Miscellaneous Rumbles

I love America!

26

I wanted to be an astronaut too. Spent hours on cold nights using my Sears refractor telescope, viewing Jupiter and its moons, Saturn, our moon, trying to see the Orion Nebula and reading every book in the library on space travel and astronomy. I don't think I missed a televised launch from Apollo 11 through the Challenger disaster. I was so into this stuff that as a little kid I had the G.I. Joe Friendship 7 Mercury capsule with all the accessories as well as every Viewmaster slide available for the space program.

Our space program really showed what we could do as a country and it was something to be proud of. I felt and still feel sad when Obama canned the shuttle program without a replacement. Having to rely on the Russians for transport is a little embarrasing.

– Zigracer

It was a sad day here on the Space Coast when the Space Shuttle made it's long scheduled last flight. It was equally sad when the Constellation Program that was to follow up the Shuttle was caned as well.

Constellation was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was underfunded long before the recession put it even farther behind. Congress didn't fund NASA sufficiently to keep it alive no matter what administration happened to be in office at the time.

27

Great thread, all of you nerds, geeks, and doofusses! Makes me very nostalgic for those schooldays, the idea of bringing a TV into the classroom was so exciting, everyone counting down with the invisible-magical-friend of the astronauts- Voice of Cape Canaveral.

Thanks for reminding me. And go, Elon!

– Deed Eddy

Deed, I would be remiss in my responsibilities as an erstwhile science ---and language --- geek if I did not point out that the plural of "doofus" is "doofi."

28

Space exploration is way cooler than making war. Too bad we're much more focused on the one than the other

If only some of the world's military budget could be put into space exploration. I imagine exploration of the stars would broaden humanity's horizons in all ways. It must give one REAL perspective to be looking down on the earth and realize that it's really really hard to see borders and national boundaries. A far better and more interesting pursuit than needless squabbling amongst ourselves.

29

It's taken one probe 40+ years to get near the edge of our solar system. We still don't know exactly how many planets are in our own solar system. Given the laws of physics, it's highly unlikely we're going to get much farther than that in any kind of foreseeable future. Until someone figures out FTL speed, we're kind of stuck here. Let's make the best out of it. We know more about outer space than we do about what's in our own oceans. Before we go out and explore the universe, lets figure out how to get along with each other and how not to destroy our own world.

I've followed out quest for space since I was a little kid, starting with Willy Ley's books. I grew up with Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, and Heinlein, and I still love Sci-Fi. The only time I saw TV during USAF basic training and tech school was the Moon Landing. I think the entire country came to a stop for that. We haven't been back to the moon since those days. We retired the Shuttle years ago, and funding (and gov't. interest) in the NASA have dwindled to nothing. Our universities have far fewer students going into STEM programs---Purdue has 25% foreign students, and I guarantee that most of those aren't in business school or the arts. It's even worse in graduate programs. There are far more out of country students in grad school than Americans---student loans are a big part of that, and the lack of decent paying jobs once they graduate. Elon Musk can't hire them all. It shows where our nation's priorities truly lie, and our present politicos don't seem likely to fund NASA any more than they get now.

30

Space exploration is way cooler than making war. Too bad we're much more focused on the one than the other

If only some of the world's military budget could be put into space exploration. I imagine exploration of the stars would broaden humanity's horizons in all ways. It must give one REAL perspective to be looking down on the earth and realize that it's really really hard to see borders and national boundaries. A far better and more interesting pursuit than needless squabbling amongst ourselves.

– Toxophilite

Speaking of looking down on the Earth: Wanna feel really small? Really insignificantly tiny?

A few years ago the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn snapped a photo of a Quadrant of Saturn with it's rings, and just below the ring was this "Tiny pale blue dot".

Guess who? Yup, that's us, "on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam." as seen by v'ger a few years earlier.

EDIT: Warning to Deed.

If ya google "on a mote of dust suspended on a sunbeam", be sure to get your Kleenex handy before reading the whole quote!

The rest of y'all? If you're like me, and I know I am, you'll need the tissues handy too!

31

LA_Manny -- This is a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable thread!!! Thanks for very much for launching it (pun intended) and for prompting the great discussions it has attracted!

32

Perfect timing Manny. Attention night sky buffs! The Geminid Meteor Shower is about to light up the sky. Starting tomorrow and lasting two weeks, it's expected to peak on Wednesday December 13. As luck would have it, the moon should be a small sliver, allowing us to really enjoy it.

Get away from the city lights. This should be better than the somewhat dismal Leonid shower last month.

33

Perfect timing Manny. Attention night sky buffs! The Geminid Meteor Shower is about to light up the sky. Starting tomorrow and lasting two weeks, it's expected to peak on Wednesday December 13. As luck would have it, the moon should be a small sliver, allowing us to really enjoy it.

Get away from the city lights. This should be better than the somewhat dismal Leonid shower last month.

– Powdog

I routinely head out to the Desert ,usually for an overnight campout and occasionally an entire weekend. What comes with me ,yup one of my telescopes as its the only time Im able to get a good view of the night sky without the L.A. smog layer .

Thanks for the heads up ,Ill keep an eye out for the upcoming "lights in the sky".

34

And in a timely coincidence...

My wife, who hates wrapping and gets giddy after successful shopping trips, couldn't wait and gave me my Christmas present early. Some assembly was required.

Haven't had a scope since my boyhood Tasco. I guess there's a big moon the next two nights. Gonna try 'er out.

35

And in a timely coincidence...

My wife, who hates wrapping and gets giddy after successful shopping trips, couldn't wait and gave me my Christmas present early. Some assembly was required.

Haven't had a scope since my boyhood Tasco. I guess there's a big moon the next two nights. Gonna try 'er out.

– Proteus

I see you went the Christmas tree route and dont have a Festivus Pole up,,yet.

36

Wow. Someone was good.

37

Can't believe I didn't burn my folks garage down with these. I found paper matches worked best, especially if you jazzed it up with a couple of extra match heads!

What a great thread... Wave your geek flag high!

38

Latest image of Jupiter from Juno. Just amazing.

39

In 1965 our family moved to the Titusville area from Michigan. Dad worked as an electrical engineer working on missile guidance systems, but a year earlier transferred to the space program. Mom took care of us for that long year awaiting our move to what seemed the most exotic place on earth, land of swamp critters and real spacemen. It was also deep south, and quite the culture shock for a 10 year old. My Uncle Bill was already in Cocoa working for NASA, having been previously employed measuring the effects of nuclear blasts on various doomed atoll islands in the Pacific. He primed my imaginations fuse with tales of Von Braun and other German scientists he met. I expected to have an astronaut for a neighbor, what I got was new friends just like me, mostly displaced kids of space workers, and local kids, children of orange pickers,fish riggers and s#$t kickers. Seems like hardly a day would go by without the window shaking brought on by another launch, which were over 20 miles away. But when apollo began, well,that was a whole 'nother kind of rocket. The whole dang house would shake. A popular rumor circulated that if one of those were to blow up on the pad it would be like the Hiroshima bomb, and seeing the power of one and you'd excuse us for believing it. I remember touring the VAB on family day when workers could bring their kids to work. My mouth fell open as mile after mile passed and the building was still miles away.HUGE! When you see it from the Indian River, it's hard to imagine it's really that far away. Well, Dad caught the tail end of Mercury, all of Gemini and Apollo. Seeing the writing on the wall with the upcoming layoffs, he took a job as a inspector at a power plant in Alabama. He might of gotten something with the Shuttle, but he had a slight handicap.You see, he didn't have a degree. No, I don't mean a University degree, I mean a High School diploma. Yes folks, the team led by my Dad had guys from Stanford and Berkeley and other schools, but the old man dropped out in the eighth grade to help support his family with 9 kids. He was a self taught engineer, and back then you could get hired based on what you could do, not what piece of paper you held. Same went for my Uncle. When Dad went to work for the Power company, he first had to pass the HS equivalency test ! I could go on and on about that time period, seems like a dream now.


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