Monthly Archives: August 2005

Trip to the Park

We went to the park to try out kite #4, but we didn't get any pictures of it before the batteries in the camera died. We did get some good pictures of Sean though.

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Babies are Easily Amused!

We were sitting in the office tonight, just keeping the little man entertained. Lori started throwing the ball up in the air and catching it, and Sean went crazy! It was like someone told him the best joke he'd ever heard! Watch this short video to see what I mean...

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We've been trying to keep this quiet, but somebody leaked the photos from Sean's drunk-tricycling arrest back in June. Oh, the shame!

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Scenes from Space #3

This image was taken by the Mars robotic rover Opportunity. It was taken two miles south of Endurance Crater, at a site named Rub al Khali. This image is actually nearly 100 individual images stiched together to create a 360 panorama. The coolest part about this image is that you can see the rover's tracks receding off into the distance in the center of the frame.

In other Mars news, I may get the opportunity to do some work on an instrument that will be on an upcoming Mars rover. How cool is that?! I'll keep you posted.

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Building Blocks

I just finished making these building blocks. They are made from Northeastern Hard Maple, and are colored with water-based dyes, and finished with a water-based finish - so they are totally kid-safe. I made matching sets for Sean and Ryan. I hope they like them!

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Kite #3 – Delta Box Trial Flight

Here's my third attempt at building a kite stable enough to loft a camera rig. I think this one is a winner. It practically leapt out of my hand when I launched it, and it rose quickly and smoothly. This one seems really stable. I'll have to start building my camera rig soon. I've also got plans to build a few more kites - they are turning out to be really fun to build! Once again, Sean was a little cutie. Look at him sitting up! He's growing up so quick!

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Just a Typical Friday Night

We took these photos today, during our normal dinner-time routine. Sean is working on feeding himself by grabbing food between his thumb and index finger - this is called a 'pincer grasp'. He's just starting to do it, but he sucessfully fed himself a few pieces of puffed rice. Gotta start somewhere! He's also doing really well getting up to his hands and knees on his own. He can't exactly go anywhere yet, but it's oh-so-cute!

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Scenes from Space

Enjoy the second installment of "Scenes from Space"!

This image was taken by Hubble in June of this year, when Mars was ~43 million miles from Earth — the closest it's been since 1988. Speaking of Mars being close to the Earth - there is a rumor going around about Mars. There has been an email circulating that on August 27th, 2005, Mars will be so close to the Earth that it will be as big in the sky as the full moon. This is just ridiculous! While Mars will be closer than it has been in a LONG time, The actual difference distance is only about 1%. So Mars will look about 1% bigger in the sky than on a normal approach. If Mars were to actually be close enough to look as big as the full moon, its gravity would throw earth out of its normal orbit and raise huge, terrible tides. So be sure to check out Mars this fall, but don't buy into this hoax!

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Sean the Superstar!

How do you know when you are finally famous? When you're in the tabloids, that's how! The press has latched on to Sean, for better or worse...

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Deep Impact – My Brush with Fame!

Hopefully, everyone has heard of Deep Impact - the NASA spacecraft that crashed (intentionally) into comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. If not, here's a link to the Deep Impact Mission home page. The idea was to smash a spacecraft into a comet, and have another spacecraft watch this up close and see what happens. Conceivably, This would tell us a lot about what comets are made of. If they are pretty solid, the impacting spacecraft should make a pretty small, unexciting crater. If comets are loose aggregations of dust and ice, the impactor might plunge straight into the comet's nucleus without a trace. But if comets are something in between - as most scientists suspect - we should get a pretty exciting explosion, and a nice-sized crater.

What you probably didn't know about Deep Impact is that I did a little work on that project. In fact, I had somewhere on the order of a dozen lines of code on both the impactor and the fly-by portion of the mission. While my involvement was pretty minor, I'm still really proud to have been a part of the Deep Impact team, and this is the first time in my professional life that I can tell just about anybody what I do for work, and they have heard of the project. Awesome!

Below are a couple of pictures of the certificate of appreciation I received for participating in the mission. Way cool!

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