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

 Posted by DrJeff on July 13th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

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

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

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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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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SPECIAL POST: Where Were You During the Flight of Apollo 11? Remember and Share –

 Posted by DrJeff on June 26th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Countdown to History
Ensure your system clock is correct for countdown accuracy.
Launch of Apollo 11, Cape Kennedy: T-minus
[clock1]

Touchdown at Tranquility Base: T-minus

[clock2]

A Footprint on Another World: T-minus

[clock3]

 

Aldrin

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

We came in peace for all mankind


It was a moment that changed us. A moment that began a new chapter in the book of the human race. It was an achievement shared by all the peoples of the world … and in that moment—our differences were overwhelmed by the common bond of our humanity. And hear ye future generations—it was a testament to what we are collectively capable of achieving when we aim beyond the horizon.

 

Many of you reading this lived through it and were powerfully moved. Many of you were not yet born—but yearn to know what it was like.

 

I created this special post as a place where those that lived it could share the experience with those that did not.

 

If you were moved 40 years ago next month, please leave a comment below. Think about where you were, what it meant to you, and what it meant to the world. And we warmly invite you to put your thoughts to ‘paper’ here.

 

I’ll start it off with my own very personal experience in the recent post: The Launch of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Brought Back Memories of Apollo 11.

 

I have also assembled a list of resources below to help you celebrate with friends and family, and follow the flight—in real time—as it happened 40 years ago. I’ll be adding more to the list every few days.

 

With best wishes for great memories and wonderful sharing time,

Jeff Goldstein, Center Director, NCESSE

 

 

Please Tweet and Email the existence of this page far and wide, so we can remember together.


Return often to read new comments below with friends and family.

 

 

Feel the magic and the majesty—again.

 

 

Resources


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THE SOLUTION TO Weekly Challenge 3: What Can You Do With a Humongous Piece of Xerox Paper?

 Posted by DrJeff on June 23rd, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Read Original Challenge HERE.

Untitled-1

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


Last week on BotU, your challenge was to take an imaginary, truly humongous piece of xerox paper—but with normal xerox paper thickness—and figure out how many times you’d need to fold it in half so the folded thickness is the height of you, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Mount Everest. For those that really wanted to challenge themselves, I invited you to keep folding so it would be thick enough to reach the Moon, the Sun, the nearest star, and beyond.


How’d you do?


BUT WAIT! If you haven’t yet read Weekly Challenge 3, DON’T LOOK AT THE SOLUTION HERE JUST YET! First read Weekly Challenge 3, or I’ll take back my paper.


First, a word from our sponsor—

You Want Me To Do What With a Bathroom Scale?

Weekly Challenge 4 to be posted Monday, June 29, 2009


Other Posts coming soon:

A Voyage in Corpus Christi

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, History Tells How Far You Are

Lessons of Earth

MESSENGER: Target Mercury


And now the answers—


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Yesterday’s Launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Brings Back Memories of Apollo 11

 Posted by DrJeff on June 19th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

 

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is about to become the second human being to walk on the Moon. This picture was taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, July 20, 1969.

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is about to become the second human being to walk on the Moon. This picture was taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, July 20, 1969.


This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.


Yesterday (Thursday, June 18) the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and will reach the Moon next Tuesday, June 23. LRO is a robotic mission that will pave the way for humans to return to the lunar surface. It’s also a timely teachable moment in the news for another reason—

 

July 20th is coming. I’m waiting for the emotions to wash over me again. It will be the 40th anniversary of the first human footprints on another world, and I lived it.

 

I remember it so vividly. It was July 16, 1969. At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Apollo 11—a rocket as tall as a 36-story building—blasted off with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins aboard. The command module Columbia—with barely enough room for the three crew seats—was their home for the 3-day trip to the Moon, and by July 19th they were in orbit.

 

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Weekly Challenge 3: What Can You Do With a Humongous Piece of Xerox Paper?

 Posted by DrJeff on June 15th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Untitled-1

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

 

Math is the language of nature. If you yearn to know

how she operates, you must speak her language.

 

Before getting to the awesome challenge this week, I need to get something off my chest. It’s something very relevant to the challenge, but you might not think so at first—

 

My first language is English. I have very strong beliefs about how English should be taught in schools. I guess I’m a traditionalist. I also think that my views apply to how any language should be taught in schools around the world.

 

I think English belongs in English class. Period. You want to speak and read and write English, well do it in an English class. It doesn’t belong in a history class, or a science class, or for that matter a class on economics, art, sociology, psychology, or the law. Let’s keep English where it belongs. It’s just a language. So no English in those other classes. Just sit there and learn the concepts, nuances, big ideas, and emotional content of those subjects through …. osmosis. Think your thoughts toward other members of the class and share brain waves. And please, please … when you do this—DO NOT THINK YOUR THOUGHTS IN ENGLISH!

 

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My Really Long Drive with Jordi

 Posted by DrJeff on June 6th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

sun-earth-test1

 

This post is a Driving with Jordi, and a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.


“Daddy, how long would it take to drive around the Sun?”


So there we were on the Washington, DC, beltway heading for his elementary school. We were cruising at 60 mph—yes, on the beltway, I know!! (© Craig Ferguson, CBS).  Jordi said, “daddy, how far has this car gone since you and mommy got it?” I looked down at the odometer and read 249,000 and some odd miles. Cool! The ’95 Camry was doing just fine. Besides getting close to the 250,000-mile mark, the space guy in me knew that the Earth’s circumference is about 24,900 miles. “Jordi! This car could just have gone around the entire planet Earth 10 times!” He wasn’t expecting that answer. He thought that was … way cool. Cars aren’t supposed to be able to go around an entire planet are they?


But before we get to the rest of the story, first a detour at a Jeffism


Science Education is about conceptual understanding

at an emotional level.


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Our Earth in Space – the Nature of Our Existence

 Posted by DrJeff on May 28th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

suna

I started this blog to share exciting stories of exploration with those that teach the next generation—parents and teachers. I hope it can help you inspire our children. More generally, these stories are for anyone who gets joy from learning, and aspires to know.

 

If you really want to get a sense of where I”m coming from, read my Resource Page The Nature of Our Existence. I hope it moves you. And if it does, share it by leaving a comment on the bottom of the page.

 

It’s a story—a philosophy—reflecting programs developed and delivered over 19 years at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and across the nation—to families, teachers, and the public.

 

I’d like to see this blog continue for quite a long time. I’ve got lots to share. But that requires us to build an audience. So please let parents, teachers, and friends know about this blog so we can make a difference together. Send out a tweet or some emails!

 

You might also like to read other Resource Pages in the section called Dr. Jeff on Stuff (see the column at right.) And subscribe for e-mail notification to stay up-to-date with new Posts.

 

To all those teachers finishing their year and feeling exhausted, you could probably use a reaffirmation right now about why you went into teaching! I think reading The Nature of Our Existence might help. It’s a good way to start your summer!

—Dr. Jeff