Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spacing Out

I've been on a real space kick recently. For instance, I can see Venus outside my office window right now*. Venus. A planet. With my eyes! Isn't that awesome? It's another freaking planet just floating around out there, chilling with its friends. "Oh look... it's the moon, a whole other planet, and a gigantic perpetual nuclear explosion that hovers in the air. Just another day in my backyard."

Speaking of the moon, how is it that my generation looks at the moon and thinks to itself "Oh yeah, totally doable." Really? Take a look up someday, does that thing look easy to get to? And have you seen the crap they went to the moon with? If I'd lent them my phone back then it would have revolutionized the entire mission. Hell, I probably could have written an excel spreadsheet that would automatically handle all the computer functions for the trip.

Just for fun, here's an example of how ridiculous the moon landing was. This is a quote from the Neil Armstrong biography where he's talking about descending onto the moon:

On the double-paned window on Neil’s side of the LM (Paul: Lunar Module. And good to know it was double-paned, keeps out the draft) there was a vertical line with horizontal marks on it. As the LM flew facedown, Neil used a stopwatch to time the number of seconds it took to move from mark A to mark B (Paul: aka, rocks on the ground) on the window line. By that he calculated the spacecraft’s angular rate. With him in the cabin Neil had a chart that he used to compare tracking rates with expected values at various positions along the orbit. Differences between his visual observations and the expected values allowed him to estimate both the altitude of the LM’s perilune and the time at which they would reach it.

Hansen, James R. (2005-10-18). First Man (p. 453). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Did you hear that? The moon landing depended on proper use of a stopwatch!!! Yeah, I knew their gear was budget but c'mon. I have a ton of respect for these folks. It ain't easy sending someone to the moon with tin cans, a stopwatch, and about 45,000 cigarettes (seriously, read one of these biographies. Those dudes smoked a lot).

As a side note, Erika and I have an ongoing argument about going to Mars. As in, I'd totally go if given the chance. Erika has some flimsy argument about "If you left me for five years to go to Mars I would either leave you while you were gone or kill you when you got back" but I don't get it. My argument is this: It's Mars. Who doesn't want to go to Mars???

The real irony is that Erika is a scientist and would be waaay more likely to get picked for the mission. Me? I'm only going if they decide they want an entertainment director for the flight.


When did I become a morning person? I remember when I was younger I'd sleep in until 11am and still feel tired. Then for a while I had to get up early for work. Now I'm up at 6:30am writing this despite not needing to be at work for 3 more hours because I'd be too tired to do it after work.

By the way, why do night people get all the coffee cred? "Ooo, look at me. I'm soooo tired, I just can't FUNCTION until I get my morning cup of coffee." Hey, great for you, you need that one cup of joe in the morning to get you going and then it's off to the races. Do you know what afternoons are like for a morning person? If coffee were secreted by small woodland creatures I'd have a cage of them under my desk that I'd wring out directly into my mouth at 2pm. Those critters would start shaking in the corner as soon as they smelled ham sandwich being eaten.

*Actually, after a while it started moving so I'm pretty sure it was a plane. But you can totally see Venus with the naked eye in the morning so everything I said above remains applicable.

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