Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Mat Kaplan

Atacama Diary for March 8, 2013-Noon at LAX

Posted by Mat Kaplan

09-03-2013 5:32 CST

Topics: podcasts and videos, radio telescopes, astronomy

Another in my series of audio blog posts about the inauguration of the ALMA Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert.


I had almost forgotten how anxious I become when I have to head out on a long trip by myself.  But my daughter got me to the airport in plenty of time.  I was in a humongous terminal waiting area all by myself until a few minutes ago.  Now my fellow travelers to Chile are dribbling in. 

I should say anxious, yet excited.  Our hosts seem to have planned out everything extremely well.  Last night I printed out a big, beautiful brochure created just for  the ALMA inauguration ceremony.  We have the media itinerary, too.  I'm a bit concerned that we won't have as much time as expected to acclimate before we leave the OSF for the AOS.  That's Operations Support Facility, at a mere 2,900 meters, to the Array Operations Site, at 5050 meters.  We're also warned that some attendees will not pass the medical exam required before reaching for the stratosphere.  I'm optimistic. 

Last Tuesday, the National Science Foundation produced a very nice webcast that described its support for ALMA, through the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  Jim Ulvestad was one of the participants.  He is Director of the Division for Astronomical Sciences in the NSF's Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate. Jim provided a welcome to those of us who would be heading to Chile.

Later, he was asked about the international nature of the ALMA project. 

My plane begins boarding in ten minutes.  I'll post again as soon as I can, probably from our gathering place in Santiago, the capital of Chile. 

See other posts from March 2013


Or read more blog entries about: podcasts and videos, radio telescopes, astronomy


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 27,600 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

The Magnificent Neptunian System
Pluto's blue skies
51 Eridani b
51 Eridani b (artist's conception)
More Images

Featured Video

A Perfect, Clear Day: LightSail's Launch

Watch Now

Fly to an Asteroid!

Send your name and message on Hayabusa-2.

Send your name

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!