What does it mean to go to a Rocket Launch?

NASA Social Media Event – Launch of CRS-NG-12 to the International Space Station on Nov 2, 2019 from NASA Wallops Flight Facility, VA, USA

“I went to M.A.R.S. last year”

“No you didn’t…”

“Yes, I did. I was invited to the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (M.A.R.S) to attend a NASA Social Media event!”

Wallops Island Pad0A

Wallops Island Pad0A – Photo Credit: Pierce Johnson

I went to MARS last year. The inspiration and desire to experience, even second hand, what is arguably one of the most important endeavors that human-kind has ever embarked on is something, I think most humans can relate to. It was a person goal of mine and was an experience that truly was out of the world.

Why space? Why spend the time and resources (carbon and dollars) to go? I constantly asked myself this question in the lead up to my trip as did friends and family, with great skepticism in some cases. To boldly go, where no one has gone before, is one of the most fantastic things humans can do, I think. There’s still so much about our world and universe that we don’t know. From the deep ocean, to the moon, to mars, to moons of Saturn and Titan and further beyond our local system to exoplanets beyond… it’s worth going, in my humble opinion, to visit, explore, and venture further. It’s curiosity that drives many of us, including myself. So, although I didn’t actually go into space, I went to M.A.R.S. last month and it almost felt like I did! This gave me a window and connection to folks who are working in space aboard the ISS, and truly was inspirational.

For me, just getting down to Chincoteague, Virginia was going to be my own challenge. The anticipation, the build-up, “pre-launch sequence” if you will, is undeniable and just like what one would expect from a mundane level in arranging travel to the extreme excitement of actually hearing the countdown announcement and rocket liftoff. As I drove the highways through Maryland and Virginia, passing through local areas, I could only think of what was to come for me later in the weekend. The thought of an actual rocket launch from a small island on  the Virginia coast and how what we would see, would soon (hopefully) be launched beyond the earthly bounds that hold most (but not all) humans… to have a week of anticipation, looking towards a single weekend where cargo would be sent to space, is a really interesting and incredible feeling.

Antares Rocket

Antares Rocket at Wallops Island Integration Facility (Staff giving us a tour)

The feel of a NASA base is something quite unique – akin to what many American’s experience on a US military base, there’s the usual “G-agents” – for Government Protective Services and security checks, who do this important job of installation security and control. Buildings have an austere quality to them, not unlike other university research stations I’ve visited at Woods Hole, MA, Narragansett, RI, Great Bay, NH, or Palisades, NY. Building and structure had names like Pad 0A or Building X1 make for exciting yet austere surroundings, with a federal govt. feel to them. Meeting the people was really the best part. Dedicated NASA and base personnel and the many different kinds of folks who were attending the event itself made for some truly great conversations and a strange but wonderful Sci-Stem camaraderie. Social Media was only the vessel by which our NASA enthusiast group would in a small way commune with space and history. The weekend was fantastic and an event I’ll never forget.

If you ever get a chance, it’s worth watching a Rocket Launch! I was awe struck by the amazing technology, human ingenuity and tenacity that allowed us to break the bonds of gravity and to boldly go beyond our planet to research and explore the unknown.

CRS-NG-12 Nov 2, 2019

Dedicated to my grandfather Sergeant EAD – Flight Instructor for Strategic Air Command


NASA CRS-NG-12 at Pad-0A Wallops Flight Facility, VA

A Poem from Pad 0A

To boldly go, where no one has gone before, is one of the most fantastic things humans can do. There’s still so much about our world and universe that we don’t know. From the deep ocean, to our Moon, to Mars… to Titan and Europa, moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and even further beyond our local system to exoplanets beyond… I truly believe it is worth going! To visit, to explore, and venture further. It’s curiosity that drives many of us, including myself. Although I didn’t go into space, I went to M.A.R.S. last month. This opportunity gave me a window and connection to folks who are helping support humans to, in, and research from space. It truly was inspirational, not only for me professionally as a scientific researcher, but also on a fundamental level it was personally inspiring to be a part of this bigger SPACE.

CRS-NG-12 Nov 2, 2019Launch photo from the successful NASA mission CRS-NG-12 taken via a NASA Social Media event at Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, for an International Space Station Resupply and Science mission: CRS-NG-12 on Nov 2, 2019 at 9:59:47 AM EST. #NASA #NASAsocial @NASA @NASAwallops @NASASocial

I was startled to see this blog post in the Smithsonian!


What are these people (Engineers?) thinking!?

Isn’t this the wrong approach — Creating robots to do the work that animals used to do?

Wow, Smithsonian, you’ve taken a turn for the worse…

Something Ventured — A great documentary/movie about startups/ventures which can outgrow their founding employees (for better or worse in the case of Sandra Lerner/Cisco, & others which shall not be named) …

Something Ventured is a 2011 documentary film investigating the emergence of American venture capitalism in the mid-20th Century. Something Ventured follows the stories of the venture capitalists who worked with entrepreneurs to start and build companies like AppleIntelGenentechCiscoAtariTandem, and others. Something Ventured is a full-length independent film which includes interviews with prominent American venture capitalists and entrepreneurs of the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s as well as archival photography and footage. It is available on iTunes, Netflix, and from Zeitgeist Films.


“Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher’s stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base metals into the noble metals gold or silver, as well as an elixir of life conferring youth and longevity.”-Wikipedia

…….you can’t turn iron into gold (‘yet’) without wasting a lot of energy…….

“…Throughout the centuries, alchemists tried in vain to transform common metals like iron and lead into precious ones like gold or platinum…”-NYTimes

I’m delighted to be moving to (A service of TuCows).  I’m so happy to get rid of GoDaddy, their awful customer service, and terrible corporate responsibility / reputation.

From start to finish it was barely over an hour and all i needed was Gmail!!!

I would highly recommend using for domain name or email services, it’s a great company with even better people and superb customer support.  It’s cheaper than GoDaddy to boot, what more could you ask for?

promo code: HONEST

Thanks to Jesse for recommending hover and Mike for helping me with the transfer.

I stumbled across a very interesting website, which seems to provide open access / freely available and user friendly oceanographic software, in the form of a web application, which allows one to easily access complex oceanographic data-sets from NOAA or elsewhere.  Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

From their boiler plate:

What is Marinexplore

In an era of big data, when 90% of the oceans are still unexplored and mobile oceanic sensors are disrupting the industry, the tools and working processes for ocean exploration have changed little over the last 15 years.

Today, most public ocean data is disconnected, often archived and never used again. Professionals across offshore, marine technology & scientific community who rely on that data, are isolated from each other, while more than 80% of the exploration time today is spent on data processing.

We’re seeking to change that.

When you really think about it, any type of ethanol or Biofuel which you might consume for energy still requires burning carbon and releasing carbon dioxide – greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.  It’s a little more sustainable because Biofuel can be produced by growing corn, plants, or algae, whereas Fossil Fuels can’t be renewed quickly.  Biofuels have advantages as a fuel type and also disadvantages to other more sustainable forms of energy production, i.e. Solar.

“First tops, then flops. That is one way of summing up the history of biofuels so far. A new study led by Empa gives an up-to-date picture of the ecobalance of various biofuels and their production processes. Only a few are overall more environmentally friendly than petrol.”

Source: EMPA Press Release:—/l=2*/125606

Primary Source:*/125527