Saturday, June 28, 2008

Trip through the universe.

How big is the universe?
Well, let's assume Garrett Reisman has built a rocketship that can travel at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. And he could totally do it.
Let's start the trip at midnight on January 1st.
We would travel 93 million miles in just 8 minutes and 19 seconds. Put on your shades. You're at the Sun!

After 5 hours and 31 minutes, we pass Pluto.

We have travelled over 3.5 billion miles. It is still January 1st.

Now, we travel perpendicular to our solar system. A year passes. Two years. Three. Four. On April 19th of the fifth year, we arrive at Alpha Centauri A, the nearest star (other than our Sun) to our solar system.

We have travelled 25 trillion miles. Our journey has just begun.

At ten light years out, the stars in our galaxy now appear to converge.

At one thousand light years out, the Milky Way's arms become more defined.

After we have travelled 100,000 years at the 186,000 miles per second, the Milky Way galaxy's entire spiral is finally visible.
From here on, every light we see is not an individual star but an entire galaxy.

5 million light years out, the Milky Way is part of a 30-galaxy cluster known as a "local group."

50 million light years out, we encounter a "burger cluster" containing over 2,000 galaxies.

After ten billion years of traveling at 186,000 miles per second, we can see countless billions of galaxies, each one the size of a tiny dot. We have traveled 58,695,882,360,000,000,000,000
miles. That's 58 sextillion, 695 quintillion, 882 quadrillion, 360 trillion miles, for those of you scoring at home.
After thirteen billion years...
Maybe you'd be here. I don't know. Douglas Adams' guess is as good as anyone's, I suppose.


Click here. Right now. Seriously. Right now.
(P.S. Be patient - it takes five or six seconds to start.)

If Garrett had been there...

he'd have let the pieces fall into a bowl and eaten them like Grape-Nuts. I digress.

Listen up, kids. This is a good one.

On June 28, 1911 a Martian meteorite fell near Nakhla, Egypt, breaking into 40 pieces before striking the earth. To add insult to injury, a farmer reported that one of the fragments hit his dog, which was standing in a field. The dog was, according to the farmer, instantly vaporized.

This story was never proven (no bits of dog were ever recovered) but, as the folks at NASA said, it was never disproven either.

Part of the Nakhla Meteorite:

Bonus Material:

Statistically, more meteorites fall in June than at any other time of the year - and 30 June is a particularly hazardous day. Since records began, 116 meteorites have plunged to Earth in June - their high season - compared with only 57 in March - their low season. At least 17 people are said to have been killed by meteorite impact.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fund. the. space. program.

And also, encourage your kids to read science fiction. They may be the ones who make it science fact one day.

June 26, 2008: "Hold your hands out to the sun. What do you feel? Heat, of course. But there's pressure as well – though you've never noticed it, because it's so tiny. Over the area of your hands, it only comes to about a millionth of an ounce. But out in space, even a pressure as small as that can be important – for it's acting all the time, hour after hour, day after day. Unlike rocket fuel, it's free and unlimited. If we want to, we can use it; we can build sails to catch the radiation blowing from the sun."1

These words were spoken not by a NASA scientist but by a fictional character – John Merton – in Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Wind from the Sun. If all goes well, Merton's prophetic words are about to become fact.

Read the entire article over at NASA's webpage.

Today in Space History

1962 - X15 High Alpha Mach-6 Test Mission
6,603 Km/h (Unofficial world speed record.)

To put this speed in perspective, if you took off from Chicago and flew for just an hour, you could be in London, England.

You could fly to Guatemala City. And back.

You could fly to Honolulu, Hawaii.

You could fly to New York City and back. Three times.

Also on this day:

In 1969, the decision as to who will be the first man to step foot on the moon is made. Rumors swirl that Neil Armstrong "pulled rank" on Buzz Aldrin.

In 1995, STS-71 (Atlantis) launches to Mir, carrying, among other things, an IMAX camera. The astronauts film the IMAX movie "Mission to Mir" during this journey.

Today's birthdays:

It sounds so benign.




Will someone PLEEEASE...

tell me which space-themed movie used part of Holst's Jupiter in its soundtrack?
It drives me nuts every time I hear it.

If you are unfamiliar with the piece, scroll to the bottom of the page and on my playlist click Jupiter: Bringer of Jollity.
The part I'm talking about occurs about two minutes into the piece.

I googled it, and all I can find is that it was used in "Annie Hall."
And that is NOT what I'm thinking of.
(In fact, I do not recall it being in "Annie Hall" at all, and if you'd have bet me, I'd have lost bigtime.)

I am absolutely unable to appreciate this piece of music because it scrambles my brain.
(I knew I should have gone to this. If memory serves, they have a Q&A after the concert. That would have been my question: "Yeah, yeah, great concert, thanks a million -- PLEASE tell me what movie used Jupiter before I go insane!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Space, as my father taught me

So Cathy says I should post about my dad and space. All this happened before she was born. It seems impossible that she was not born when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, but, hey, she's just a baby.

John Glenn orbited the earth on my 6th birthday. My family lived on MacDill Air Force Base during that time. I remember our teachers at Tinker Elementary taking us outside to watch the rockets going up. Florida, being a skinny state, was a good spot for watching because we could see the rockets going up even though we were on the west coast.

When Apollo 11 went up, I don't remember watching. I do remember my father making sure that we (me and my sisters and brothers) all stayed up past our bedtimes to watch the moon landing, which, as I remember it, happened about 10 pm our time.

We watched on our little black and white tv, and then my father took us all outside where he had set up a telescope that, I still have no idea where he got the money to buy. He trained that telescope on the moon and made us all look through it.

"There are men walking on that moon right now," he said. "See if you can see them."

Of course, we all thought we could. And he never disabused us of the notion that we had.

My father told me that you could see Orion and then figure out all the constellations following or preceding him. The Pleaides, the seven sisters, who were being followed by Taurus the Bull, who was being followed by Orion the Hunter who was trailed by his faithful dog, Sirius.

To this day, my sisters and I are enthralled with the night sky. I live in Atlanta where the city lights tend to dim the sky. But I have been diligent in making my friends pay attention to the sky. In 2006, the Leonides meteor shower was supposed to be spectacular over Atlanta. I got 20 or so friends to bring blankets to a park near my house to watch the meteor shower. It was 4 am and we had 15 or so people in a park close to downtown Atlanta to watch. One of my friends who lived near the park brought out hot chocolate and coffee, and we laid back on blankets and watched the meteor shower for hours.

When Comet Kohoutek was visible, I took my next door neighbor's kids to the telescope at the Fernbank Science Center because I thought they SHOULD see it.

My sister, Mary, was the commander at Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral. She got to see numerous shuttle launches. For some she got to say, "SCO is go." For launches, there are always people saying, "Such and such is go." For Mary, it was "Secure Coastal Operations (SCO) is go." I think that is so cool.

I love the night sky. I wish everyone loved it like I do.

So this is my answer to Cathy, who said I should write about my dad and why I am the space nut I am.

While we're on the subject of quotes.

This is sort of off-topic. Hey, it's a slow day at work. Sue me.

I don't generally like Sci-Fi. (Gasp!)
I enjoyed C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and I loved Buck Rogers when I was a kid, and Star Wars is where I developed a still-existing crush on Harrison Ford, but other than that, I'm not a fan.

But I do love Douglas Adams' masterful "Hitch Hiker's" series.

I think these books are some of the most enjoyable, entertaining volumes ever written.
I remember the first time I read them. I could not put The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy down. I just loved it, and I still do. Adams was subtly clever and his books were great fun, and his death was a great loss.

If you'd like to read them, here are short reviews of three Adams books.

Here is how Hitch Hiker's Guide begins:

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.
Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone about it, a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost forever.

This is not her story.

Read the WHOLE THING here!

And here are some quotes from the books:

  • He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
  • It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear.
  • There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
  • Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.
  • The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
  • Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.
  • You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
  • Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
  • He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
  • If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
  • This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

In direct violation of my "No toilet humor" rule...

This --- this is...
It's just --- too funny not to post.
Ever since about day two of this blog's existence, I've been considering posting it.
I was just mulling it over and waiting for the right time.
In my defense, it's not technically "toilet humor" because it's not really the "toilet" part that makes it funny. It's the whole thing. Take away one element, and it loses something. It's got numerous qualities of funny: surprise, embarrassment, a brilliant astronaut talking like a hayseed hillbilly, silly subject matter, a supposed private conversation becoming very, very public.

I laugh hysterically every time I read it.

Every time I see a can of Tang (potassium-enriched Tang is what Young was actually referring to when he said "citrus fruit" - another funny element), I chuckle and think, "There is NO WAY I would ever buy that crap."

Thanks a lot, John Young.

P.S. The official transcripts of Apollo 16 (which I have read. I know - behold: Superdork!) replaced the "f" word. Silly NASA.

Without further ado:

Young: "I got the farts again. I got 'em again, Charlie. I don't know what the hell gives 'em to me. Certainly not....I think it's acid in the stomach. I really do."

Duke: "It probably is."

Young: "I mean, I haven't eaten this much citrus fruit in twenty years. And I'll tell you one thing, in another twelve ......days, I ain't never eating any more. And if they offer to serve me potassium with my breakfast, I'm going to throw up. I like an occasional orange, I really do. But I'll be damned if I'm going to be buried in oranges........"

Capcom: "Orion, Houston."

Young: "Yes, sir."

Capcom: "Okay, John. You're...where.... you have a hot mike."

Young: "H..How long have we had that?"

Above: John Young during a happier moment of the Apollo 16 mission

Quote trivia.

First words uttered in space:

"I see the Earth! It is so beautiful!"
-Yuri Gagarin

Last words uttered on the Moon:

"Okay, let's get this mother outta here."
-Gene Cernan, Apollo 17

True story.

Weekly Stargazing Tips

Beautiful Spica is shown above

Fantastic tips from Stardate.Org.
Applicable to the entire lower 48.

June 26, 2008
The constellation Hercules passes high overhead this evening. One of its star systems, 14 Herculis, has at least one planet. The star is a lot like the Sun, while the planet is at least five times as massive as Jupiter, the giant of our own solar system.

June 27, 2008
The constellation Virgo scoots across the southwestern sky tonight. Look for its brightest star, Spica, which shines white with just a hint of blue. The color indicates that its surface is thousands of degrees hotter than the surface of our own star, the Sun.

June 28, 2008
The crescent Moon stands in the east at dawn tomorrow. The dark portion of the Moon is bathed in earthshine -- sunlight reflected from our planet's surface. With binoculars, you can make out many of the Moon's craters and dark "seas" of volcanic rock.

June 29, 2008
The planet Mars and the star Regulus, the leading light of Leo, the lion, line up side by side tonight, with orange Mars to the right. They are separated by about the width of a finger held at arm's length. The planet Saturn stands a little to their upper left.

June 30, 2008
Mars will pass within about one degree of Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion. Mars, which is the brighter of the two, is to the right. The golden planet Saturn stands to their upper left.

July 1, 2008
July is an "imperial" month. Originally, it was the fifth month of the year, and was named Quintilis. But Julius Caesar reworked the calendar and made Quintilis the seventh month. In his honor, the Roman senate changed its name to Julius -- the modern-day July.

July 2, 2008
The Moon is new at 9:19 p.m. CDT as it crosses the line between Sun and Earth. Darkness engulfs the lunar hemisphere that faces our way, so the Moon is hidden in the Sun's glare. It will return to view as a thin crescent low in the western sky shortly after sunset on Friday.

NLC in Belgium.

Taken by Didier Van Hellemont, Horebeke, Belgium

Summer Solstice
Jun. 21, 2006

Cue confetti drop.

Welcome to the 100th Visitor of T.A.G.R.F.C. website!

I beg your pardon if this is incorrect. I speak exactly zero words of Dutch.

Here goes nothing, courtesy of Google:

Het hallo en verwelkoomt!

The interweb is so cool.

I've added a widget to find your own night sky.

I found...

a cool new widget for the sidebar.
Check out the "Astroviewer."
(Click on it to open.)

Eh? Eh?
Pretty cool, huh?


Sunspots Schmunspots

My wonderful sister, Cathy, is abnormally clever and talented, as anyone looking at this blog can see. This is largely her creation. She has a one-year-old (born on my birthday!), so I have no idea where she gets the time or energy. Plus, you haven't lived until you've spent a night drinking beers with Cathy around a fire with the black, beautiful Florida sky above. Many a morning after just such a night, I would wake up wondering what the heck I had done to my side to make it hurt so much before realizing that the ache was from laughing the night before.

But we are on, if not opposite, at least different sides in the climate change debate. I don't think it has anything to do with, nor is it affected by, sunspots.

I do know this: the ice is melting, as you can see in the animation above of the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Less ice means less reflection of sunlight back into the atmosphere and more absorbed into the oceans. It self-perpetuates. The more ice that melts, the more ice will melt.

Jim Hansen said just this week that the earth may be reaching a tipping point from which there is no going back. As NASA's main climate guy, I'll take his word for it.

Today in Space History

Boy, I remember this one:

From Wikipedia:

"During the June 26, 1984 launch attempt of STS-41-D there was a launch abort at T-6 seconds followed by a pad fire around ten minutes later.

Commentary: "We have a cut off."
"NTD we have a RSLS (Redundant Sequence Launch Sequencer) abort."
Commentary: "We have an abort by the onboard computers of the orbiter Discovery."
"Break Break, Break Break, DLS shows engine one not shut down."
"OK, PLT?"
"CSME verify engine one."
"You want me to shut down engine one?"
"We do not show engine start on one."
"OTC I can verify shutdown on verify on engine one, we haven't start prepped engine one."
"All engines shut down I can verify that."
Commentary: "We can now verify all three engines have been shut down."
"We have red lights on engines two and three in the cockpit, not on one."
"All right, CSME verify engine one safe for APU shutdown."
"If I can verify that?"
"OTC GPC go for APU shutdown."

Steve Hawley, one of the crew was reported to have broken the tense atmosphere following the abort in the shuttle cabin saying: "Gee, I thought we'd be a lot higher at MECO!"

About ten minutes later the following the following was heard on the live TV coverage:

"We have indication two of our fire detectors on the zero level; no response. They're side by side right next to the engine area. The engineer requested that we turn on the heat shield firewall screen between the engine valve and Discovery's three main engines."

While evacuating from the shuttle, the crew was doused with water from the pad deluge system, which was activated due to a hydrogen fire on the launch pad.

Changes to procedures resulting from this abort included more practicing of "safeing" the orbiter following aborts at various points, the use of the fire suppression system in all pad aborts, and the testing of the slidewire escape system with a real person (Charles F. Bolden, Jr.). It emerged that launch controllers were reluctant to order the crew to evacuate as the slidewire had not been ridden by a human."

To listen to the event, click here.

(The abort happens at about 10 minutes, in case you don't want to hear the entire thing.)

Solar inactivity has observers worried.

I'm okay with it. I love cold weather.
My family, however, will be greatly displeased.

Read "The Sunspot Enigma"

Noctilucent Clouds over Moscow.

From SpaceWeather

A bank of rippling electric-blue waves floated over Moscow last night. "It was a very bright display of noctilucent clouds (NLCs)," reports eyewitness Oleg Pomogaev. A 2-second snapshot with his Powershot A710 captured the NLCs hovering above darker, ordinary clouds:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good-natured ribbing.

CC: Oh, I've got another score for you when you're ready to copy. Are you ready to copy?

LMP: Standby. Go ahead.

CC: Navy 14, Army 21. Would you like for me to repeat that? Over.

LMP: You are very garbled, Houston. I'm unable to read. Will call you back in another year.

Apollo 8 transcripts, Page 144

He sings?!

Is there anything he can't do?

How STS-123 woke up on FD04.

Space Sounds

When I was a child, we got a free 45 RPM record of space sounds with the Time-Life book "The Universe" which my parents purchased for me for my birthday.
It was upon the first playing of this record that I became fascinated with space sounds.
I would listen to the record over and over, as the velvety-voiced narrator talked about things like Kepler's Harmonices Mundi. On the B side, you could listen to beautiful actual space sounds.

In my teen years, I discovered Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. DSOTM was not nearly on the same level as actual space sounds, but when you're a teenager, playing actual space sounds in the tape deck would be a good way to earn the "Geekiest Girl" superlative for the yearbook.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite space sounds with you.
Here is one I love so much it's on my profile on this site.
It comes to us courtesy of the Cassini-Huygens space probe.
With probes like Cassie, we continue to collect more and more amazing space sounds.

Have a listen:

Here is NASA's explanation of the sounds:

Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions, which have been monitored by the Cassini spacecraft. The radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of the planet. These auroras are similar to Earth's northern and southern lights. This is an audio file of radio emissions from Saturn.
The Cassini spacecraft began detecting these radio emissions in April 2002, when Cassini was 374 million kilometers (234 million miles) from the planet, using the Cassini radio and plasma wave science instrument. The radio and plasma wave instrument has now provided the first high resolution observations of these emissions, showing an amazing array of variations in frequency and time. The complex radio spectrum with rising and falling tones, is very similar to Earth's auroral radio emissions. These structures indicate that there are numerous small radio sources moving along magnetic field lines threading the auroral region.
I certainly cannot compete with the awesome postings my sis in law can....but would like to share memories of my childhood and how much the space program has impacted my entire life.
As a child growing up in South Florida, there was nothing bigger than NASA, my father had a special affinity for all things space related and anytime there was a launch, our entire street would toss lawn chairs up on our roof and we'd sit and wait with a radio nearby waiting for "some action" of which we almost ALWAYS got!
Of course, the moon landing on TV was a very special event causing the entire neighborhood to STOP everything, sit and witness this miraculous event. I really didn't appreciate or comprehend exactly what I was seeing until later in life, but when I did, WOW! Thank you Daddy for making us come inside!
Now that I have children of my own, these recent space specials (When we left Earth and From Here To the Moon) have really sparked this love in me again. As a grown woman I cannot fathom just how crazy cool we as mankind are (OK, maybe not me personnally....but there are some smart people on this planet!) to come from the 1960's to now and see the unbelievable progress we have made is truly amazing! I wish I could be here for the next 50 years but alas MY memories are mine to take with me forever!
God Bless the USA, we rock!
Chris Ward

I knew it!

Ares V

ATK Conducts Successful Test of Ares I-X First Stage Separation System

Alliant Techsystems recently conducted a successful full-scale severance test of an Ares I-X first stage. The test is a milestone in the development of NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle and is another step leading to the flight test of Ares I-X in Spring 2009.

The test consisted of a replicated Ares I-X first stage forward skirt extension and forward skirt stacked and suspended two feet above the ground. A linear-shape charge was detonated, detaching the two pieces of hardware horizontally.

Entire Article

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Know thy launchpad.

Poor SOB came all the way across the pond only to miss the good part.
Here's a hint for future reference, mate. It doesn't take ten seconds for them to clear the tower. They don't have to adjust the rear-view mirror and find a decent radio station before they go.


Group 8.

Today would have been the 62nd birthday of Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist aboard STS-51L.

Onizuka was a member of NASA Astronaut Group 8, whose moniker was "Thirty-Five New Guys"; however, the existing astronaut corps referred to these competitors as "The F---ing New Guys." (The existing corps, some of whom had been waiting ten years between the end of Apollo and the start of the shuttle program, were generally not happy about having 35 more people to compete with over a spot on the shuttle.)

At any rate, NASA Group 8 was filled with many candidates who would ultimately become some of the most famous astronauts in the history of the space program.

  • Guion Bluford would become the first black man in space.
  • Shannon Lucid would become the record-holder for time spent in space and number of missions.
  • Pinky Nelson was one-half of famed spacewalk partners Pinky and Ox, who grabbed, repaired, and placed back into orbit the SolarMax Satellite on STS-41C.
  • Sally Ride would become the first American woman in space.
  • Kathy Sullivan would become the first American woman to walk in space.
  • Norm Thagard would become the first American to fly on a Russian spacecraft.
  • James "Ox" Adrianus repaired SolarMax along with Pinky Nelson.
And Group 8 members Ronald McNair, Judith Resnick, Dick Scobee, and Ellison Onizuka all died in the Challenger disaster.
May they rest in peace.


The launch of space shuttle Atlantis* (9 September 2006) as viewed from high-altitude research aircraft WB-57.

(*Without Garrett Reisman aboard.)

Photo Tuesday

Photo Tuesday

Backdropped by New Zealand and Cook Strait in the Pacific Ocean, astronaut Robert L. Curbeam Jr. (left) and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Christer Fuglesang, both STS-116 mission specialists, participate in the mission's first of three planned sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction continues on the International Space Station. Cook Strait divides New Zealand's North and South Islands.
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Christer Fuglesang, STS-116 mission specialist, participates in the mission's first of three planned sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction resumes on the International Space Station. Astronaut Robert L. Curbeam, Jr. (out of frame), mission specialist, also participated in the 6-hour, 36-minute spacewalk.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Scrambled Garrett.

The Grumpiest Crew in History

Today is the 78th anniversary of the birth of Apollo 7 crewmember Donn Eisele.

The Apollo 7 crew is widely regarded as the crankiest crew to ever fly.
In fact, the crew was so cranky that they became the first astronauts which NASA blacklisted from future flight. The reputation, however, is undeserved, and if it had been me up there, I'd have been worse.

All three of these poor fellows ended up suffering from terrible head colds during their 11-day mission. The waste removal system was so difficult to use that the men went as infrequently as possible - just 12 times total in 11 days. The food was disgusting and too sweet. Schirra needed a coffee fix, but he was more than 200 km higher than the nearest cup. The sleeping arrangements were so poorly planned that the men could never really get comfortable enough.

The transcripts of Apollo 7 illustrate the level of discomfort and dissatisfaction of the crew. Here is one example, where Mission Control requests a TV camera be turned on in the capsule. Schirra said no.

SCHIRRA: You've added two burns to this flight schedule, and you've added a urine water dump; and we have a new vehicle up here, and I can tell you this point TV will be delayed without any further discussion until after the rendezvous.
CAPCOM: Roger. Copy.
CAPCOM: Apollo 7 This is CAP COM number 1.
CAPCOM: All we've agreed to do on this is flip it.
SCHIRRA: ... with two commanders, Apollo 7
CAPCOM: All we have agreed to on this particular pass is to flip the switch on. No other activity is associated with TV; I think we are still obligated to do that.
SCHIRRA: We do not have the equipment out; we have not had an opportunity to follow setting; we have not eaten at this point. At this point, I have a cold. I refuse to foul up our time lines this way.

For comparison, here's what the conversation would have been like had I been the commander of Apollo 7:

WARD: You've added two burns to this flight schedule, and you've added a urine water dump; and we have a new vehicle up here, and I can tell you this point TV will be delayed without any further discussion until after the rendezvous.
CAPCOM: Roger. Copy.
WARD: Damn straight, "Roger."
CAPCOM: Apollo 7 This is CAP COM number 1.
CAPCOM: All we've agreed to do on this is flip it.
WARD: Listen here, Deke Slayton, if that is your real name. Flip this.
CAPCOM: All we have agreed to on this particular pass is to flip the switch on. No other activity is associated with TV; I think we are still obligated to do that.
WARD: I'll tell you what I'm obligated to do. Go without a cup of coffee for 11 days. Crap in a plastic bag and then keep said crap in the same crackerbox where I'm living for 11 days. Eat disgusting cereal bars I wouldn't feed to Hitler's dog for 11 days. Breathe out of my mouth for 11 days because nose-blowing in zero gravity is impossible. Suffer through a headache that feels like a freight train driving through my cerebral cortex. And listen to you blather on about PPO2 checks and water accumulators 24/7. Bite me.

Although Deke Slayton insisted that the crew wear their helmets at re-entry, Schirra flat refused. Their heads were killing them, their sinuses were clogged with mucus, their eardrums hurt and all of them likely needed a toilet and a bran muffin.

Nevertheless, Apollo 7 was a successful mission, accomplishing all its goals.
Schirra, Cunningham, and Eisele never again flew in space.

I think we can all agree that the only human being who could have flown Apollo 7 cheerfully and obediently is G.E. Reisman.

Donn and Wally, rest in peace.
Walter Cunningham, every act of disobedience you displayed on this mission was a victory for the little guy over government bureaucracy. Well done, sir. Well done.

Rose Center for Earth and Space

I love museums. I have been to a bunch of them, including the Louvre, the Chicago Museum of Art, the Field Museum, the Holocaust Museum in DC, MOMA, the Musee D'Orsay and too many science museums to count.

But the Rose Center is, hands down, the best. Every time I go to New York, I make it a point to visit. Home to the Hayden Planetarium, the Rose Center has exhibits devoted to weather, natural disasters and, of course, space.

The Scales of the Universe is a 400-foot-long walkway that spirals around the Hayden Sphere, a 47-foot ball that is used to show the size of various objects in the universe. (If the Hayden Sphere is the known universe, this object is our galaxy. If the Hayden sphere is our galaxy, this object is our solar system... all the way down to: if the Hayden sphere is an atom, this object is a proton.)

Neil deGrasse Tyson, almost as cool an astrophysicist as Garrett Reisman is an astronaut, gets to work there. If I worked there, I would never go home.