It was a pretty productive day at home!
Em, my youngest daughter is on day 2 of a pretty nasty cold and you know how day-cares are about that sort of thing. So I decided to stay home, get a few errands done and spend a little quality time with the little angel.
At least that was my intent.
Only a few minutes after breakfast I felt the urge to check into the office from my home-office in the basement, and wouldn’t you know it 4 hours later my wife J calls me up for lunch. Since I felt a little guilty about blowing the morning away, I left the table with fatherly ambition! While I waited for Em to finish her mushroom soup, I decided to head back downstairs for a little Tropico 4 on the Xbox. I hear Em’s squeaky cold-attled voice come calling down the stairs “Daddy … can you play with me?” and as my heart sinks I look at the clock … 3:30 pm. Dammit, I’m a horrible father.
Now maybe I’m being a little too hard on myself. I mean J was upstairs on the couch with her all day wrapped up in a blankie and having a great time playing games and watching tv, but I’m probably not alone in thinking I’ve been a little selfish today.
But I’ve made up for it since. We set up the easel my brother bought her for Christmas and made some great chalk-paintings, danced to some Com Truise and even did a little iPad stop-motion animation with Batman and My Little Pony. It’s truly not the quantity but the quality of time that matters. She seems to agree.
I can’t think of any one mission that embodies the spirit of exploration more than the Cassini mission to the Saturn system. Day after day the probe sends stunning HD images of Saturn and it’s moons.
Cinematographer Stephen Van Vuuren just released an HD fly-through video compiled from hundreds of these images. It’s simply awe-inspiring.
Looks like the evil Sun God is taking out its frustrations on us again … in the form of a massive, beautiful solar eruption! NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the action yesterday as an area about the size of Earth flared up into one of the most spectacular solar events I’ve seen … ever.
Feast your eyes!
If you aren’t already tuned into NASA TV online for the last flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, you have about 5 minutes.
‘But, where do I find the video feed, Marc?” you ask? Well, I happen to have it right here in my pocket.
While NASA’s continues to focus it’s efforts on the search for extra-terrestrial life and the unmanned probing of the solar system , someone in their Technology Applications Assessment team has been dreaming a little bigger. The project has been called the 100 Year Starship and it’s aim is to build a manned interplanetary multi-mission starship. While they’ve received $1mill from DARPA to start working on how to make it happen, someone still needs to fork out the big bucks to build the ship. Thankfully the happy little engin-gnomes on the TAA team have drafted up a proposal.
Yesterday afternoon (Feb 13) the sun unleashed the largest solar flare of the year, creating a unique opportunity for those of us in the northern hemisphere to see some better-than-average aurora tomorrow night (Feb15). This particular MSE (mass solar ejection) is the result of sunspot 1158 throwing a solar temper tantrum (see video). The 2 day time delay is due to the 150,000,000 km (aka. 1 Astronomical Unit) the solar radiation must travel before it bombards our magnetic field here on Earth.
So put on your tin-foil hat and flee the city! Or just look up and enjoy the dance of charged particles in flowing through our magnetosphere.