"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ISS Leads My Cosmos Clearing House for April

ISS Captures Hurricane Earl Image

My NASA Daily Digest Bulletin included the following image. I love angled shots like this. They strike me as more dramatic than photos taken from directly overhead. Enjoy.

Photo Credit: NASA
We are entering what will hopefully be the heyday of the International Space Station. Now fully stocked and staffed, it is poised to churn out lots of research and experience that benefit not only the space industry, but all of humanity. Will the ISS deliver constant heart-stopping discovery? Of course not. Still my personal hope is that, like the Hubble Space Telescope, the ISS will accumulate a body of dramatic images and knowledge that cultivate public endearment. Bottom line: space exploration needs a thriving workaday culture that only mainstays like Hubble and the ISS provide.

LightSail-1 Makes NASA's Short List

As a member of The Planetary Society, I'm always excited when our organization hits another milestone or achieves new results. So it was wonderful to hear that LightSail-1, a solar sail spacecraft funded by the Society, has been short-listed for a future NASA launch. I suppose this is the cosmic equivalent of scoring an Oscar nomination. It's not the actual award, but it is a major vote of confidence.


'Martian Summer' Makes Childe Jake's Short List

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/U.Arizona
Okay, the above image is not the most exciting Mars photo ever taken...but it is very special to me. Look closely and notice the DVD affixed to NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. It is a time capsule of sorts--a gift to future Martian colonists. This archival disc includes various pieces of literature about Mars exploration, including science fiction classics. It also includes a list of names of Earth citizens, including mine. So I remain fond of this particular NASA artifact. Now about the new book.

Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars MissionMartian Summer is a non-fiction firsthand account of NASA's historic Phoenix Mars mission. Phoenix discovered the Holy Grail of cosmic commodities: ice. I'm especially excited to discover that this book, which I first heard about on NPR, is not written by a NASA scientist. Rather, it comes from the pen of a Brooklyn-based writer who is described in publicity materials as a "fanboy." I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a very good and accessible read. Expect a review sometime in the near future.


  1. Just showed the pics to H, he immediately identified each one correctly and was thrilled to see these images.

  2. Awesome! Glad he enjoyed them. More to come in the future!