After a hectic week of tying up loose ends and running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I now have my proster done for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, and am in Phoenix for the Planetary Surface Processes field trip, led by my adviser Jim Bell.
Scott Maxwell is one of those many guys (and gals) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who rarely gets his name in the news but who is absolutely indispensable to the success of a space mission. I don't know what his official title is, but whatever it is, it's not as good as the colloquial name given to his position: Rover Driver.
It's a legal holiday here in the U.S. (President's day), and my daughter's babysitter is taking the day off, so I won't be getting much work done today. But I thought I'd check in to share the fact that, as we got out of the car last week, my daughter pointed up in the sky at the crescent moon and said "Dat!" so I gave her the word, "Moon."
I've been sifting through the data I obtained last week on the lightcurve of binary Kuiper Belt object 1998 SM165 during my three nights on the Lowell Observatory 72" telescope, and as so often happens, the images are proving a bit harder to analyze than I'd first thought.
So yesterday, after covering the Deep Impact press conference at JPL and recording for Planetary Radio, my husband and I drove to his parents' house for an Independence Day barbeque. When I explained the nature of the Deep Impact mission my mother-in-law exclaimed, "What! What gives you the right to go around smashing up a comet that was minding its own business?"
On January 14, 2005, the eyes of the world were on the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where Huygens mission operators were anxiously awaiting news from Huygens. Would the little probe -- a mission built in seventeen countries, more than twenty years in the making -- be a success, or would it prove a repeat of the heartbreaking silence of Beagle 2?