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Science All Around January 28, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in science, space.
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This is the next to last day of Nuclear Science Week and I bet you didn’t even know. Shame on you. Take an isotope to lunch (just not my cat Isotope–or the local minor league farm team for the Dodgers–both the team and my cat eat like there’s no tomorrow).

Yesterday Pat Rogers called and told me about a NASA exhibit down at the Natural History Museum. Long way across town for me but she said I could get my picture taken in any of 9 backdrops, making it look as if I were spacesuited up and on Mars or the Moon or the ISS or deep space or…other out of the world places. I was in the middle of editing on Golden Reflections but decided this was a do-it-now event, so I went. Alas, the picture came out awful. I had wanted one with a nebula behind me since the Mars shot had some goofy air foil thingie disgracing it (the Spirit was turned off the day before to rove no more). However, the camera was set for a kid about 3 ft tall. I had to stand back too far and perspective made it look like I had a pointy head. And a pin-sized head, as well. Truth in photography, I know but…)

I’d seen a Moon rock at the Air & Space Museum but had never gotten a chance to touch one. Did. And they had it under a clear plastic shield and embedded so cleverly that there was no way to pry it loose. Damn. (Thinking about it, I saw a Moon rock even earlier at UNM’s Meteoritics Institute display when Klaus Keil put his on display back in ’74 or so–so this is actually sighting #3 but touch #1)

Lots of stuff about the Ares rocket and how stupid NASA is letting the manned program lapse for 5 years. And I keep hearing rumors but nothing definite that Obama decided to do a Nixon and cancel all manned programs getting us back to the Moon (been there, done that) and to Mars (what! Treason!) I asked the NASA guy about plans to de-orbit the ISS and he danced around giving a real answer. If we’re not able to supply it and the Russkies find themselves in hard times, give the keys to the Chinese, Indians and Japanese, I say. Or even the Nigerians (I got a 419 letter years ago begging for money because a Nigerian astronaut had been sent to orbit and revolution in his country stranded him–he’d been in orbit 14 yrs and they wanted money to bring him back. The most unusual Nigerian letter I ever got)

Now go forth and be radioactive for Nuclear Science Week.

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