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Chris Martin's Astronaut Interview

1/30/2009 12:13:00 PM

NASA has completed the first round of interviews and is now narrowing the pool from the top 3% to 1% who will be asked back for second interviews during February and March. Although I wish I could count myself among this elite group, I can at least follow the interview experience vicariously through the accounts of the interviewees themselves. Today's post comes courtesy of astronaut interviewee Chris Martin. He shares with us a detailed description of his interview experience.

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HD Video Tour of the ISS

1/24/2009 06:55:00 PM

Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, aboard the station with Flight Engineers Sandy Magnus and Yury Lonchakov, recently filmed a high definition video tour of the International Space Station. For those who missed the original broadcast on NASA TV, the 35-minute video is now available on YouTube in four parts, which I've embedded below.

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Listen for me on The Space Show

1/23/2009 03:46:00 AM

I will be Dr. David Livingston's guest on today's The Space Show from 8:30am-10:30am Hawaii time (10:30am Pacific, 11:30am Mountain, 12:30pm Central, 1:30pm Eastern, ...). Our main topic of discussion will be my analysis of UND compared to ISU. Listeners can talk to me or the host during the program by calling toll free 1-866-687-7223, sending email to drspace@thespaceshow.com (or dmlivings@yahoo.com, thespaceshow@gmail.com), or chatting on AIM/ICQ/CompuServe Chat using the screen name "spaceshowchat". You can listen to the show live via its website or RSS feed/podcast, which is also available in iTunes.

If you can't catch the show live, you can always listen to the archived mp3 version later or click below to listen to it now. More information on my appearance is available on The Space Show website.


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NASA impresses Obama with new Moon rover

1/20/2009 02:41:00 PM

NASA's new Lunar Electric Rover had the honor of concluding today's Presidential Inaugural Parade. It was chosen from a record 1,382 parade applications to not only take part in the event but to bring up the rear as the parade's finale.

According to a NASA press release, Astronaut Mike Gernhardt will drive the rover and be accompanied by other members of the STS-126 crew. NASA goes on to say that cameras onboard the rover will record video of the parade. Later, when NASA posts that video on it's website, I'll add it here as well.

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Sian Proctor's Astronaut Interview

1/17/2009 04:04:00 AM

Sian Proctor has blogged about her NASA astronaut interview during January 14-16. The first post is a really nice press release from her college with some background information on her. The second post outlines the interview itinerary and people in the group. The third post includes some photos and videos from her behind-the-scene tours and a brief account of her interview experience itself. There are a few other photos in her flickr photostream. Thanks to the magic of Web 2.0, I've embedded a video here, but I recommend everyone click over to her site for more.

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Methane on Mars

1/15/2009 10:45:00 AM

There is a lot of buzz on the blogosphere today about a NASA press release related to detection of methane in the Martian atmosphere. This is not a new finding. Back in 2004, three teams independently announced detection of methane on Mars. Below is a review paper on the subject that I wrote for a class I took in fall 2007. To read the recent Science paper from Mumma et al. that prompted the buzz, click here. Methane Mars

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Update: NASA has selected all Interviewees

1/14/2009 10:34:00 AM

If the chatter on the AsHos board is accurate, NASA has selected all of its astronaut interviewees for the 2009 group. Unfortunately, I cannot count myself among them. Thank you everyone for following this blog and believing in me. Despite today's setback, I am optimistic that I will make the cut for a future astronaut group. After all, this was only my first try, and I am young enough that I have plenty of years left to work on building my skills, experience, and resume to better prepare me for the job. Let's see how I stack up to the stereotypical astronaut:

  • Passionate about space (check)
  • Meet basic age, height, weight, and vision requirements (check)
  • Generally high level of fitness and athletic experience (check)
  • Eagle Scout and community leadership involvement (check)
  • Good communicator and public educator (check)
  • Expeditions in extreme environments experience (check)
  • Technical operations with high stakes decision-making experience (check)
  • Earned multiple science or engineering degrees in different fields (check)
  • SCUBA diving experience (check, although not much)
  • Military experience (no)
  • Private Pilot Certificate (no, although much informal pilot experience)
  • Earned doctorate degree or equivalent (no, almost finished the Ph.D.)
I'm probably not going to join the military, although it would be fun to be in the National Guard or Civil Air Patrol. I think I stand a better chance focusing on the doctorate and pilot gaps, as well as shoring up my diving experience (As with most things in life, the main barriers are money, time, and motivation.). That's what I'll spend the next few years doing before the next application opportunity. In the mean time, I'll keep posting information about whatever grabs my attention on this blog.

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Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)

1/01/2009 12:37:00 PM

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, or as the Hawaiians say "Hau'oli Makahiki Hou" (pronounced how-OH-lee mah-kah-hee-kee ho). Makahiki means "year", but if one breaks it down the meaning becomes more evident. The word maka means "eye" and refers to the Pleiades cluster, and hiki means "movement". Thus, taken together, the translation of makahiki refers to the rising of the Pleiades in the heavens corresponding with the time of the sun's turn northward, bringing longer warmer days to help grow plants and spawn fish. A 4-month festival was celebrated during this time of year in honor of the god Lono to send rain and sunshine upon the growing crops and help the fish. During this time, a series of athletic competitions were held among the tribes, and no wars were allowed - much like the Olympics.

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