I just love news of discoveries
Kevin Forbes VK3UKF
December 11, 2013
Hi Dan, thanks for asking your question. I have been inspired primarily by the Apollo astronauts. I think you need to be born with a sense of curiosity as well. I have always been one of those, 'and how does this work?' people. Years after Apollo, Carl Sagan would appear on many television broadcasts with messages of inspiration, then I spied in an astronomy magazine, an application for The Planetary Society and sent of the funds as well as my first donation. I am a collector of meteorites since the 1980's. I stood in the big hole at the Henbury impact site and said to myself, those Apollo fellows were here a few years ago checking out impact craters before they went to the Moon. On meteorites, I think the most amazing specimen I have ever peered at, is Mt Tazerait. It appears in some places like snap frozen boiling porridge under a microscope. I imagine it was a smaller splinter from a collision that was partially molten and experienced volatiles outgassing, before it cooled and went all solid again. Cavities and vesicles are lined with crystals. In 2000 I obtained my amateur radio license, and this has been put to good use recently, assisting a space research project (Shadow) on the ISS as a ground station for telemetry. When the MER rovers set down on Mars, I found myself being curious as to the strange file names on the images in the NASA archive, I found a breakdown of said file names somewhere at NASA and asked a bloke by the name of Jim Bell, if I would be upsetting anyone if I made a decoder for those file names, He replied back,'Not at all, go ahead and have fun.', which I did, (what a nice fellow). I was happy with what it did and took it further with image processing and then a pile of head scratch to make it also work for, Pathfinder, Viking, Phoenix and some others. Now I think I can say, I know something about spacecraft file name conventions, but still have a lot to learn. There are some movies on my Youtube channel made by that software. What I value the most about the Planetary Society has been said before, the next generation get inspiration from you. The curious ones will take it as far as they can go, and they will be the ones at NASA when landers touch down on the moons of Neptune, or a beacon station lands on Sedna. Thanking you, Kevin Forbes VK3UKF.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.