Well…yeah, I’m a space geek and had to watch the landing of the new Perseverance lander on Mars just a few minutes ago…and the lander is in good shape and sending photos already….I just love seeing the reactions of the people running the show when they get the announcement and data saying the landing went off without a hitch and they have a healthy rover…man, to have a job you love that much and to be successful looks like a great thing…can’t wait to see photos from the helicopter…
Well…yeah, I’m writing a lot today but I’m getting other stuff done too…got the first two totes packed in the kitchen after I ran errands…even got some salt to put on the ice outside the door so keep my old butt from falling…but, that’s not what this one is about…just read an article from an epidemiologist that had a bit of good news on the virus in it…in his calculations using the amount of Americans infected, along with the pace of vaccinations, he estimated that we could reach herd immunity with 75% of the US population with some amount of immunity to the virus by the 4th of July….and that is with the current rate of vaccinations at the already doable 2 million per day…and that rate should go up as competent people take charge of the vaccination efforts. So, this could be the biggest damn 4th of July celebration in the history of the country if we achieve it…but there is still a long way to go…so, keep wearing your masks and social distancing…we can do that for 4 more months if the reward is a maskless summer and getting to see our family and friends again….
Well…I know that in this time of rampant hunger and the looming eviction crisis, to think about science and figuring out a way to fund it is pretty far down on any list until we get this country back up and running again…but, I had a thought today after the sad news that the rest of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico collapsed over the weekend and took the support towers down with it….so, there is nothing left but a pile of aluminum panels and cables that used to support the science instruments…and that thought is to fund a replacement by selling off the damaged panels in 6inch by 6inch pieces for 20 bucks each…I would buy one of those and turn it into a display to sit in my living room…and since you could get almost half a million or more of them out of a dish that size, that would give you seed money of 10 million dollars to start to replace it and when it was done, you could point to the new one and know you had a part in furthering science in the world. There are times when we need a distraction from what is happening in the world and when we can find something that makes us smile and forget for just a few minutes, we need to allow ourselves to do it…and not feel guilty about it.
Well…okay, this one is a little different in that Arecibo is not a person but is the iconic radio telescope nestled in the hills of Puerto Rico…over the past couple of months, support cables for the receivers that hang above the dish have failed…the first dropping a receiver through the dish and putting a 30 foot hole in it…but the final blow came when another support cable failed and the people in charge have determined that trying to repair it is too dangerous so the telescope will be dismantled instead. For 57 years, this telescope has been on the forefront of deep space exploration…and I’m sure you’ve seen it in the many movies and tv shows it was featured in and I even used it in my first novel as a setting for one of the characters home base. It is always a sad day for us nerds when an iconic part of our nerd world is gone but 57 years is a darn good run for any piece of technology….my only concern is that with the death of this telescope, too much of the essential research that is done to just figure out our universe will be lost since it appears that the politicians (repubs) will only support it if it can be immediately monetized…but that’s not how science works…it always pays off but many times it’s not the put money in and get money out linear progress mistake that is expected…isn’t just figuring something out about the universe reward enough? RIP Arecibo…
Well….today is a big day for the US and SpaceX and I am getting excited about the first launch of astronauts from US soil in almost 11 years….it’s only an hour away and, while I know it’s not a milestone like the Alan Shepard or John Glenn launches…both of which I watched by the way…okay, I’ll admit I’ve seen every launch that I could from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space shuttle missions..yeah, I’m that old…and I saw the first successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage so I guess that makes me a space geek…and I’ll freely admit that. One of the things that will make you laugh is that I actually cheered at the first Falcon 9 launch and it’s first landing…after all, it is too damn cool that we have the talent and drive to do something that no one has been able to accomplish in my lifetime…oh, and there is one bit of comedy that I’m probably the only person who has made that connection….the two astronauts who are flying today are named Bob and Doug…does that strike any memory for you? Well…if you were alive in 1980 I’m sure you watched the Canadian tv show SCTV where they had a skit with a pair of brothers named Bob and Doug McKenzie who hosted a tv program called “the Great White North” that was one of the funniest damn things I had ever seen…and when I heard the astronauts were named Bob and Doug, I immediately flashed back to SCTV and laughed my head off…good luck Bob and Doug..eh? Okay, it looks like the launch is going to be a no go for weather today…darn….
Well…just a shorty on the Falcon Heavy launch I just watched…another great launch and, for the first time, all three boosters landed successfully! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing rocket launches…ever since I was a little kid at the start of the space program, I have always been mesmerized by how we humans can have built these machines…and now a private company is leading the way…okay, with help from the government but still…it was never in anyone’s plans to land and re-use boosters until Space X came along…nice job…one last thing…what’s the deal, space X? My ad blocker has blocked over 350 ads in the 20 minutes I have had the live stream running…that sucks…shame on you…
Well…with all of the criminality and idiocy coming out of the right these days, it is nice to think about something else for a change since there is some cool stuff happening. Just Saturday morning, SpaceX launched it’s first Crew Dragon on a test flight to the ISS as part of the certification process that will lead to a manned flight later in the year…and just this morning, the flight was completed with the spacecraft automatically docking with the ISS after a series of maneuvers testing the craft and it’s ability to pace the station and match it’s orbit. I didn’t stay up to watch this launch and landing since it didn’t launch until almost 3 am…but I was able to watch it Sat morning with the videos being uploaded to Youtube from SpaceX…and that just made a thought come into my head….we really don’t have many shared experiences in this world anymore…at least as related to tv, as we did when I was a kid. When the first moon landing happened in July of 1969, everyone in this country and across the world were watching it and could then discuss it the next day….and that made these events even more exciting knowing you were part of a huge community that was participating in something special…not like today where there are other things to do and watch. Now, I’m not going to go on that the “olden” days were better than today…different, yes, but they both have things that made them special…and, I’m glad I’ve lived through them both….
Well…there are some days that I just don’t even want to think about politics, and this is one of them…that’s not to say that I won’t do a political one later, but my mind wanders around sometimes and it’s like mind cleaner to just talk about something that is fun for a change. Just today, out on the bike, I was thinking about the law of conservation of energy that says energy cannot be created or destroyed but just changed from one form to another….and I have talked about this a bit before…yeah, I am just that geeky at times…but today it went back a little bit farther and it dawned on me that all of the energy that I use on the bike every day starts out as photons from the sun…so, I’m running on photons! Those photons are changed into chemical energy in the form of sugars by photosynthesis in plants, that animals eat and change into other sugars that we eat when we grab that burger or steak. That chemical energy from food I turn into usable energy for my legs that I convert throughout the ride into potential energy that I am full of when I get to the top of the hills and then convert that potential energy into kinetic energy as I move down the hill or ride on the flats…had the really weird thought the other day about this by thinking of cables connecting my legs to the bike to use the energy in them….okay, that wandered off a little but it is still photons, light, that makes my bike ride happen…and that’s pretty cool….
Well…I am constantly amazed at what people bitch about these days and how the trolls always try to turn something good into something ugly. This morning, when I got up and checked into twitter to see what was going on, there was a meme developing that was attacking
Elon Musk and SpaceX for launching Elon’s Tesla roadster into space…saying that it was a waste of money, that people are starving and Elon is an ass for launching the car. Now, I have my experience with trolls here on my site that I ignore every day, but I marvel at the ignorance of the commenters on many sites that I read every day….let’s get something straight, this launch was not just to send the car into space for a joke, it was to test a new rocket that will be essential to putting the US back in the lead in space travel and give us the capability to stop using the Russians to get to the ISS, along with the future trips to both the moon and Mars. Scientific progress is made when people support the work that goes into that progress, and to launch a car into space and to livestream it so people can be part of it give us a shared feeling of hope that we are progressing…and SpaceX has been visionary in this work…the last thing: not one dime of tax dollars went into this launch…it was a privately financed scientific experiment that immediately drove us forward…I have this to say to the haters out there…where the hell were your comments when the idiot trump spent $100 million dollars golfing…or when he proposed spending $30 million dollars just to fluff his ego? Until I hear that from you ignorant right wingers out there, just shut the hell up…geez….
Oh, and one last thing to remember…Elon is an immigrant from South Africa who, like millions of other immigrants, has made this country better…and the idiot trump tweeted his support for him Tuesday night…I wonder if that would have happened if he was a black South African? Yeah, we all can guess that one….
Well…just watched the test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket and it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen since the the Saturn 5 launches of the 70′s…I mean, lighting 27 engines at once and having that happen right is hard enough…but to then land all three boosters successfully…with two of them coming down in a synchronized landing at almost exactly the same time…not sure if the booster that was supposed to land on the ship made it since the cameras cut off as the landing started….but the really cool part was at the end of the telecast…I thought that Elon’s Tesla roaster was going to be contained in a fairing of some sort as it goes into orbit but the fairing separated and the car is exposed to space forever…and, it had a sign on the dashboard that said “don’t panic” along with the spaceman with his hands on the steering wheel…it’s nice when there can be a little whimsy in the world…congrats Space X….