I see rockets in my future.
I haven’t updated my blog in a while; I haven’t been doing anything in the observatory (since it has been so cold!) or anything science related really of note. I have been keeping a daily hand-written journal though it contains nothing worthy of posting online.
This weekend however, there’ll be a planetary conjunction between Mars and Venus that separates them by less than half a degree – which is awesome because I get a slightly larger field of view with my scope/camera setup right now. I hope to get a good image of that, weather permitting. Quickly I’d like to note that the kids have been out of school this entire week due to weather; the low last night was -21°C (-6°F) and tonight they’re calling for -26°C (-15°F) with wind chills as low as -31°C (-24°F)! I’m not looking forward to that at all…
Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with rockets and space travel. I’m currently reading First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen and just finished The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. The Martian was a sci-fi book about one of the first astronauts who helps setup a base on Mars but gets stranded and needs to survive using his knowledge, training, and limited resources until he can be rescued. Think of it as MacGyver on Mars. It was slightly cheesy, but fun, and the science was great. I’m enjoying First Man a lot. It’s obviously a biography of one of my heroes, Neil Armstrong. I’m seriously thinking of taking –another– trip to the Dayton Air and Space Museum. I love that place. Maybe this weekend?
I’ve also been spending a lot of time listening to space-themed podcasts like KerbalCast (podcast about Kerbal Space Program), Planetary Radio, and a new one called Space Rocket History. At night I’ve been building virtual rockets by way of the video game Kerbal Space Program. I know I’ve talked about it many times here but I’ll tell ya… it’s easily one of my favorite games of all time, and that’s indicated by the number of hours I’ve played since discovering it. I won’t say the exact number, but it’s in the many hundreds! I think it’s a really important game in the sense that it’s a great learning tool on top of being a super-fun simulator.
I want to get back on my model rocket project soon as well. I started testing and designing last year with my balloon project, but I was just testing out the circuitry. Now that I know it works, I want to put it in a model rocket and get some actual data. I have all the stuff, I just need to get working on it.