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…

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What’s Up @ NASA?

Last week, I put on my first JPL Solar System Ambassador event for this year. It was a brand new presentation I put together called, “What’s Up @ NASA?”. The aim was to highlight some of NASA’s current missions (there is much more going on than just the Space Shuttle) and to talk about what’s to come in the future. We (and I say we, because I had much help from the fam) held the presentation at the New Albany branch of the Columbus Library (the best library in the country, and I’m not just saying that!).

I timed the event for 5PM to catch the after school crowd as well as after work people. And it was a huge success! We had about 65 people to attend. Students, parents, and even a few grand-parents.

Big contributors to the level of attendance were the middle and high school teachers at the New Albany school district. I sent a few teachers a flyer for the event and the week before the presentation they were sending copies home with all of the students! It helped that they offered extra credit to students if they attended!

This was my 3rd or 4th event in the last few years and it felt really great. A nice change of pace from the drudgery of building and loading millions of rows of data in my company’s Data Warehouse at the day job. A few students stayed behind to ask questions, which is always nice. It’s not every day you get to meet kids that are geeky and into the sciences.

I look forward to putting on my next presentation. If you are in the area, drop me a line and I’ll keep you posted on the date and time…

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!

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/12/wise-space-telescope-to-launch-on-december-11/

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 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!

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/10/iphone-nasa-fabtastic-space-geek-app/

A Little Inspiration

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or a thousand little shards of inspiration and dreams! For those of you that have space or astronomy geeklets, then this site will definitely do the trick: http://www.nasaimages.org/index.html

Here is one of my favorite pics:

The Sombrero Galaxy

The Sombrero Galaxy

Big ups to BA for the link to this great site!

Hubble Rocks!

For many years, the champions of Hubble lobbied NASA, the Congress, and the various Presidents to provide funding for a final space shuttle repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. A few of the key components had broken down over its long life span and an upgrade / repair would work wonders.

After much wrangling, the wishes were granted and STS-125 was scheduled and flew earlier this year. And now the mission is paying off. Just take a look at the spectacular picture below!

Eta Carinae

This picture shows the light spectrum from Eta Carinae, a truly massive star (100 times the size of Sol). You can see the signatures if the various elements plotted on the image. The jumbo “bubbles” on the sides of the star are gases that result from huge explosions from within. In other words, we should be glad we don’t live on a planet anywhere near here!

I’m looking forward to more great images and science from Hubble. And it can only get better with the JWST, which launches in 2014.

Kepler May Find Endor

Will we here Imperial shuttle communications?

Will we here Imperial shuttle communications?

Ok. I’m stretching a little. But, from an article over at RedOrbit, the Kepler team believes that there is no reason that NASA’s latest planet hunter should not also be able to detect a planet’s moons. I really hope that Kepler finds a boatload of potentially habitable systems. With confirmation that there are other possibly life bearing worlds, a massive launch of new science and experiments could finally listen in on a galactic conversation. These are definitely exciting times!

You can follow more Kepler news here.

Thanks Slashdot!

Will Somebody Please Buy Me A New Telescope!?!?!

So I can shoot pictures like this! Very cool! Now remember kids, this was taken from the ground and the ISS is about 215 miles up!

iss_sts_vandebergh

Gracias senor BA!

GeekDad: NASA’s Decisions

geekdadnewlogoMy post on GeekDad went popular today. I even got above the fold for the first time!

Check me out: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/08/nasa-its-your-move-mr-president

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.

Crashing Into The Moon For Science

Repost from my GeekDad article:

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2009/06/crashing-into-the-moon-for-science/