nasa

The disappearing Pedersen Glacier in Alaska

The image here shows two photos of the Pedersen Glacier in Alaska. The black and white image is from 1917, and the open green field is from 2005. I found those photos in this YouTube video after viewing a short video about how warm it is in the Arctic Circle this year, where glaciers are melting during the winter instead of forming new ice.

For more information, the USGS has this page which shows many more examples of disappearing glaciers in Alaska.

14% layoff on a NASA project leads to Pico de Gallo

Back in the 90s I was a Unix admin on a NASA project. Rumor was there was going to be a 14% layoff. The next day my boss tells me to go to HR. I’m thinking, “Me???”

I get there, and they tell me they can’t print their Postscript layoff reports in landscape mode, ask if I can help. In the end I got a great Pico de Gallo recipe out of it. :)

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

Learn how to influence people

“When you listen to someone, 
you should give up all your preconceived ideas 
and subjective opinions; you should just listen to him, 
just observe what his way is.”

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

If you’ve read the previous chapters, you’re now well past the basics. You’re a trustworthy person, a problem solver, you don’t create any problems for your sponsor, and you know how to make the big decisions. Now we’ll dig into a few of the finer points of being a consultant.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover “spots clouds shaped by gravity waves”

From this story on sciencemag.org:

“NASA’s Curiosity rover usually keeps its instruments firmly focused on Mars’s ground, zapping grit with its laser or drilling cores in bedrock. But every few days, the SUV-sized robot, like any good dreamer, shifts its sights upward to the clouds. Well into its fifth year, the rover has now shot more than 500 movies of the clouds above it, including the first ground-based view of martian clouds shaped by gravity waves ...”

(See the story for more information, and some animations which unfortunately just keep endlessly repeating.)

Blood Of Eden by Peter Gabriel

One of my favorite albums of all time is Us, by Peter Gabriel. I discovered it during a period of existential angst when I was working on a $3B NASA project, and I learned that the entire project was created and would soon be destroyed because of politics. I started listening to the album again recently while practicing yoga at night. This song is Blood Of Eden.

NASA’s new High Dynamic Camera records rocket test

From the video notes: “This is footage of Orbital ATK’s QM-2 solid rocket booster test taken by NASA’s High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) camera. HiDyRS-X records high speed, high dynamic range footage in multiple exposures simultaneously for use in analyzing rocket engine tests. Traditional high speed video cameras are limited to shooting in one exposure at a time, but HiDyRS-X can record multiple high speed video exposures at once, combining them into a high dynamic range video that adequately exposes all areas of the video image for comprehensive analysis.”

The video doesn’t change much over the three minutes, so if you watch a few seconds of it you can see how it works. As an aerospace engineer who was most interested in propulsion, watching the rocket plume is cool.