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Too much Creativity?

This week, Robert Krulich wonders if there is such a thing as “too much creativity.” For those of you out there not familiar, this is one of my most favorite science blogs, especially since Robert used to be the host for NOVA Science Now. Check it out and tell me what you think.

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Best Job Ever

For the last year I have served the New Mexico Tech Astronomy Club as its President. It has been my honor to work with the best group of officers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. As the new semester comes to a close, I’m going to be giving up my position to one of the other club members. Looking back at everything I’ve had the pleasure in doing for and with the Astronomy Club, it’s hard not to feel a sense of sadness. It’s not the end though and giving the position to someone else gives them a chance to take the club in a new direction, bringing with them new ideas and a new vision. In addition, I won’t be leaving the club anytime soon. I’ll be running for Vice President for the 2012/2013 school year, and if elected hope to continue to serve the club as I always have, bringing the universe down to earth for people to explore.

 

To my replacement, clear skies. To myself, let’s move on ahead.

A Look Ahead.

So for quite some time this blog has set doing nothing. It’s time to change that and in an effort to focus myself more, I intend to bring a purpose to this blog which I hope will provide me not only a reason to write more frequently, but will be enjoyable by my readers and myself. This short post will detail what I intend to do.

Looking ahead

1. I’m going to make this blog a once per week blog. If I have a reason to, I will write more than that. But I intend to write at least one post per week.
2. The focus of this blog will shift to follow my experience learning Physics and Astronomy at one of the countries best small science and engineering schools, NMT.

This is what readers should expect.

So, keep an eye out, new posts will be coming soon!

Where is our Country going?

Take a few moments and watch this video, courtesy of CBS and 60 Minutes.

 

I have a question now.

Is this the fault of our elected leaders? Or, is this the fault of you, me, and the rest of the citizens of the United States?

I realize I’ve been a little neglectful recently and just wanted to let you all know I’m still here, chugging along day after day and working on my research. I have a couple of planned posts so stay tuned and check back often!

Keep looking up!

Remembering.

We’ve rolled around yet another year. Let’s stop, take a moment and remember fallen heroes. Remember them not for what happened to them, but for what they accomplished. Remember them for their bravery, and their unrelenting passion to blaze a path into unknown territories and new worlds. Remember them for how they lived and what they stood for. Like our young men and women fighting overseas and serving our nation, the men and women of the Manned Space Program stand for a greater vision of what America is; Hard work, determination and a unity that brings us together based on our common ideals, rather than our differences of opinion.

Hail to you, members of Space Shuttle Challenger, Space Shuttle Columbia, and Apollo 1. And Hail to all others who lost their lives in search of the unknown.

For many people this election year, the fate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is probably the last thing on their minds voting wise. But, in a handful of states it is the other way around. California, Texas, Florida (in which there is a primary this week), Alabama, Virginia, New Mexico, and Ohio are all states which employ tons of NASA personnel.

For those of us who have a vested interest in NASA, this election year one thing is on our minds. Where exactly are we going with our space program?

California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Ohio are considered to be the most important states for a candidate to win in addition to Iowa, and New York. These states are very proud of their NASA employees, who are now out of work.

 

It is unfortunate to report that Patsy Tombaugh, the wife of the late astronomer Clyde Tombaugh passed away. She was 99 years old.

As the old saying goes “We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” So too did Mrs. Tombaugh. Rest now.

Over the recent Christmas holiday I received a special gift. Dr. Klinglesmith informed me that our rotational period for the asteroid 1406 Komppa was accepted and printed in the Minor Planet Bulletin, 39 Jan-Mar 2012. To me, this is not simply some random nice thing. It is far more important to me because it marks my serious entrance into my chosen field, and it comes with a sense of pride and great joy. My part in the determination of the rotational period of 1406 was mainly data collection. It’s a start and I would like to thank my colleagues who worked so hard to determine the period and to produce what I believe to be  a first class scientific paper.

The determination of rotational periods of asteroids, comets and other spinning astronomical bodies is called a “light curve.” Knowing the accurate rotational period of such objects allows us to further determine the objects shape and eventually composition via spectroscopy. Most of the work on light curve determination is performed by amateur astronomers.

Special thanks to Russell Durkee, John Briggs and my mentor and friend, Daniel Klinglesmith III for their input, their help and above all their explanations of the work we were doing and the importance of such works.

In the coming months more papers will be submitted, so far a total of 4. I look forward to a very productive year and many happy Light Curves.

 

Clear skies.

Every so often I get a touch of the wanderlust and it’s nearly impossible for me to concentrate or get anything done until I explore some trip to some far off place using the wonderful tools provided by Google Earth and Google Maps.  What I love about these two tools is how simple it is to plan, map and explore a travel map you create on your own. While I do admit that sometimes Google Maps will spit out something silly, for the most part it does a pretty good job!

In the last few days, that wonderful, albeit depressing feeling has come back to me. It’s depressing because I always create a trip that is so outrageous that I couldn’t possibly afford to take it anytime in the near future. This time is no exception. While reading an article recently I got the fanciful idea of visiting, in one go, a handful of NASA centers and Universities.

The list;

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Ames Research Center
Johnson Space Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
Kennedy Space Center
Langley Research Center
Goddard Space Flight Center
Hayden Planetarium
Glenn Research Center

With this list of places (I realize that Hayden is not a part of NASA, but it’s along the way) in mind I set out to map and plan out a trip that can be best described as a “whizzbanger” of a trip. The total drive time for the trip was the first thing I wanted to calculate. I knew were I wanted to start and where I wanted to end and so I basically just put all the centers into Google Maps and asked it to calculate the best root.  I was quickly given this map.

Looking at it, I made adjustments allowing for some classic “scenic” western road travel through Utah and Nevada. I knew that I wanted to start out on the west coast so as to make a large circle and reduce having to drive back and forth and wasting gas seeing the same place twice. The first thing that really struck me after I made my adjustments to the original rout was the fact that total, Google calculated it would take 5 days 20 hours to drive. That is of course without stopping. But I want to stop. I want to see as much of both the centers, and the towns in which they reside. Part of travel is getting to experience the purpose you set in taking the trip, but the other part is in experiencing the local food, meeting people who live and work in the area and of course the unexpected interesting sights and sounds along the way.

So anyways I figured about two full days per stop along the way which is 18 days and this does not include drive times which extend the trip out to about 23 days. It is at this point in my brilliant planning process that I began to see the flaw in my travel logic. I know how to travel cheaply…if I’m traveling less than 4 days. But here, this monster I’ve created is about 23 days, hardly cheap even if I did eat nothing but Twinkies and sleep in my car. And here lies my problem, now that I’ve planned it all out and can take a moment to sit back and take it all in, I realize that I can’t afford to take the trip anytime soon.

By this time my idea is to shorten the trip somehow, or to find a brilliant fantasy way of financing it. But none of that works. Why would I want to shorten this masterpiece? And, I’ve been lucky before in my life, but not lucky enough to finance what I can only assume after all fees, lunch, gas, tolls and accommodations would be a 4,000.00 USD trip. See what I mean about depressing? Just look at the glorious locations I’d chosen to visit. The literal homes of the birth of man’s entrance into space. John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and John Grunsfeld worked and played at these places. Hubble was launched here, Columbia and Challenger, Apollo 11 and 15. The home of the space shuttle, the greatest electric flying machine ever constructed.

So next time  I will simply use Google Mars to plan a trip and it would be  so much easier and more plausible than this little adventure which, by the way mark my words I will take before leaving for the great unknown.

Until next time

Clear Skies