There be Dragons (& Voorwerps)

There be Dragons (& Voorwerps)

It’s 2 weeks to Dragon*Con and I’m going a bit insane. As I mentioned in my last post, a group of us are getting ready to launch a comic book at Dragon*Con. As I’ve twittered, there is a fundraiser for cancer research the night before Dragon*Con. What I haven’t mentioned is after a summer hiatus, Astronomy Cast is coming back full force and my non-profit, Astrosphere New Media Association, is launching a store selling all sorts of science goodies. Trying to pull all this stuff together has been, um, challenging. But we’re getting there. And I’m hoping you’ll be there as we bring everything to fruition. Consider this your formal invite to all of the following: Watch the Stars – Light the Night [buy tickets here]...

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A Morning of Phoenix

A Morning of Phoenix

(disclosure: I left my cellular internet dongle in my room, so I’m twittering sessions live and posting blog entries on a semi random basis when I can go out and find internet) I’m leaning against the back wall of a packed ballroom filled with the brim with silent and attentive geophysicists who are absorbing all they can about the Mars Phoenix Lander. This fairly large (5,5m or 18 ft long) and heavy (350kg or 770lb) spacecraft parachuted to the surface of Mars on May 25, 2008 and poked, prodded and dug into the surface until it froze to death on November 10. While this seems like a short period, the original plan was to wind up operations in August, so the craft had been living on borrowed time. While it is unexpected that the craft will be able to...

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Heathrow 5, Munich, and a Dragon

Heathrow 5, Munich, and a Dragon

I’m not quite sure how I’m still moving, but I am. Friday, a little after noon Central time (GMT-6) I gathered my belongings and rushed for a plane. From St Louis to Chicago, with a run from Terminal H to K, I raced to catch a flight to London. Finally settling into my seat (39J) I settled in to fly roughly a quarter of the way around the globe. Airplanes are one of those random places where I get to learn just how poor education is in America. As we sat waiting to take off, the women in 40J loudly complained into her cell phone, “I don’t understand why we have to fly all across Canada and then down over England. Why can’t we just Fricken Fly straight to F***ing London.” She, like the rest of us, was looking at the map that...

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Meetup Tonight

Meetup Tonight

Please forward to anyone you know this might impact. There are TWO San Lorenzo’s next to the the conference center. One is a Mexican cantina. The other is a taqaria (sp?). We are meeting at the one between McDonald’s and Quizno’s. See map. If you are in the meeting or local and want to suggest someplace for a late dinner tomorrow night, we’re open to a second meetup too.

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LPSC: Crater Carancas Event

LPSC: Crater Carancas Event

Posting out of order here. I have a ton of notes on this morning’s Moon sessions, but before piecing together pages of lunar science, I want to share something neat: Science results on Crater Carancas. This newest, smallest crater on the planet Earth was formed September 15, 2007 in Peru. The impact site is fairly near Lake Titicaca and the Bolivia border. The path of the meteor through the atmosphere was observed by numerous people, including a group sitting out on a hotel roof a few kilometers from the impact site. The folks presenting, T Kenkmann and P Schultz (links go to their papers), visited the site a few weeks and a few months after the impact to see what could scientifically be learned through interviews and measurements. As you may have read at...

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Getting to LPSC

Part of the reason I’m able to attend the LPSC meeting in Houston is its convenient location in time. Its mid-March date span landed exactly on my Spring Break. For some reason, however, this knowledge hadn’t triggered a flag in my brain to warn me that it is also spring break for probably 25% of the colleges and many K-12 schools in America. This has an amazing impact on flying. My last flights loading and unloading was frustrated by a group of college girls on their way to their spring break hot spot. These women clearly hadn’t worked through the math on “If I pack 40lbs in my roller bag, then I have to lift 40lbs into the overhead compartment.” No big deal, and mostly just funny, but the business men and women partook in much...

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