Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Goin' On............

Things and stuff, lots of things and stuff.

First, in the gigantic world of SPACE.

The New Horizons spacecraft continues its march (drift, flight, rocket-launched trajectory, etc) towards Pluto. We have about a year and a half to go until our closest approach on July 4th, 2015 and everyone is getting pretty excited. So excited that they created a great video comparing our mission to the ongoing Olympic games; you can see me in it at the 2:09 mark when they mention Olympic hockey (obviously). (note: I don't think this aired on TV, though someone thinks they saw it. But, well, it should have.)

Over this past summer, we had our one and only full encounter rehearsal that spanned 14 days. There were some great people there recording our whole team and then they took the time to create two really great podcasts. Please check these out; there are a little longer but give a great explanation of what we are doing and why. You should see me a bunch of times but not talking (saving myself for next year). (there are both small and large versions of the video depending on how fast your speed is).

And then here's a great article about why we are going and the things we expect to learn once we get there. Just because some people decided to declare it not a planet anymore doesn't mean there aren't loads of things to learn. Click here.

In the STEREO world we continue to circle to the backside of the Sun (both spacecraft will be blocked from Earth by the Sun for a few months each next summer before we see them again and they start to circle back to Earth). This past Christmas STEREO produced a rare Christmas Conjunction of Venus, Earth and Jupiter, which led me to discover that there is a great paper discussing the fact that the "Star of Bethlehem" may very well have been a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, bright and shining to those who saw it and a rare event indeed. You can read the paper here.

Finally, for stuff outside of my work world but no less exciting, for Apollo's 8 45th anniversary where the famous 'Earthrise' picture was taken, a new video was put together. They combined the pictures with new data taken from a satellite currently orbiting the moon to create a montage of what exactly the astronauts were seeing along with their audio. It's pretty cool.

Uh, well that was really long. So in other news Evan lost his first tooth, Zoey is out of diapers, and the downstairs bathroom is ALMOST DONE. Phew.