An Apollo 11 Personal Story

 Posted by DrJeff on July 16th, 2009

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279739main_moonwalk_lg

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.


Photo caption: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. Photo by Neil Armstrong.

 

I think it was August 1998. I got a call from Gina Ross, the principal of Buzz Aldrin Elementary School in Reston, VA. Her teachers were about to return to school for the new academic year, and before the kids returned she wanted me to come and visit. My mission? To inspire her teaching staff with an inter-disciplinary talk on the nature of human exploration, what we as a species of explorers are capable of achieving when we put our minds to it, and that teachers and parents are the link that binds each generation to the next, allowing us personally and collectively to aspire to new heights.

 

The presentation was going well. They were with me, and I could see them getting energized for the new year. Midway through, I was telling them about how I was inspired to be a space explorer when I was just 11. It was one of those singular moments that changes us forever. I was watching a black and white television and on the screen were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking around … on the Moon! You just have to step back from that sentence and let it soak in.

 

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Weekly Challenge 5: Dr. Jeff’s Interplanetary Travel Agency

 Posted by DrJeff on July 13th, 2009

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Apollo--Apollo-module-orb-002

This post is a Dr. Jeff’s Weekly Challenge.

 

Photo caption: Photograph by Michael Collins in Apollo 11 command module Columbia, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin return from the lunar surface in Eagle. With the exception of Michael Collins, the entire human race is in the picture. It happened almost exactly 40 years ago. Eagle blasted off from the surface at 1:54:00 pm EDT, July 21, 1969.

 

I decided to start a new business. I know space flight for us average folk is just around the corner. As a shrewd business person (hah) I recognize the market potential for interplanetary vacation travel. So I’m therefore happy to report that I’ve just established my new company—Dr. Jeff’s Interplanetary Travel Agency, LLC, and I need some help from you all in designing my marketing material. I’m thinking images of alien vistas is the way to really entice clients.

 

Last night I happened to look up at the Moon as it was rising above the trees (read why HERE) ,and I thought to myself “Wow! If I didn’t live on Earth, a picture of that would certainly make me want to visit Earth!”

 

So I started imagining the view from the surface of other worlds. In particular, I’m thinking of a tour package to moons of some of the planets, with stays at the Best Western Satellite Hotels, each located a comfortable distance from the regional spaceport. (Sorry, the Four Seasons and Hilton Hotels only wanted to build on the planets.)

 

I’m hiring you as my interplanetary photographer. I’d like you to travel to some moons and get me some cool pictures for my brochure. For each shot, I’d like something comparable to what I saw when I looked at the full Moon from Earth.

 

Here now the Challenge—

 

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Extra Wrapping Paper? Let’s Gift Wrap the Biggest ASTEROID. (oooh I’m so scared of the IAU)

 Posted by DrJeff on July 10th, 2009

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Final Ceres

This post is a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.

 

Last week on BotU, I used boat-loads of wrapping paper to gift wrap the Moon. I can’t believe that I actually bought TOO MUCH of the stuff! What to do with the leftovers, what to do. Hey, I know! I’ll wrap the largest asteroid Ceres! (Oops … can I say that? Are the IAU police listening?)

 

What? You don’t know what I’m talking about? Don’t you remember the whole ‘Is Pluto a Planet’ thing in 2006? Well it spilled over to poor old Ceres. In its infinite wisdom, the International Astronomical Union—the IAU—renamed Ceres a “Dwarf Planet” ’cause what they did to Pluto had a ripple effect across the Solar System. BUT they forgot to let the rest of us know if we should still call Ceres an asteroid. Or maybe they just don’t write very well (see below.)

 

So you know what? I’m going to call it a dwarf planet AND the largest asteroid. “Now, now kids, don’t fight …Shimmer … it’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping (SNL.)”

 

Now for the cool part—

 

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THE SOLUTION TO Weekly Challenge 4: You Want Me to Do What With a Bathroom Scale?

 Posted by DrJeff on July 8th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Read Original Challenge HERE.

For Post

This post is a Dr. Jeff’s Weekly Challenge and a Teachable Moment in the News.

 

Ok, I know you’ve been perplexed for a week. You’ve been patiently waiting for me to read my bathroom scale on top of my 210 mile high mountain that apparently even the U.S. Geological Survey knows nothing about (I checked at their web site.) Wait! You say you have no clue what I’m talking about?? Hey, you’ve got to read Weekly Challege 4 FIRST! None of this lazy stuff going right to the answer.

 

Go read Weekly Challenge 4, think about it for a while, and come back. I’ll wait right here for you.

 

And now the answer—


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If I Could Gift Wrap the Moon

 Posted by DrJeff on July 2nd, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Earth-Moon

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News and a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.

 

Have you ever just stopped on a cloudless night and stared at the Moon? And I’m not talking about a 2 second passing glance, and a smile. A jewel in the night, it is a sight many of us learn to ignore. Yet it is ANOTHER WORLD, and we can see it clearly from our backyards. That to me seems like a gift.

 

Now for my gift to you. If you’ve never done it, or you haven’t recently, PLEASE just take out a simple pair of binoculars (forget the telescope) and look at the Moon. Do it with your children. Teach them an appreciation for what’s in their sky. It is a stunning site.

 

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