Saturday, August 23, 2008
(Note: If it's Bruce Willis we're sending to an asteroid, I fully support this change of plans.)
Anyhow, in the comments section of one article from Aviation Week, someone posted this doozy:
We should concentrate on building a time machine. Then no matter what China does, we can go back before them and stop it. We can also go back to 1952 and buy all of the Mickey Mantle rookie cards and finance a trip to Pluto just in case the Brazilians have any plans. We see the way you are looking at Pluto, Brazil.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I am grateful that you let me see interviews with the STS-125 crew.
They seem really swell, to a person.
That Megan McArthur is just precious, and Mike Massimino comes across as extremely likable, just a neat guy to have a beer with.
I am very interested in the final Hubble servicing mission, and all that.
STS-125 is sure to be a great success with those seven people as its crew.
But in the name of all that is holy, can you PLEASE stop playing it 24/7?
I miss the ISS coverage. I miss "NASA Edge." I miss "Space Place Live."
Hell, I even miss the footage of random guys standing around while a random truck backs into a random building to unload who-knows-what.
Thank you for your consideration.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I saw a hysterical comment about this matter on some site. It read:
When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a 10.9 million kilogram rocket on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, lad, the strongest rocketship in all the world.
The 2008/2009 season
The Planets at Millennium Park
Friday, August 22, 2008, 7:30 pm
Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
Due to popular demand, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Adler Planetarium present an encore performance of our legendary sight and sound spectacular on Chicago’s most spectacular stage.
Astronomer and visual artist Dr. José Francisco Salgado’s breathtaking video suite is projected on a giant screen while the orchestra performs Gustav Holst’s dramatic masterwork. Immerse yourself in this unforgettable pageant of sight and sound.
This concert is free and open to the public.
Kay: Overture to the Theater Set
Ginastera: Estancia Dances
Holst: The Planets
Special thanks to the Pritzker Foundation for their generous support.
I'll certainly be there eating space cheese and drinking space champagne*.
*Okay, space sparkling wine.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Chretien trained with both the Russian and US programs, and served as a crewman on Soyuz, Mir, and STS-86.
In fact, he served on Mir's EO-4, which was also one of Aleksandr Volkov's Mir missions. The adorable Sergey Volkov, Aleksandr's son, is the current Commander of ISS Expedition 17.
And Sergey Volkov's favorite actor is Kevin Bacon.
(Okay, I made that last bit up.)
Monday, August 18, 2008
The concert didn't start until 8:30 PM, because the Chicago Air and Water Show was going on, and I guess the GPSO wanted to ensure that they wouldn't be drowned out by FA-18s.
There was a fireworks show at 9, but we didn't even hear it from MP.
So the evening was wonderful and we were enjoying everything, when suddenly:
The sky started falling.
I was sitting on the western edge of MP, so the Aon Center (the 3rd tallest building in Chicago) was just east of my northern view, then a space of maybe 3" if you held up your fingers to measure, then more buildings.
There was no air traffic at this point. A very, very bright UFO (unidentified falling object) was suddenly visible. We first noticed it at about 1000' altitude, and watched it fall all the way to about 400'. Then it disappeared behind the buildings.
Towards the end, it appeared to split into two pieces.
We were amazed, and didn't know what to make of it. It was so close, so beautiful.
Everyone in our immediate area was stunned.
About 2 to 2 1/2 minutes later, it happened again, but this time, it was three smaller pieces falling at the same rate, at the same angle. Again, we were stunned.
Then about 5 minutes later, it happened for the last time - same sort of thing, but toward the end it appeared to zigzag a bit.
Then, my husband thought, "Oh, maybe it's skydivers with magnesium flares!"
I replied that if that was the AWS's skydiving show, it sucked. It was totally random, no rhyme or reason.
I talked to other Chicagoans the next day who had been in the same area. They said, "Ohhhh, did you see the end of the Air Show?! Wasn't it cool?"
Now, keep in mind, this happened at about 10PM, long after the Air Show ended.
So I told them, "That couldn't have been the Air Show. It was too late, and it was too random."
Skydiving is a very precise, very orchestrated "show", particularly when they dive at night with flares. The only way this meteor-shower nut can describe it? It looked like the coolest falling stars you've ever seen, but it definitely looked like falling stars.
The next day, Tom Skilling from WGN (incidentally, the nation's HIGHEST-PAID weatherman, period) reported that the Perseids were still falling and very visible in Chicago's skies.
He did NOT, however, mention this event, just that many people were still seeing meteorites.
My opinion? So many people (like my friends at work) saw it and thought, "That's the Air Show", even though it happened an hour after the show ended.
The rest of the people? Maybe they thought, "Oh, that's pretty cool" and then went back to talking about Lindsay Lohan being gay.
I wish someone who knows about these things and maybe saw it (HELLO, ADLER!) would comment on it.
UPDATE: I found one mention of a woman seeing four shootings stars over the Lake.
(FYI, if you are sitting on the west edge of Millennium Park looking due North, you are actually looking straight towards Lake Michigan. The shoreline curves (think the S-curve on Lake Shore Drive near the Drake Hotel), so the ones she saw could have certainly been the ones I saw.)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
[Above: Валерий Григорьевич Корзун]
This date in 1996, Soyuz TM-24 launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome enroute to
Onboard were Aleksandr Kaleri and one of my very favorite
Mir EO-22 would become one of the most
Korzun spent tons of time talking to amateur radio enthusiasts around the globe; he was really into this hobby. If it had been me, every single transmission I made would have been, "Get me off this piece of shit NOW."
But by all accounts, Korzun is good-natured and patient and professional and has a much less vulgar mouth than I do, so he kept a sunny outlook and a stiff upper lip and just talked about fun space stuff with average Joes around the world.
Undeterred by EO-22's mishaps and by TsUP's blaming of crisis after crisis on the cosmonauts, Valeriy went on to fly on STS-111 and was a crewman of ISS Expedition 5.
Valeriy Korzun is freaking awesome, and if I had the chance to meet one single cosmonaut, he'd be it.