October 17th, 2007

tornado

not rain so much as lakes falling from the sky

Over the course of about 10 minutes, my front yard has gone from slightly damp (it's been dribbling all day so far) to a pond that ranges in depth from a fraction of an inch to at least four inches deep along the sidewalks. One sunken section of the sidewalk is probably six inches deep in muddy water.

Oh joy. I'm supposed to be holding office hours in about 15 minutes. I think I shall be late.

The good news: The leaf-screens I installed on the gutters at the front of the house are doing their job. No waterfalls just past the front door due to backed-up guttering, and no water working its way over the gutters into my ceiling (yes, that was fun a week or so ago).

Chris
Mars

Astro-images of the day: Mars Rovers' missions extended

On October 15, NASA announced that they would once again extend the mission of the "Long-Lived Mars Rovers." Spiritrover and Opportunitygirl have gone above and beyond the call of duty; their original missions were planned to last 90 days... that was back in 2004. Now NASA plans to keep the little rovers busy through at least 2009.

Here's Opportunitygirl now, inside Victoria Crater on Mars (yes, Mars! Mars, people! How cool is that?):

Click the image to see the story.

And here's a map of Spiritrover's travels across the surface of Mars:

Click the image to see the story. Click here to see a giant version of the journey panorama.

I love our little rovers. It was so cool to listen to Donna Shirley present about the Rover program at the special 2004 Campbell Conference - she used to manage the NASA Mars Exploration Program. Incidentally, the Center is now working on (finally!) getting our original Conference recordings from the last several years back from the KU Theater & Film people, and we intend to release new DVDs with the proceedings of the 2004 Conference as well as new DVDs extending the interview series that James Gunn started in the early 1970s.

Best,
Chris