#MarsWalk Guess who has two thumbs and is inside Gale Crater?

#MarsWalk Guess who has two thumbs and is inside Gale Crater?

Walking in Space

Day 519, 3039.9 km. Up over the rim yesterday!And yeah, there are some HiRISE pictures here.Such as this one. I’m about in the middle of this:

99.2%, projected arrival at Curiosity June 14 — about Wednesday. Of course, if I manage to get on my bike this weekend, it’ll be much sooner. Time for more or less daily reports from now on!


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

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#MarsWalk Day 513, 3003.9 km

#MarsWalk Day 513, 3003.9 km

Walking in Space

I got home too late last night to post an update, so this is a day late. Which is okay, because it wasn’t until today that I crossed the 3000 km mark.

In a few days I’ll be inside Gale Crater.

I’m posting this on a new blog, Walking in Space, and reblogging it on Doctroidal Dissertations. And I’ve copied the MarsWalk posts from DD to WiS. What for, given that I’ll be done with this challenge in a couple weeks? Obviously because there’s a sequel planned. OR IS THERE?


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

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#MarsWalk Day 505, 2960.9 km

#MarsWalk Day 505, 2960.9 km

Over 500 days in. Definitely working through the ejecta immediately around Gale Crater.

The first Cycle in the City ride was Sunday: 18 miles, to which I added 3 more by parking at the Inner Harbor, so altogether 33.8 km. That’s roughly 5 days’ travel at my average speed, which means I’ll arrive several days sooner.

96.6%, projected arrival at Curiosity June 13.


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk Day 498, 2893.8 km

#MarsWalk Day 498, 2893.8 km

This Google Earth Blog post showed up in my RSS reader today, as a result of which I’m making a slight course correction, because I can’t resist visiting the Google data center on Mars, announced a few hours before April 1 of this year. It’ll add negligibly to the distance remaining. But I did add a few km to the total distance I’ve been assuming (it’s now 3065 km according to Google Maps), because I’ve extended the path to go to the Curiosity rover after visiting the MSL at Bradbury Landing. I’m not certain how up to date that Curiosity position is, I’ll have to check on that, but given how slow the rover moves, I’m sure it isn’t far off.

94.4%, projected arrival at Curiosity June 18.


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

Five years later

Five years later

Back in April 2012 Jean MacLeod’s Greater Syracuse School of Music organized a ukulele sing-in:

So they’ll be running a series of “Ukulele and Ice Cream Therapy” sessions on Wednesday nights this summer, meeting at various ice cream stands and playing together. Which strikes me as a great concept. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

Five years later, Jean’s retired and the GSSoM is no more, but Salt City Ukulele is here in its place — organized by Lisa Gaffaney, Kristine Marane, and me. Tonight was the last of six weekly beginners’ ukulele lessons. And Jean was there visiting and guest-teaching. Next week begins rehearsals in earnest for the fifth Ukulele and Ice Cream Therapy tour (we skipped 2014).

Where this goes is forward, looks like.

 

#MarsWalk Day 484, 2811.8 km

#MarsWalk Day 484, 2811.8 km

Besides crossing the Equator last week, I crossed the boundaries of a HiRISE photo. As of Friday I was near the southwest corner of that image. Earth weather was fairly miserable last week and I didn’t cover a lot of distance.

92.1%, projected arrival at MSL (Bradbury Landing) June 17.


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk Day 470, 2724.0 km

#MarsWalk Day 470, 2724.0 km

I finally did it. Laundered my pedometer.It still turns on, except for a few dead LCD segments, but what it doesn’t seem to do any more is count steps, which is a drawback for a pedometer. Remind me not to toss it out without extracting the nearly-new battery.

I have a backup pedometer, the one that I lost in my back yard and then found again a week or so later. It has dead LCD segments too, but does count steps. I’m not sure it counts them accurately. It read quite a lot more steps today than Google Fit on my phone did. For now I’ll assume the lower number is correct.

No bike ride this rainy week.

I’m right in the middle of the lumpy stuff on Mars, which I am assuming is Gale Crater ejecta. Sixty km to my west:

 


MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger

On Feb. 15, 2017, people paying attention to the US human space flight program were startled to learn NASA was considering putting a crew aboard the first flight of the SLS rocket system. Plans had been to send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a circumlunar flight in late 2018, but now doing it with a crew in 2019 or 2020 is being studied.

In fact this parallels a development from the early Apollo program. In 1968 the plan had been to shake down the Apollo Command and Service modules in Earth orbit with Apollo 7, add the Lunar Module but stay in Earth orbit for Apollos 8 and 9, and after that head toward the Moon. The LEM was facing delays, though, and in August George Low proposed a reshuffling of the schedule, sending Apollo 8 without a LEM on a circumlunar flight. Big difference: this wasn’t a mission three years in the future. It was sixteen weeks away. It was the 1960s, the Cold War was on, and NASA could and did improvise and take risks like that.

So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders went to the moon and back.

Kluger’s book about the mission is a prequel of sorts to the book he and Lovell wrote, Lost Moon, about Lovell’s next, less successful flight: Apollo 13. Apollo 8 makes for a more problematic subject, because it went so damn well; I can’t see this book becoming a successful movie the way Lost Moon did. Never mind that people gave this crew no better than a 2 in 3 chance of coming back alive. You don’t build a blockbuster around waiting to see if the Service Module rocket fired or not.

Apollo 8 had one of the space program’s most poetic moments, on Christmas Eve, 1968, when the astronauts sent home video of the Earth above the Moon and read the opening verses of Genesis. You won’t find much else poetic in this book. Kluger writes competently but rather woodenly, giving a matter of fact recitation of the events. The first hundred or so pages look like a book titled Frank Borman rather than Apollo 8, describing his career from West Point to the Air Force to NASA. Then there’s the Apollo 1 fire and its aftermath, the problems with the Apollo spacecraft and the Saturn V rocket, the decision to go to the moon, the training and Apollo 7. Not until page 158 does Apollo 8 launch, and its mission occupies the rest of the book.

Space enthusiasts will want to read this book, not necessarily for any revelations but for a beginning to end compilation of the story. I’m not sure who else will. Apollo 8 was the first time humans left this planet to visit another world, a remarkable milestone in human history. By rights it should inspire stirring and compelling epics. Apollo 8 isn’t one.