It was 40 Years Ago Today

At 20:17:40 UTC Neil Armstrong said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

At 02:56 UTC on July 21 He became the first human to walk on the Moon.

I was 13 years old and had been glued to my parent’s TV for several days. I think I slept in front of the TV, too.

It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and a memory touchstone.

Where were you and what were you doing? (Provided, of course you were alive. I’m not trying to be a smart-ass.)

Bootprint on the Moon   Apollo 11 Landing Site Seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter   Apollo 11 mission insignia

Happy 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Launch!

We choose the moon is an interactive experience recreating the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in real time. Live event begins 9:32 AM EDT July 16, 2009. Exactly 40 years after Apollo 11 lifted off.

This was one of the highlights of growing up geek. I was 13 at the time and pretty much stayed up for a week watching the TV coverage. That meant Walter Cronkite on CBS. This was NEWS, you couldn’t entrust your information source to some amateurs.

Two Sad NASA Anniversaries

On January 28 in 1986, the STS-51-L Challenger was lost during launch carrying Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-B (TDRS-B); SPARTAN-203. On January 27 (yesterday) in 1967, Apollo 1 caught fire during pre–flight testing. Astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee were killed.

Those anniversaries always make me melancholy.

February 20 Lunar Eclipse

These aren’t much, but I’m no photographer either.

For awhile we had good visibility of last night’s lunar eclipse here in southern Nevada. Ian and I went back in to get some coats at about 6:20 pm (PST -0800UT) and got distracted by some dog vs. cat shenanigans. When we got back outside about 6:45 pm, the then partial eclipse was obscured by cloud cover moving in from the east-southeast. The sky is still overcast as I write this the next day. Oh well.

This is a crop from that picture showing the Earth’s shadow (the Penumbra) on the Moon.

Mare Humorum: where craters tell the story of basalt

Good use of multiple data sources to do planetary science. [cf. #TheDissertation]

Mare Humorum: where craters tell the story of basalt [via EurekAlert! Public News List]

Mare Humorum, or ‘Sea of Moisture’, is a small circular mare on the lunar nearside, about 825 kilometres across. The mountains surrounding it mark the edge of an old impact basin which has been flooded and filled by mare lavas. These lavas also extend past the basin rim in several places. In the upper right are several such flows which extend northwest into southern Oceanus Procellarum.


Mare Humorum is a scientifically interesting area because it allows the study of the relationships among lunar mare filling, mare basin tectonics, and global thermal evolution to the major mascon maria – regions of the moon’s crust which contain a large amount of material denser than average for that area (Solomon, Head, 1980).

Past studies (Budney, Lucey) revealed that craters in the mare Humorum sometimes excavate highland material, allowing to estimate the thickness from below the mare cover. Thanks to this, it was also possible to determine that the ‘multiring’ structure of the Humorum basin has a diameter of 425 kilometres (results based on the US Clementine global topography data). (more)


Lots of scanning and putting together graphics for a series of large format posters for Wednesday. Tomorrow will be a session with spray-mount and the foam-board. We’ll just talk from the posters. I think it will be more engaging this way, we’ll move around more and not get bogged down with the minutiae that even Archaeologists don’t care about. I think the message will come across better this way. On a side note, I love our HP 2500CM plotter. I used to care and feed for a CalComp 48″ electrostatic plotter that was a nightmare. The HP is just a big 36″ ink-jet Postscript printer. And it just works …

Dave has been thinking about why we never went back to the moon. I read this a while ago and took a walk to think about it. Not because it disturbed me, though it did a little. Reflecting on the space program often disturbs me a bit because I was late to the realization that we really did go to beat the Russians. Somehow I had come to the conclusion that the real reason was the challenge, the quest for space. ‘To boldly go’ and all that. I think that’s the story I wanted to believe. However, I think Dave is spot-on. Going to the Moon may have saved the world. But he ou; [import pproblem? –ed.] it much better than I could paraphrase here. Go have a read …

And so to work …

I know it don’t thrill you,

I hope it don’t kill you.

Welcome to the Working Week…

Elvis Costello

Al‘s finger will take some time to heal (8 weeks), He’s certainly opened my eyes to some hazards of the caregiver profession. I’d never considered the patients to be on that list.

Dave’s absolutely right. I must work on that …


A lot of times what we do for a living doesn’t really touch people in a visible way. I mean we hear ‘thank you’ and ‘good job’ but I think it soon fades into the background tapestry of our experience. I’m really impressed with the vignettes, the little scenes from Al‘s movie that he shares with us. They’re tangible, often palpable experiences for me when I read them. We’re really vulnerable when we’re sick and a lot of the pretext of our lives doesn’t follow into that space. I think it takes a special type of person to dwell in that area. … I guess what I’m trying to say is today’s scene with Mrs. P. reminded me of my Grandmother and it touched me to think of her. Thanks for doing what you do Al, and thanks for telling us about it.

Earlier, Al mentions “the discovery of a large patch of kudzu here in the Portland metro area.” I never supposed I’d hear ‘kudzu’ and ‘Oregon’ in the same sentence. The Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) is bad enough out here in the West. The one-two punch of Tamarisk and Kudzu out here would be like a vegetative Ice-Nine on the few native communities left along the waterways. We’ve done some extensive plant censuses in the local wetlands (AKA the Wash) and I thankfully haven’t heard any reports of Kudzu. Please act quickly local agencies …

Sadness in Santa Fe. sandra and garret’s beloved winslow is gone. Farewell little one, you made more friends than you could know …

from Mike’s Weblog: Stephen’s Guide to the Logical Fallacies. “A handy site if you’ve been reading through some polemic and are trying to put your finger on just what stinks about the argument they are making. Short descriptions and examples of 60 or 70 different fallacies, together with notes on how to prove that the fallacy has occurred.” Good for scrutinizing your own arguments as well.

David at Time’s Shadow Groundhog Day saw Space Cowboys last night. It sounds like we’re going to a matinée today with SirDeath. I’m looking forward to it. Later: Its a fun movie, but not a great movie. I’d have like to see more character development and interaction with the main four (Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner) and some secondary character’s chickens never came home to roost … but hey, its a summer movie. I enjoyed it and would give it a 7.5 out of 10. And … what Dave said about it too.

I haven’t been paying much attention to it lately, but I noticed this morning that the Seti@Home client on Hayduke (the 3400 PowerBook) reports 514 units done with 9016 idle computer hours contributed to the project…

blivet 4/5/2000

[Thanks!] David Anderson who does MontanaNewsDaily in this neck of the woods gave blivet a mention back on the 31st of March. Thanks David!

[Internet World] Apple’s QuickTime 4.1.1 is available by using use your QuickTime Updater if it is installed or download the full installer. Its worth noting that it will replace the new Sound Manager extension just installed by OS 9.0.4, so save a copy before you update. Apple also announced that Darwin 1.0, the BSD open source underpinnings of OS X, is available for download. update: I did just that when I got home and noticed that the version installed via Quick Time has a higher version number than the one installed with the 9.0.4 updater. Now I’m really confused.

[Adobe] Adobe recently announced their Create a PDF Online fee based service, which allows you to create PDF files over the Web.

[Space Science.Com] Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and the waxing crescent Moon will near convergence in an area of the sky 9 degrees across. Tomorrow!

[Farewell to Mozilla] Netscape 6 Preview Release 1 is available.

[Mad Science Research Labs] Apple’s wireless Airport base station for 802.11 ethernet can be upgraded to 128-bit RC4 encryption. They’ve got pictures of how to do it, it costs about $300US over the base price of the Airport unit. Just because you don’t think they’re listening doesn’t mean they aren’t. Link from slashdot.

Hmm, isn’t showing blivet as being updated.