrap up of Crew 75. After a few click-throughs I ended up on the crew’s YouTube page. Most everyone has seen the MTV show Cribs. Well, it looks like some of the producers have moved off planet. 🙂

I think Miss Janine did a great job as tour guide. It’s good to see a little humor being injected into the science world every now and then…


MDRS will play host to this year’s University Rover Challenge. Ahhh…what I wouldn’t give to be a young pup back in the university world again…

Review: Ben Bova’s Mars


I am beginning to like this LibraryThing!

Check out my review

Visit Mars with The Googles

MER Opportunities waypoints around Victoria Crater

MER Opportunity's waypoints around Victoria Crater


That was about all I could say after reading the online buzz about the new Mars mode in Google Earth 5.0. I couldn’t wait to get home from the day job and get my hands on the update myself.

For you Google Earth users, you can now visit, fly over, zoom in, and explore our red planetary neighbor in all of its glory! The image and telemetry data was provided by the many exploration initiatives NASA and ESA have going on right now and in the past, including MRO, MER, MGS, and Mars Express.

I’m still exploring and playing with the new interface, so here is a write up to a more extensive overview. At the top is my first screenshot of where the MER Opportunity spent much of its time recently. At the end of this post are more of my screenshots from the new GE interface.

Back in 2006, NASA and Google agreed to partner with each other in helping to disseminate planetary data via the Space Act Agreement. This new feature built into GE (and a damn BIG feature it is!) is just the first in what this new partnership dares to bring to planetary scientist wannabes like myself. I can’t wait until more juicy chunks of data are made so readily available to the masses.

If you have not had the opportunity to use Google Earth at all, you now have one more reason to hit the download site and get it for yourself. Go NASA and go The Googles!

The Big 4 volcanoes using terrain data from MGS

The Big 4 volcanoes using terrain data from MGS

Valles Marineris in an edge on view using Mars Express data

Valles Marineris in an edge on view using Mars Express data

Spirit near its current resting place near Home Plate

3D model of Spirit at its current resting place near Home Plate

Would you like a side of Moon or a helping of Mars?

Why The Moon?I read through a pretty good presentation today about why we MUST go to the Moon (via Popurls via Reddit). While I agree with the premise of the deck (we must go because exploration = advancement of science), I’m not sure if the Moon should be our next destination. BA discussed this a week or so back on his blog. I am a member of the Planetary Society and I fall in line with their plan:

Leave the Moon to other nations and the private sector. The United States should focus on touring NEOs and ultimately Mars. In their mission agenda, A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration, they advocate the following incremental steps:

  • FIRST human trip beyond the Moon
  • FIRST human trip beyond Earth’s gravity well
  • FIRST human step into interplanetary space
  • FIRST human mission to a Near-Earth Object
  • FIRST human mission to the Mars gravity well
  • FIRST human mission to the Mars surface

To me this is logical, progressive, and daring. I believe that an agenda like this would keep the public excited and tuned in as we attempt to push further and further beyond our home planet. Exactly like something that Shackleton (read the Moon presentation above) would do.

The new Obeezie administration will have some tough choices to make when it comes to NASA and the country’s space priorities. You have people clamoring for a return to the Moon or on beyond, but at the sametime, you have the MSL sucking the wind out of everything, the Ares program on weeble-woble legs, the nation is a serious financial funk, and it looks like no one cares about space anymore.

If you are reading this, do your part. Help to keep the spirit of exploration alive