Sunday, August 5, 2012

Curiosity and summer

From an old family friend at the JPL in Pasadena:

"Space and Curiosity/Mars fans, it's Saturday evening, about one day and 3 hours before we learn how Curiosity did on her way down to the surface.  Here's what I found on my computer yesterday and today about the landing.

I noted these items from our 4 pm daily cruise tag-up meeting (the last one will be tomorrow, then a series of surface tag-ups starts):

> Telecom subsystems reported nominal at the 4 pm tag-up today. The DSN is GREEN.

> Additional items of note:
- the MSL-Mars distance at UTC (or GMT) Saturday/Sunday day transition was 241,000 miles, similar to the Earth-moon distance. Mars, as seen from the spacecraft at this time, has twice the apparent diameter of the moon as seen from the Earth.
- Project approved early installation of second chance software (Johnny Grinblat activity lead), moving installation to doy 218T01:00 UTC (this evening, 6 pm local) rather than the nominally planned 08:00 UTC. The purpose is to do this important activity while the crew is fresher than they would be in the middle of the night.
- Mars weather (now clear skies) and space weather (only a low-energy coronal mass ejection from the Sun) are OK."
Hopefully, Curiosity will not crash after the ten years and thousands of people's work went into it. Maybe we'll see some pictures tomorrow.
It has been busy with summer activity on the farm. Stitch was participating in the Dragon Boat Races again this year. That's her steering the craft of the "Women on the Edge" team.
It was a beautiful day on the harbor and Lake Superior has gotten warm enough for some brave souls to  take a plunge.
Yes, that is an airplane parked at the beach. Dangerous Dan, the pilot, was giving rides to all those who would fork over the cash. As the harbor was busy with the Dragon Boat Races and airplanes and sailboats (oh my!) there were some traffic issues like when Dan wanted to take off and the Hjørdis (star of North House Folk School's sailing program) seemed to be in the way. Don't worry, it's just an optical illusion and there was plenty of room (maybe).
Of course, optical illusions abound on the water. Having grown up on the shores of the Delaware Bay and now living near Lake Superior I can attest to that. Now I have photographic evidence that things are not always as they appear. Here, it looks like Dan's plane is parked on the breakwater.
It isn't.

I have watched some of the prOlympics recently and always appreciate the more obscure (at least to me) sports. Like most men, I could watch women's beach volleyball all day. Truth is I used to play a lot of volleyball for fun and in leagues (as did my father Otto) and could watch all volleyball. However, summer is passing much more quickly than I anticipated and there is much to do. The weather has cooled a bit and the leaves have lost their brilliant green color so I better get my arse back outside and get something useful done.



  1. Great photos! Not everywhere you see a plane on the beach. I need to see more of Superior. I've driven across the top twice, and I just find it utterly beautiful.

    Summer is going by way to fast. Get out and play some volleyball! :)

  2. I agree - life's too short, have some fun outside before it gets cold again!

  3. This morning there was just a touch of fall in the air. So we go from scorching summer to fall in 24 hours. Even Mars may have trouble topping that.

  4. Very cool, all that stuff about Curiosity. I can't even comprehend all the planning that goes into such a mission.

    And there's just nothing better than a beach and some water to escape the summer heat.

  5. I loved volleyball in school. We played for fun and exercise. I could hit the ball anywhere I wanted it to land. Lost interest when it became a dog eat dog competition sport. No longer fun. Just about winning. Same thing as has happened to America. I want the fun back.

  6. Beautiful pictures! Get outside and enjoy whats left of summer, I will too... Winter will be here before we know it!

  7. Hmmm, I might take that plane ride -- looks like fun. And I thought I was a pretty tough character for going in the North Atlantic last weekend (where the temp. was about 72 - 74).

    For my "view" of women's beach volleyball take a gander at

  8. prOlympics? If that means what I think it means, you're right.

    But Curiosity, hurrah!!!

  9. Knatolee, I need to do the circle tour someday myself.

    idratherbeiniceland, I try to remind myself regularly.

    chlost, there is definitely a change in the air.

    PP, yes, it its amazing. A day at the beach is always good.

    Nina, too much competition = too little fun.

    Maggie, now that I'm over the hill I'm picking up speed!

    Sightings, I think it was your blog that led me to mention the Olympics.

    Friko, yes, that is what I meant.

  10. It's surreal sometimes to live in a country where awesome accomplishments like Curiosity are juxtaposed with thousands of bigots eating chicken sandwiches. We need those days at the lake just to keep our perspective.

  11. late for this party but will be back

  12. Summer IS flying by! I should get off this computer right now and get myself to the beach!

  13. I love the "like most men" part... :-)

    Can you imagine that in your lifetime you are writing a blog for people around the world about MARS?! :-)
    Crazy, huh?!

  14. Me, the other day: "Are you going to sit outside and drink a beer with me?"
    Hubbie: "Sure! ... OH wait. Beach volleyball is on! Sorry!"
    beautiful pictures.