As a child I heard talk about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon and saw the first Viking Lander image of the surface of Mars. These things looked totally amazing and unobtainable from my small Michigan farming town. Then, as a young adult I read many works from Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan and I became more interested. So I went to college to learn about space and rocketry and I joined The Planetary Society. Today, I am a member of The Planetary Society and the Tacoma Astronomical Society. Tonight the Tacoma Astronomical Society hosts a free ... more »
I am a postdoc at Los Alamos National Lab and I study the sky that our eyes can't see--the gamma-ray sky. These are the highest energy photons known and come from some of the coolest most extreme cosmic processes. I work with the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Telescope, which doesn't look like a conventional telescope. But this is what you need to "see" gamma rays.
When I was a young boy in the 1960s, my mother and I visited with a good friend of hers. Her friend's son was watching Star Trek, so I sat next to him and what I saw I thought was so cool. It was the episode where Captain Kirk was on this planet with a Lizard like creature named the Gorn. They had to battle each other to the death. Another influence was the landing on the Moon in 1969. I watched it on a black and white TV. These two incidents in my young age influenced me, and ever ... more »
In the interests of full disclosure, I am one of Mat Kaplan's brothers. So I may be a bit biased when I say, "Planetary Radio is the greatest thing to happen to radio since the invention of the transistor." I'd like to apologize to my big Bro for, when young and innocent, disassembling various items of his personal property. Fortunately his telescope remained intact, and through it I first gazed upon the Moon and Saturn in awe.
At about age five I was introduced to humankind in space with a record album my parent's gave me. My two favorite songs were ... more »
When I was ten, I was fortunate enough to witness one of the best Perseid Meteor showers. I had been watching Star Trek and Buck Rogers re-runs for months, inspired by the idea that I could someday be a space explorer myself. As I watched the first meteors streak across the night sky that night I knew that I was always going to be in love with the stars.
Today as we see the beginnings of our future, as we explore and expand out across our solar system and beyond, I remember the excitement and inspiration I felt in my heart ... more »
I was an 8-year-old Girl Scout who was fascinated with the Apollo program - like many kids my age. Everything was about the astronauts. We wanted to eat what the astronauts ate, wear what the astronauts wore, etc...everything was leading up to that July night in 1969. I remember my dad getting me up out of bed to watch the landing on TV. I can still see how we were in the living room...I was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV with my little sister sitting next to me. My dad was in a chair leaning ... more »
My favorite place to visit when I was 4 years old was the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, especially the Hall of Dinosaurs. Following that, I was allowed to watch Allen Shepherd launch into space when I was in first grade in Butte, Montana. We got to go to the third grade classroom to see it on a specially rigged television connection. I watched every space launch and followed the astronaut's adventures up to the shuttle launches. I followed the robotic missions to the moon and Mars. My mother took a geology course and I got to go along. We ... more »
My love affair with space begun by falling in love with Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek. I was enthralled with these shows, so I begun to read and research more about space and space travel and it made space that much more real for me.
When I was 10 I was in 7th grade in San Diego. Schools were overcrowded - at my school, Junior High was mornings, and High School was in afternoons - so I had all my afternoons free. Both my parents worked, and there were no other kids around where I lived. Trying to find a way to spend afternoons, I found the school library, and the first book I tried was Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein. I was captivated for life - Asimov, Bradbury, LeGuin, Clarke, Crichton, and so many others! The one real regret I have (I'm 72 now) ... more »
Our Dad worked at Wright Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio and took us to the annual air show. He taught us to always look up and thrill in the exploration of the skies. As the bug took hold of both my brother and I we realized that we needed more so we looked into buying a telescope for our back yard. The cost of a telescope was too much for a couple of poor young boys, but the price of some components was not too bad.
With my brother, Nick as the lead, we spent many hours in the ... more »