Hold your breath! YU-55 is in the neighborhood

Earth will have a visitor a little closer than the moon.

Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth on November 8, 2011. The upcoming close approach by this relatively large 400 meter-sized, C-type asteroid presents an excellent opportunity for synergistic ground-based observations including optical, near infrared and radar data.  Read more from NASA     What would happen if it was to hit a large city?   Not good.  Could it strike the moon.  Not according to NASA?  Read how NASA tracks these huge asteroids.

Run the simulator at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=2005%20YU55;orb=1

Did we go to the moon?

Absolutely.  The conspiracy truly involves the cold war and  American technology at the time. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is slowly mapping out the moon and with that, the Apollo landing sites can be seen and although initial pictures were grainy, the pictures are getting better and better.   So is there any truth in some pictures may have been taken in a studio.  Perhaps.   Over 40 years nearly half of a century, there will be picture mix ups and some pictures may be used twice or there may be inconsistencies with stories astronauts recall.  But bottom-line, the technology at that time was truly amazing.   Even more amazing is the personnel that made it possible.

(Above – Where is LRO?)

I have nearly every Apollo and space exploration book that came out of the ’60s and ’70s.   I also have autographs of Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, John Glenn and others.

Amazing generation of engineers, technicians and astronauts

With that said, one of my favorite stories that comes from Apollo was when Apollo 12 was struck by lightning.   The command module lost power and systems failures were apparent.  All telemetry was lost and the Saturn V along with three astronauts could be lost from this near disaster.   It is amazing but one 24 year old engineer, John Aaron who calmly said, “Flight, Try SCE to Aux”.    Mission control relayed this obscure recommendation to the command module and fortunately astronaut Alan Bean knew where this switch was.   With the hundreds of engineers and three astronauts, only two people remembered in a time of crisis where the switch was.    Astronaut Pete Conrad nervously laughed all the way into orbit.  (This is one of the best  videos  to watch and  listen to (mp3.)

There’s a moral to this story.  Because John Aaron and Alan Bean knew their  job – because they cared, they saved not only the mission but the astronauts who were on their way to the moon.

In today’s world of high tech, new IT personnel should know their jobs inside and out.  They should constantly research new technology and read as much as they can.  Dawn and I have seen a trend where new IT personnel become comfortable with knowing only one area of information technology.   That is not to say that the new generation doesn’t care.   Society has put us in a mobile world where the internet is available 24/7, creating IT personnel who become comfortable only with their job at hand.   We’re also seeing a trend in that once new IT personnel settle in their job, they don’t seek additional certifications or go to seminars.    Our advice to them, keep growing.  Your education cannot stop.

With trillions of dollars of databases exposed to the internet, it is their job to keep data safe and keep their business operational.   Looking back at the Apollo program, the 400,000+ personnel who made it possible worked 16 and 18 hour days to complete their mission.   They balanced their personal lives and business lives and continued to grow.  In the world of IT, you have to continue to grow or you’ll slowly fade away and be lost as new technology comes out.

Remember – “SCE to Aux”

Another good article
Lost? Move SCE to Aux

Send your name to Mars

Scheduled to launch between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011, Mars Science Laboratory is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s “habitability.”

Sign up here

A Salute to the Space Shuttles

I remember being in high school and seeing the Enterprise lift from a Boeing 747 and NASA’s ‘dry’ run of a glide test.   The large bulky delta winged shuttle lifted up as the Boeing dropped away.  In the background a small T-38 fighter chase plane chased the Space Shuttle through its gliding maneuvers.   The Shuttle flew flawlessly and landed to an amazed world.   This Shuttle, the Enterprise was the beginning of a changing form of space exploration.

Having collected Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Neill Armstrong’s autographs, I have always been amazed by America’s space heroes.  The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs which began in the ’60′s and ended with the Apollo program in the ’70′s were golden.  With the birth of the Shuttle in the ’70′s and ’80′s, I was once again amazed at the technology.

The technology behind the Shuttle now 30 years old still amazes young and old alike.   While the Shuttle still looks the same, the technology behind the Shuttle has changed.   With the newer glass cockpit and some amazing technologies that have come to pass, the Shuttle is the most advanced flying vehicle made by man.

Shuttle Fact Sheet in PDF

Now with over 100 missions the Shuttle,
of which there are six Shuttles -(Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Endeavor and Enterprise) have all flown (The Enterprise was a test shuttle used during testing and did not fly into orbit) into space.  It is now 2010 and the Space Shuttles are moving into retirement.  Having lost two of the shuttles and the American heroes on-board, NASA continued the program that would produce scientific experiments that helped to bring technologies to help all of mankind (Inventions from shuttle missions).   The publicized yet little known missions are so well documented that many people overlook the  resources that NASA produces on their website.   Take some time out and visit NASA’s website and look at the archives that stand as a part of history.  A history of not only the ending of the Space Shuttle’s era but a history that spans from NASA’s birth to future projects.   It is one of the best websites on the internet.

Space Shuttle images and wake up calls.   Link

NASA’s Space Shuttle webpage.