Thursday, January 29, 2009


I remember that cold morning in CT. I wanted to watch it, but the family wanted to the hit store (Bradleys, if I recall correctly). We came back to my aunts house, turned on the TV, and there was the explosion being replayed.

I was only 9.5 years old. I dont remember feeling bad about it, though I knew it was obviously tragic. My Dad used to wake me up for those 6am launches every once in a while. So I liked watching the shuttle take off. I knew nothing about it though. But I remember what followed after Challenger.

So I wrote to NASA asking for information. What I got back was an inch thick packet, for free, detailing everything there was to know about the shuttle (in laymens terms, complete with diagrams, and unclassified of course). I wrote reports with that literature. I even wrote after that to get information regarding the SRB O-ring failure, I think.

So, that was my hook to get started in science.

I am not sure if NASA ever truly recovered after that disaster. It took 33 months or so for the next shuttle to launch. An eternity in kid time. But I remembered it was well advertised.
It took a while but I got down tothe Cape to see a shuttle launch. Still cant find that videotape. That would be awesome to show the family. I think I saw it go up in 1992.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Recent EOS article highlights what a little chemistry, meteorology, and billions of dollars in satellite remote sensing can do. Cant link to the article so I searched for this less than perfect article:

The ozone hole will recover in 2068, and signals for this recovery may not be visible until 2018.

This problem is similar to what we see with CO2. Add now, deal with it for decades to centuries.
Remember, we turned off most ozone depleting chemicals, but it will still take another 59 years for recovery. Is it any wonder that most scientists agree that global warming is for real? The time scale may be large and the effects seemingly small for now, but add a hundred years and there will be serious climate changes.