Wednesday, January 28, 2015

They Were Flying For Me


The end of January and beginning of February holds an unusual amount of losses for our space program:

January 27, 1967… Apollo 1 lost
January 28, 1986… Challenger STS-51L lost
February 1, 2003… Columbia STS-107 lost

I have to be careful on this day, because many news outlets re-run footage of
Challenger in particular, and I for one simply never wish to view it again. Instead, from time to time, I chose to visit the Challenger Memorial in Houston, while it was still there. I have also visited the Apollo 1 Memorial at Cape Canaveral, and the Columbia Memorial in Arlington.

While there are many civic and private memorials, or schools and streets named after astronauts in their home towns or other cities -- quite incredibly, there is no national memorial for NASA's collective tragedies. 

Sad that this amazing piece of work was presented by musician John Denver, who would himself perish in an air crash. "They Were Flying For Me" is truly a beautiful song, with moving footage of the Challenger crew.

We are certainly not alone in our losses. The official efforts of the USA and USSR have claimed 9 human lives in training accidents, 15 in flight, and 3 in space.

NASA also has very informative Day of Remembrance slide shows for the three missions in which the most lives were lost.

Astronaut Memorial - Neil Armstrong Museum

The most recently constructed memorial, which I felt very privileged to see in fall of 2014, is at the Neil A. Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Created by Tony Hight in 2009, it's one of the few that lists every major mission in which an entire crew was lost in service to their country.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Star Talk Radio Live!


Star Talk Radio is on the road again! And this week, Bill Nye The Science Guy will be hosting Neil deGrasse Tyson's usual gig in Los Angeles and San Francisco!  Lucky, lucky audiences in California.

Okay, okay, don't say it... if it's Star Talk Radio LIVE and ONSTAGE, it's... not.. exactly RADIO. But who's quibbling with the best radio show and podcast around?

Star Talk Radio Live

StarTalk, from Curved Light Productions, is the first (and still only) popular commercial radio broadcast devoted to space exploration, the search for life in the universe, astrophysics, and cosmology -- and they manage to make all these subjects accessible to listeners of all ages and backgrounds with facts, humor, celebrities, and occasional co-hosts.

If you are not a regular StarTalk listener... um, who are you and what are you doing on my blog?? No seriously, if you're new to the show, you can brush up on the format and fun by seeing their greatest hits: TOP TEN Most Listened To StarTalk Radio Shows in 2014.

There's one episode where NdT had a conversation with GOD. Make time.

Bill Nye's Website

I'm so very flattered to tell all my readers and followers that the StarTalk social media team invited me to "guest-host" their Twitter account during Bill Nye's show on Friday, January 23rd.

Engineer, comedian, Emmy-winning TV host, and owner of 150+ bow ties, Bill Nye is also the current CEO of The Planetary Society.  I happen to be a proud, card-carrying member. It will be my distinct pleasure to put all my Nye-rich knowledge into describing the show on Friday night at the historic Nourse Theatre in San Francisco.

If you're local to the Bay Area, you can purchase tickets to come live-tweet #StarTalkRadio with us, or follow along with all the great sciency comedy from home by following the social media hashtag #StarTalkLive.

The above video is from Nye's 2014 San Francisco StarTalk show, at the annual SF Sketchfest. Watch this if you want to get an idea of what's in store!

For all the news this week about #StarTalkLive, you can follow the major players on Twitter at @Pillownaut, @ScientificScott, @TheScienceGuy, @EugeneMirman, and of course the Big Guns: @StarTalkRadio.