Friday, January 31, 2014

They're Called 'UFO's' Because They're UNIDENTIFIED You Dummy

Mark my words.

It's been published in an online tabloid, but it's only a matter of time before a "real" "news" outlet (I see you, Fox and CNN) picks this ridiculous story up and rolls with it.
I went and scoured JPL's photo bank of the front hazcams, and had to go aaaaaaaaall the way back to Sol 504.
BUT I FOUND the image in question, courtesy of Left Hazcam B:
Link takes you right to the image detail page
Detail (the only thing I did was put a big red circle on it):

Okay, so yeah. The thing wasn't photoshopped in or anything. Can we see it on Front Right Hazcam B?
Another linky

That's a negative, Ghostrider. If it were a sky object, *should* be visible just below MSL's sample area, right? I could be wrong that it should be viewable, but I printed it out and lined the photos up to the horizon and turret/swiss army knife instruments.
Make the decision for yourself. I've presented you with the evidence you need.

In my opinion, it's the ghost of ISON (profuse crying) come back to haunt the solar system.
I still haven't forgiven you for what you did, scumbag sun.

It could also be a lens flare.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Wasn't Yet Three Years Old. But January 28, 1986...I Was There.

Isn't it amazing, the odd, almost insignificant details you can recall from early childhood? I was almost two and a half years old, and here are the things I remember from a trip my parents and I took to visit my aunt and uncle stationed at Patrick AFB in Florida:
  • I remember an oversized stuffed white-ish (maybe yellow?) dog my aunt had at her house. I loved that thing, and we were only there for I think a week or so.
  • I remember walking down the road with my aunt. I can't tell you where we went, but I walked with her.
  • I remember that's when my love affair with gummy bears began (thanks again, Aunt Kate).
  • I remember standing under the jet my uncle flew and being scared because the area was loud and I thought it was going to run me over (even though it wasn't even on).
  • I remember my dad yanking me, and hugging me so tight that it hurt. People covering my face. My dad crying. Throughout my life I can count the number of times I have seen my dad cry on one hand. This was the first.
I never knew, or understood, what happened or what I saw until years later when I was in middle school learning about it. We watched film and I got chills. As in, déjà vu chills. When I told my dad what happened, he said "honey, you were there." He then told me all about it.

"...And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.
We mourn their loss as a nation together.
...We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers..."
 - exerpts from Ronald Reagan's Address to the Nation on the Evening of January 28, 1986

Monday, January 27, 2014

#Apollo1 Crew Were Just Cool Guys

I know everyone likes to share photos of Gus, Ed, and Roger looking all badass and the epitome of "the right stuff" and all, but I gotta tell you, this is one of my favorite photos. Just lounging in the pool during water egress training.

Never forget that they were probably guys that liked to hang out and have a good time and enjoy a good laugh like you and I. Yes, we made them heroes (apropriately so) because they paid the ultimate price - their lives - in the name of the advancement of space exploration.
But they were men.
They were human.
And I, for one, like to remember that part of them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Things You Might See at Goddard

First off, don't ask me which building any of these are in. They're all called "Building ##," and you're whisked through just about all of them in your action-packed (okay - science-packed) day.

For the folks accepted into the James Webb Space Telescope #NASASocial next week, I thought I would share a little taste of what you MIGHT see while you run all over Goddard Space Flight Center. I was selected to attend the Global Precipitation Measurement NASASocial that was held in conjunction with JAXA and the National Cherry Blossom Festival last year (which you should check out; the events are awesome).
If you DO NOT perform the obligatory "badge shot" post to your social media account(s) you are not a real #SpaceTweep and I regret to inform you that you need to turn in your membership card immediately.
You might get to go in to see the High Capacity Centrifuge. It can accelerate your mom so fast, she'll experience forces 30x greater than Earth's gravity. If she weighs 2.5 tons. And not human (they are NOT allowed to ride).
You might walk through the "Room With Many Variant-Sized Space Environment Simulators" (my name - I think it's catchy).
While you're in the "Room With Many Variant-Sized Space Environment Simulators," see if you can spot my hot pink extension cord.
If they don't take you to see visualizations on their Hyperwall, they are meanies and you should all immediately riot* because this thing is REALLY COOL.
*DISCLAIMER: I take no legal responsibility if NASASocial attendees do, in fact, initiate a riot of any means at any point in time.
I'm going to take bets that you see this. Also, no photo can accurately show how large the Large Space Environment Simulator is. It fit Hubble in it. And they're gonna put JWST in it. That's a baaad mother-SHUT YOUR MOUTH- I'm just talkin' 'bout SES.
You might be lucky enough to see someone working on another craft! Like we did with two of the MMS probes!
I know for a FACT you will go to the highbay cleanroom (the world's largest cleanroom - YEAH IT'S BIG). That's just a given that you're going there. Note the entire wall - 9000 square feet - is HEPA filters.
More than likely, you'll also stop off in Astrobiology, where they'll let you handle space material that is [I don't often use the word "literally," but when I do] LITERALLY older than dirt. Because it's older than the Earth.
Because the GPM satellite is already at Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. And if there is a crate of "GPM critical hardware" still lying around, well then, I THINK WE MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Astronaut Geisha

If you need a reason (YOU NEED A REASON?!?!) to like the Japanese band Asian Kung Fu Generation, and the artist Yusuke Nakamura that collaborates with them to do all of their album art, this would be it.

Their last album, titled Landmark (which you can buy in the US iTunes store, btw!), features a geisha in an EVA suit, on the moon.

Oh, the symbols! THE SYMBOLS!! Not to mention the cymbals [crash]. Littered through the cover image, you will find a reference to every song on the album, as well as recurring AKFG themes (the band members, parakeet, Fuji/Tokyo, cd, a girl).

I just find it a little weird that in her visor you can see the guys walking across the crosswalk with Tokyo Tower and Fujisan. Is her helmet pointed at the Stargate or something?

Favorite part of this? The floating cell phone still hooked up to its usb charger. Because Ajikan are #CHARGEAHOLICS obviously.