Tag Archives: Chile

NASA Solves Problems Above AND Below Earth

A team from NASA’s Langley Research Center, led by Clint Cragg, helped design the escape pod to rescue 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet below the surface since August 5.

“Putting teams together and getting the best talent from across the agency, that’s what we’re pretty good at.” Clint Cragg

Chilean officials turned to NASA for expertise in dealing with humans who live and work in confined spaces (though Space Station is now the size of a five bedroom house with two bathrooms, a gym, and office/lab space). Not too shabby.

Clint Cragg's pic from Chile

Rescue site in Copiapo, Chile. Credit: Clint Cragg

Clint, along with NASA doctors Michael Duncan and J.D. Polk, and psychologist Al Holland, met with officials in Chile to consider options. Back at home, Clint pulled together a tiger team to look at extraction capsule designs, which contributed to the final design.

I have to say: watching the miners lifted to safety, one by one, on their journey to family and fresh air, feels like a testament to the Gene KranzFailure in Not an Option” mentality that the Apollo 13 movie made famous.

NASA's Gene Kranz

NASA's Gene Kranz

The human spirit is infinitely resourceful.

I think NASA embodies the limitless nature of what we can accomplish if we bring the right minds and attitudes to the table. We solve problems…against all odds. Today, we see evidence that we not only tackle challenges off the planet, but below the surface as well. How cool is that?

Bravo Clint and NASA team. You guys ROCKet!

And welcome back to the land of sunshine, miners of Chile. Breathe deeply. Today is a new day!

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NASA.gov: September 9, 2010

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Filed under Earth, humanitarian aid, leadership, NASA, space, technology

Earth Moves. NASA Measures.

Mother Earth just seems to be quaking from the inside out. Doesn’t she? We’re still reeling from the Haiti quake and Chile get pummeled with an Earthquake 500 times stronger. Now we find out this week’s 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have

shortened each Earth day by about 1.26 microseconds.

Furthermore, the quake may have

shifted Earth’s axis by by 2.7 milliarcseconds — or three inches.

I don’t know about you, but that’s just freaky and amazing to me. Freaky that an earthquake can shake the world off it’s foundation and amazing that we can measure it — thanks to our space program.

Earth as Blue Marble. Credit:NASA

Earth as Blue Marble. Credit:NASA

After spending time at the International Space University Symposium, “The Public Face of Space,” I’m still processing all the “why space” conversations. The general public-at-large, though positive about contributions from a half century of global investments, doesn’t really get what space has to do with their lives.

We haven’t told our space story in a way that connects YOU to space in a personal, intimate way. We haven’t engaged you in a way that you can’t imagine your life without space. Instead of bringing space home to you, we’ve pushed it farther away — untouchable, unachievable, only for the Right Stuff guys/gals who get to strap themselves onto a rocket to blast-off our planet’s surface. Does that about sum it up?

Many think we’ve made space boring, as you can see in the SpaceUp presentation. I can’t disagree, but I can only offer you the world as I see it through my starry-eyed space spectacles (my Hubble contact lenses). Here’s what I see:

Space isn’t about who or what gets to ‘go’ outside Earth’s boundaries, but rather how my life is affected by the discoveries we bring back home to Earth.

And this one little NASA/JPL press release about a shorter Earth day and 3-inch change to the Earth’s axis just really brings home the point — space is part of who we are as citizens of this planet in 2011.

Our eyes on this planet — robotic and human — give us data to make informed decisions from crop management to disaster planning to global warming to sustainability challenges.

Geological Safari: Crater Highlands, East Africa

Geological Safari: Crater Highlands, East Africa

What can I say. I’m biased. But you could be too. Just put on my starry-eyed glasses for a while and look around. You might discover some amazing things about how space touches you personally.

NASA's Interactive program to find space in your life.

NASA Home and City program.

I leave you with Carole King’s I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet.

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Filed under Earth, environment, federal government, leadership, NASA