Even though the DC region is covered in white, here are a few “green” space images to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
Category Archives: space
My Robot 2012 Calendar came equipped with Fold-Your-Own 3-D paper punch-out robots. As I close out this year, I decided to try putting one together. After one, I was hooked. I punched, folded, and glued my way through the week of Christmas. Normally, I wouldn’t take the time to make paper dolls, but who can resist these cute little robots? I truly enjoyed bringing them to life.
Meet the spacebots. Each is unique and has a story to tell.
In days gone by, I never left home without my camera bag stocked with film and lenses. With an iPhone, I travel so much lighter. I’m totally hooked on the hipstamatic app, which allows me to create a funky style without a darkroom or chemicals. With a simple shake of my iPhone, I can change camera lenses and film, though my favorite is the Hipstamatic John S lens and Kodot XGrizzled film.
Here are a few shots from my 2011 travels to the Space Tweetups in Germany and Italy, and the NASA tweetups at the Kennedy Space Center. The final two are from Washington DC, where I work and play. Enjoy!
TOO many images to choose from — which is a good thing. I hope these give you a flavor for space.
A special 2011 space thanks to Expedition 27/28 Astronaut Ron Garan for your visionary leadership for Fragile Oasis. Your willingness to share your Space Station experience made space seem closer for those of us who are gravity-challenged. Elyse David, you are amazing. Thanks for keeping Fragile Oasis going 24/7. Donna Connell, you juggled all our requirements for LAUNCH and Fragile Oasis, and ensured we were totally covered contractually. You ROCKet! Ben Slavin, you’re my hero. I’m so glad you’re on the team. We wouldn’t have made it through the year without you.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to host several tweetups at our last Space Shuttle launches. I gained so many new friendships with space tweeps from around the world. I will treasure my time with the ESA/DLR colleagues at the two Space Tweetups across the ocean. Getting to know ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was a highlight for 2011. I look forward to the time when she’s telling her stories from space.
Though we’ve closed out the Space Shuttle program, we continue to support a crew of six humans onboard Space Station 240 miles overhead, orbiting Earth every 91 minutes at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour. We have much work ahead in 2012. I’m eager to get started.
I keep trying to post my thoughts and photos about the first-ever European tweetup in Cologne, Germany and a smaller tweetup with @Astro_Paolo Nespoli, @Astro_Cady Coleman, and @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti at the ESA/ESRIN facility in Frascati, Italy. Way too many great conversations and experiences to slow down and write. Now that I’m back home in DC, I have no more excuses.
One word sums up the week: AWESOME!
Just so you know, I was informed by my European tweeps that they were making a bit of fun at our American enthusiasm by using the word awesome. As it turned out, awesome became the catch-word of the event — with it’s own hashtag. I think enthusiasm is actually contagious, if given the proper petri dish. Right @twISSt? ;)
Here are some highlights of the Space Day Tweetup in Cologne:
We headed out to the tarmac to see the A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world, and Sofia aircraft, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. We got a glimpse of the German version of Air Force One for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (What is it with wet tweetups lately? Did Stephanie Schierholz and I bring the STS-135 rain with us?)
We headed back to the tweetup tent to meet the Expedition 26-27 and STS-134 astronauts. One problem, we separated from the group somehow. Here are my LostMates!
This little magic train appeared. I thought maybe it would lead us back to basecamp, but no dice. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure how we found our way back to the tweetup tent. Perhaps it was the huge inflatable astronaut that guided us home. (Or the smell of coffee and pastries back in the TWent!)
Before starting the program again, we assembled at the stage for a group photo. Just then, @Astro_Paolo appeared in the tent, followed by @Astro_Cady, @Astro_Box, @AstroIronMike, @Astro_Taz, and Drew Feustel. One by one, they plopped down in the middle of the chaos to pose with us for the group photo. Totally unscripted. Totally AWEsome!
Here is a list of the speakers from the agenda. As you can see, the DLR/ESA folks kept us hopping — in a wonderful way.
I lost track of the number of astronauts who visited the tent during the day. Ten or more, maybe? ESA astronauts train at a facility on site, which made it easy for them to drop by. I was thrilled to meet new ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst, @Astro_Luca Parmitano, and @AstroSamantha Cristoforetti, as well as veteran astronauts like Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.
And, you know how it goes…when astronauts show up, tweeps leap into action…as in Lights, Camera, Action!
I loved hearing new ESA astronaut @AstroSamantha tell the crowd that her inspiration has been @Astro_Paolo, @Astro_Ron, and his brainchild @FragileOasis. WooHoo for Fragile Oasis!! AND, if we can work out an agreement with our ESA colleagues, we hope to include ESA bloggernauts on the site. Shhhh. That’s just between us….
Stephanie Schierholz and I had an opportunity to share insights from our NASA tweetup experience. Here’s what tweeps look like via my iPhone Hipstamatic app Helga lens. Quite surreal and grainy. Or maybe it was all a dream.
With Space Day in full swing, we shared the facility with 80,000 visitors — adding to the excitement and frenzy.
Jeff Wallace @RocketMan528 carried @Camilla_SDO to Europe with him. Camilla is quite the cult hero. Space groupies rushed to take photos with her (including my Star Wars buddies and me). I don’t know if you can tell, but the woman in this photo is crying. I’ve never seen anything like it. Crying, just because she got to hold a rubber chicken (a very lovable rubber chicken, I might add).
I have so much more to share. Time and space get in my way. I’m still processing and absorbing. I have so many new tweeps to connect with. Without social media, I would never have met any of you out in the virtual universe — like my long-time Twitter buddies @Cosmo4U and @Amoroso, whom I met in person for the first time.
Our world is getting smaller, but our connections are limitless!
I leave you with a few iconic pics of Germany.
Next post: ESA/ESRIN tweetup in Frascati, Italy.
Now that I’ve started the PhD program at Virginia Tech, I drive to the Blacksburg campus one day a week for classes. In order to get to my 9:00 a.m. class, I leave my house at 4:00 a.m. Needless to say, much of the drive is illuminated by artificial light — street lights and headlights from my car. Once I get into the hills and mountains outside the Washington, D.C. area, street lights disappear, as well as the light pollution from the metroplex. An amazingly bright moon (and BBC news on XM radio) kept me company.
As I drove, I thought about the disparity between people who live without power around the world — even today — and the hi-tech culture that sends humans to space. Technology enables me to look at photos of moonrises from space in near realtime. Some cultures may never see those pictures.
Lost in thought, I noticed something odd. Light kept flashing on and off the road in front of me and bounced off the hood of my car — like a pulsating flood light from a helicopter, but engulfing too great a distance to be manmade. I looked up through my sunroof to see the source.
The trees on top on the mountain cutaway created a filter pattern, blocking and revealing the moon, strobe-light fashion, as I drove through. It dawned on me:
I’d never seen them before, that I can recall. What a cool experience in the black of night to have the heavenly light-dance in front of and all around me. A song from my distant past flooded into my memory: Cat Stevens’ Moonshadow.
“Yes, I’m being followed by a moonshadow
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow
In my case, I was embraced by a moon shadow.
What is the significance of any of this? I’m not sure. I just felt the need to share the wonder and awe I felt driving through moon shadows, even just for a few minutes. I felt connected, in some strange way, to humans who walked on the surface of that huge reflecting orb in the sky. I felt sad for Astronaut Ron Garan who leaves behind, probably forever, the magnificent view he has of the moon and stars from Space Station.
Thank you, Moon, for inviting me to your shadow-dance performance. You made my day!