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Swimming In The (astro) Pacific

As a newly minted, 1 year old professor, this is the deep end of the astronomy edu cation pool...

The Phantom Of The Laboratory

We are fortune here at Science20 to have come across an early work by Gaston Leroux.  This...

Engineering Roleplaying

Hey, you got simulation in my roleplay! Hey, you got roleplay in my simulation! Wait, it's two...

Stars That Ring Like Bells

Time to ring in a new year with pressure waves.  We can see, but not, hear true sonic waves...

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Alex "Sandy" AntunesRSS Feed of this column.

Read more about the strange modern world of a day laborer in astronomy, plus extra space science-y goodness.... Read More »

I've noticed that my readership numbers are lower in summer, often only half as much as usual.  Bearing in mind I only launched in Spring, there was a noticeable drop as we hit (especially) July and now August.  With my non-science web column, I've noticed the same trend.  It's the flip side to the 'September Effect', when most sites get a sudden surge in visitors as incoming collegiate freshmen suddenly have free, unstructured time and fast web access.
What would you do with 3/4 of a kilogram of gear in space? For the price of a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, you can now go to space.

InterOrbital Systems (IOS) has announced their TubeSat Personal Satellite Kit. This is 'complete', giving you the basic interface bus for your payload and including the launch costs.

If I were a salesman, I'd point out that launches alone typically cost five times that price!

The previous low-access route to space was the CubeSat, which is still an active and viable program. TubeSat just adds competition, which can only be good. IOS even mentions "the new IOS TubeSat PS Kit is the low-cost alternative to the CubeSat."
I recently got back the referee's comments on my mad scientist speech, submitted to the Journal for Villains (JV).


Ha ha!1         They2 said3 it couldn't[could not] be done!4

          2who? specify, cite previous work
          3'wrote' [list citations]
          4'accomplished'? give budget and timeframe exceeded
Time for a quick compare-and-contrast. Here is what "Physics Today" lists as their top stories and most popular articles for July 2009:

A colleague raised the issue of work-life balance.  He wrote: "I want to spend more time with my kids. My kids need to eat, so I work. Something needs to change so these things aren't mutually exclusive."

Thinking on work/life balance is also something I've been doing.  As a scientist and a writer, I've chosen two pursuits that really have no down time.  I write even if I'm not paid, and I engage in science likewise.  Employment harnesses my skills in a direction beneficial to others.  And in return, I get not only a paycheck, but a focus I usually hadn't considered-- a double win.  So I've always enjoyed working, and the prospect of working.
Apollomania is sweeping the nation! 

Well, not quite mania, perhaps just Apollostalgia.  That's defined as showing an interest in the Apollo program history, while lacking the will to actually recommit to exploring space. 

As we look at the 40th anniversary of humankind's first setting foot on a celestial body other than the Earth, I will state clearly that Apollo 12 was the peak of the Apollo program.

Now, it's true Apollo 11 is when humans first set foot on the moon.  It's Apollo 11's anniversary, it's getting the lion's share of the attention right now. 

But I maintain Apollo 12, launched a scant 4 months later, was the most important moon landing in all of history.  Let's review: