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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Old Staff Pictures 2002. Space News. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,

Our Space Center's WayBack Machine is set to the Summer of 2002.  The first faint images of people and things are starting to materialize on the machine's Memory Viewer.  Stand by as the images clear.

It's June 29, 2002.  The staff are lined up in the gym for votes at the end of one of our 48 Hour Overnight Camps.  I'm seeing faces I haven't seen in over a decade.  Seeing these faces reminds me to be careful when travelling through spacetime in the WayBack Machine.  The slivers of images that filter through the continuum  and appear on the machine's Memory Viewer can easily be misread as "the good old days". Even 'the good old days' had their ups and downs and good and bad.

I'm noticing something through the haze of nastalgia, everyone in the picture above is exhausted from the long grueling camp.  They stand in the lineup hoping they made a good enough impression on a camper or two to earn their post camp survey votes.  Survey votes translated into points, and the points translated into gift certificates.

Let's zoom in and see who we can recognize.

Ryan Nielson, Keaton Smith, Josh Babb, Licia Clegg, Steven Bristow,  and two not recognized.

Brady Young, Bryson Lystrup, Metta Smith,  Ryan Parsons, Matt Long, ?, Braydn Lystrup, Ben Hoglund, Wes Moss.  

Braydn Lystrup hasn't changed much over the years.  He's still hamming it up. 

Brothers Bradyn and Bryson manning the candy booth during one of the 48 Hour Camp's meals.  Bryson has his cash box at the ready, waiting for someone needing to satisfy their sugar addiction.  

The WayBack Machine continues through spacetime to July 19, 2002.  Images from the Voyager's Control Room are appearing on the Memory Viewer.  The Voyager is in in the middle of a mission; it might be The Hunt for Horace or the Grand PooPay based on Stephen Porter's costume (at the video station).  Wes Moss is training at the 2FX position.  Wes was great, always a smile and always willing to jump right in and help.

Sitting behind Wes and Stephen are Stacy Carrell (?),  an unknown volunteer, Keaton, Josh Babb, and Allan Stewart.  Allan was our chief computer programmer at the time.  I am at my station behind the camera.  The ship is about to make a warp jump (as seen in the video monitor).

The tactical computer sat in the projection room back then. Campers entered the Voyager through the Control Room.  We didn't have the door and stairs leading through the Projection Room and into Decon.  

The Voyager's ever present mascot is right where he belongs, hovering over the video station.  That little green alien has been a fixture in the Voyager Control Room for over 15 years.    

A staff gathering during the 48 hour camp.   Left to right.  Kendall Duclos, I think that's Landon Hemsley behind Kendall, Bryson Lystrup, Unknown boy, Brady Young, Wes Moss, Metta has her head turned to Megan, Josh Babb.

Back row, left to right.  Ryan Parsons, Sam Brady, Unknown, Megan Warner.  I don't remember the names in the back.  

The WayBack Machine is moving again through spacetime.  We are in Central School's cafeteria watching Mr. Daymont flying the once great Falcon simulator.

Central School's cafeteria was home to two Space Center simulators in 2002:  the Galileo and the Falcon.  The Falcon was housed in our two Starlab inflatable domes. The Falcon was set up at the start of a camp, and taken down when the camp ended.  It was a pain in the neck.  We retired the Falcon when the Phoenix was built.  

Two Falcon volunteers.  Spenser Dauwalter and Taylor Herring.  The boys are getting ready to 'release the spacewolf' on a very unsuspecting crew.  Mr. Daymont is away from his flight station, most likely fixing some computer or sound bug.  The Falcon was plagued by such things throughout its short history. 

 Keaton busy selling soda to campers with money burning a hole in their pockets.  The Space Center's motto was "Our Campers Leave with NOTHING but memories", meaning we needed their tuition and their spending money.  The camps were our way of funding the field trip programs, keeping the ships maintained, paying the the staff and providing gift certificates and candy bars to the volunteers. 

Metta Smith helping in the cafeteria. She proudly wears her one year volunteer pin on her collar.   Bill and Aleta were our camp cooks.  They did a lip smacking job.

Space News
by Mark Daymont

More Incoming Rocks & Snowballs

Asteroid at Center marked by cross hairs. Credit G. Masi and F. Nocentini.

Here comes another one! No need to fear though, they come and go all the time. This weekend it's visitor asteroid 2013 ET, passing us at about 380,000+ miles. It was only discovered on March 3 (picture above taken March 7). This brings up a good point about how important it is for our space programs to develop a better method for identifying these hurtling Earth-crashers far earlier, and having a defense ready to divert them or something. 2013 ET is set to pass by Saturday afternoon and is about the width of a football field. Bigger than the one that recently exploded above Russia. You can participate on a video webcast covering the passage. Check out's article here:

Comet PANSTARRS as seen from Australia (NASA image)

Finally, we get to see a fairly visible comet! It's been a while. This one is comet PANSTARRS (2011 L4) which was discovered in 2011. It has recently become visible to the naked eye, and has just started to cross the hemispheric view into the northern hemisphere, so we can try spotting it from Utah (barring this drastic winter weather). Here's the link to NASA's page on viewing PANSTARRS:
Happy viewing!

 MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) – 
A preliminary examination of water samples from the ancient subglacial Lake Vostok near the South Pole indicated that its inhabitants are not to be found anywhere else on Earth, a member of the research team told RIA Novosti.

The species of bacteria, whose traces were found in probes of water from Lake Vostok, do not belong to any of the 40-plus known subkingdoms of bacteria, said Sergei Bulat, a researcher at the Laboratory of Eukaryote Genetics at the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.
“After excluding all known contaminants…we discovered bacterial DNA that does not match any known species listed in global databanks. We call it unidentified and 'unclassified' life,” Bulat said.
Seven samples of the same species of bacteria were found in water frozen on the head of the drill that was used in 2012 to reach the lake, covered by a 3.5-kilometer-thick ice sheet, but the match between its DNA and any known organisms never exceeded 86 percent, while a match of under 90 percent is already enough to indicate a new species, Bulat said.
Attempts to build a phylogenetic tree for the newly discovered microorganism, which indicates a species’ evolutionary relationship to other species, showed that the Antarctic bacterium did not fit any of the main categories of microorganisms in its taxonomic domain.
“If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth,” Bulat said.
The tests are ongoing, but are unlikely to disprove the results, the researcher said. He added that more samples are needed for conclusive proof, possibly to be found in water from the lake obtained during a new drilling season earlier this year and on its way to Russia by ship.
Suspense over life under Antarctic ice has been building ever since drilling began in 1989 to reach Lake Vostok, which could have been isolated from the outside world as early as 17 million years ago. Drilling through the ice without contaminating the lake took the Russian team at Station Vostok, located just above the lake, 23 years to complete.
Scientists suspected that unique species of extremophile microbes, sustained by geothermal heat and capable of surviving in Vostok’s extreme oxygen concentration, could have evolved in the lake. However, an early study of samples of surface water from the lake, published last year, found no unique lifeforms, prompting speculation that the lake may, after all, be devoid of life – a theory that appears to have been disproved by the more recent findings.

 The Center of Our Solar System As Seen From


FYI, 90377 Sedna is a large trans-Neptunian object, which is about three times as far from the Sun as Neptune. Its surface is one of the reddest in the Solar System. It is believed to be a dwarf planet by several astronomers. It is one of the most distant known objects in the Solar System other than long-period comets.

Space News Links

Sent by Sheila Powell 
Posted: 07 Mar 2013 01:16 PM PST
Supernova explosions of massive stars are common in spiral galaxies like the Milky Way, where new stars are forming all the time. They are almost never seen in elliptical galaxies where star formation has nearly ceased. As a result, astronomers were surprised to find a young-looking supernova in an old galaxy
Posted: 07 Mar 2013 11:52 AM PST
New maps of the subsurface of Mars show for the first time buried channels below the surface of the red planet. Understanding the source and scale of the young channels present in Elysium Planitia -- an expanse of plains along the equator, and the youngest volcanic region on the planet -- is essential to comprehend recent Martian hydrologic activity and determine if such floods could have induced climate change
Posted: 07 Mar 2013 11:51 AM PST
Astronomers have taken an important step closer to finding the birth certificate of a star that's been around for a very long time. The star could be as old as 14.5 billion years (plus or minus 0.8 billion years), which at first glance would make it older than the universe's calculated age of about 13.8 billion years, an obvious dilemma
Posted: 07 Mar 2013 06:23 AM PST
Skywatchers in the northern hemisphere should enjoy a rare treat in the next few weeks, as Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS enters the evening sky. Although the brightness of comets is notoriously difficult to predict, it looks as though this object may even be visible to the naked eye in the second half of March. Discovered by and named after the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, the comet was first detected in June 2011, when it was an extremely faint object 1.2 billion km from the Sun. Looking at its path, astronomers soon realized that it could become very bright at its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) on March 10 this year.

Flying Over America

The Imaginarium
 A testimony to the power of human imagination.

A clever, imaginative way to learn the bones of the body.

And we all know that the York Bar (English) is the best chocolate on the planet.

Does this cycle ever end?  You get rid of one and another pops up in his place.

Imagination: A
Safety: F

The Titanic and today's largest cruise ship.

This person is serious.

Great Scientist's Names in Graphic Design

Singing in the Rain

The Magic of Books

R2D2's Great Great Great Predecessor / Processor

Creativity in Engineering

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