As I’m sure you all already know, NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) had declared that this week is National Aerospace Week! Which means it’s time to indulge in some of my favorite things: Music, frogs, geodesic domes and home cooked meals. I guess we should add outer space to the list as well. But first, a word from Carl Sagan about our Pale Blue Dot. It’s totally worth the minute and a half. I’ll wait for you.
Ready? It has been an exciting time at NASA leading up to this week. It is time again for the Harvest Moon for those of us on Earth and out in space Voyager 1, which launched in 1977 and is older than me, has officially left the building (and entered interstellar space), the Q&A here brings up some interesting points, like how you can’t get rid of those old computers, because the new ones don’t understand what Voyager is sending back. And the newest member of family, the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) left Earth for the Moon with some unintended frog assistance:
But in spite of all these events and their ongoing efforts to increase awesomeness around (and above) the globe, not all the news for NASA has been cheery lately. Even while working in partnership with private ventures, the reality is that the Space Shuttles have been retired and the NASA budget, like most government agencies, has shrunk in the last years. (The video is from 2009, but covers the issues quite well.)
But there is plenty to still study and dream about. New types of vehicles are being created, new inventions will be added to the list of thousands that are already are a part of our lives, and work for a mission to Mars is underway. (Including, but not limited to how to cook for long space missions. Hint: pack tortillas.)
And what do the minds at NASA do when they aren’t being officially awesome? The make music videos of course! Not only can you watch the obligatory parody, a group from the Jet Proplsion Labratory helped create this merging of science and rock and roll that we will cap our Aeronautics Week!
Want more? Ask an astronaut... I mean a librarian!