Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last Weekend at the Space Centers. All the Juicy News You've Been Waiting For.

Last Weekend at the Space Centers

Hello Space Center Fans,
     There is nothing like parking your 2013 Ford Taurus on a newly resurfaced parking lot, and that is exactly what I found at the Discovery Space Center last Saturday.  The new surface looked so good I felt obliged to snap a photo to share with all you Space Center fans.


     You may think that is rain you see glistening on the surface of DSC's new parking lot, and you'd be right in thinking so.  Even without the rain, the new lot would shine in the sun.
I don't know what's more exciting at the DSC right now, a mission in one of the center's four simulators or a nice leisurely stroll on the new parking surface.  I'm torn on this one.  
     I eventually had to pull myself away from the blacktop and trek into the building to say hello to all our favorite DSC flight directors and interns.  


     Troops, let me introduce you to Mitch.  Mitch is a flight director in training at the DSC.  I found him working in the Columbia with the dynamic duo - Jorden Osborn and Sara Glad. Mitch goes to Orem High and has been with the DSC for two months now.  He enjoys the work he does, as long as Jorden suppresses his addiction to the water bottle.  
     "He sprays us with that water bottle when me mess up," Mitch confided in me confidentially.  "Don't tell anyone or its the sack for sure."  I promised Mitch what he told me would stay between us, and a few of our select Troubadour fans.
     Sara Glad worked as Mitch's trainer on Saturday.  She stayed in the background barking orders and telling him to speed up.  "You've got to be able to do two or three things at once if you're going to make it here," she warned.  


    
     "Lights, Type!" Jorden snarled from the flight director's station.  Following his training like a true champ, Mitch had one hand on the keyboard typing a response while fluctuating the lights with the other.  I watch as the corners of Sara's mouth itch upward.  A moment later she squeezed out a grunt of approval at her padawon's performance.     
  

     Jorden preparing to snarl.  Notice the Febreeze on the shelf.  Jorden's staff insist he keep the air freshener on hand to sweeten up his control room's atmosphere, especially after a food run to their favorite savory fast food establishment.  

  

     Before leaving, I asked three of my old Space Center staff to pose for a quick photo. Scott, Todd and Dakota worked at the CMSEC for years before jumping the fence to the DSC.  I don't know the reason for Scott's distressed appearance.  It could be his time I'm taking up. He objected to the photo.  It was his break time and he wanted to spend it out on the new parking lot.  Dakota and Todd were obliging.  

The CMSEC 

     My second stop was the CMSEC.


  

     I walked in and found this unruly mob gathered in the school's lobby.
     "Where have YOU been?" Jon demanded. 
     "I'm been at the DSC.  Why?" I replied.  I took several steps back - not liking the looks on Connor and Jacque's faces.  
     "We've been here waiting for an update on the DSC's new parking lot.  Everybody's talking about it."  Megan and Spencer agreed with an "Amen" spoken in unison.  
     I talked until they were satisfied.  They especially liked the photo.  "We've got to go over there and see this," Megan suggested. A round of grunts and whistles signaled everyone's excitement for the field trip.  "Then its a date."  


  

     Farpoint Cadet Spencer looked confused.  Jackie noticed it too.  She looked into his eyes and asked him to repeat the alphabet.  He got through all 26 letters with very little help. 
     "What wrong with you?" I asked. 
     Spencer pushed Jacque's hand away from his face.  "I've got a concussion from my soccer game. I'm on a delirium watch.  Jacque's taking care of it for me."   
     "Second one this month," Jacque added.  "There going to make him wear a helmet if this keeps up."   



     I wanted to stay and listen as Jacque rattled of several more questions to test Spencer's ability to recognize the here and now, but duty called.  We had a new Farpoint cadet needing an interview.
     This is Grey.  Grey goes to Willow Creek Middle School.  He recently finished his observations and made the life changing decision to move ahead with volunteering at the space centers.  
     "Why do you want to volunteer?" I asked during our interview.
     "I want to help children, and old people," Grey responded.  I passed him right there and then because there is no better calling in life than wanting to help children - and old people like me!
     Grey is a big Star Trek fan.  I told him to keep that a secret around Megan Warner, Director of the CMSEC.  Megan feels Star Trek and lice are synonymous.  "I've never met a Star Trek fan who didn't have 'em," she told me once years ago.        


     Connor is showing signs of depression.  Saturday was Jacque Lystrup's last day at the CMSEC.  Jacque and Bradyn moved to Wanship after their marriage a few months back.  The hour long drive to Pleasant Grove became too time consuming and expensive for her meager wages.
     "What do I do?" Connor sighed.  "Jacque is legend."
     "It's back to the bottle for you," I consoled.  "Gatorade has gotten you through worse."           



     Here you see Lissa, Andrew and Jacque setting up an away team in the Discovery room. 
You all know what that means.  Someone is about to get a blaster spanking.  


     I noticed Jon and Megan enjoying a few minutes of R and R in the school's lobby.  That left the Space Center's office unguarded.........  



      Shhhhhhhh...  Let's keep this between us, but the few minutes I had alone at Megan's desk yielded some really juicy news about the Space Center's awesome summer missions and camps.  I'm talking the kind of stuff reserved for staff only.  
      Stay tuned for more developments.  

Mr. W.   


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Newly Found Ice Star. The Imaginarium


A Star as Cold as Ice


From i09
A very strange object called WISE J085510.83-071442.5 lies just 7.2 light-years from the earth. Discovered by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), it is nominally one of those not-quite-planets-not-quite-stars known as a brown dwarf.
Because they are so much smaller and cooler than stars, brown dwarfs appear red and faint. But astronomer Kevin Luhman noticed that WISE J085510.83-071442.5 was very red and very faint...partly because it is small—perhaps only 2 to 10 times the mass of Jupiter—and partly because it is so cold. It's temperature, Luhman found, is only about 9° F (-13° C). That's well below the freezing point of water. In other words, the brown dwarf is literally ice cold. The fact that it is so cold is a clue to its age. If it started out at a few thousand degrees it would have taken somewhere between 1 and 10 billion years to have cooled to its present temperature.  Read More at i09


The Imaginarium
Imagination explosion



What if Star Wars sound effects were done by a bad foley artist?