Last week I attended the 3rd annual Lunar Science Forum (LSF) held at the NASA Ames Conference Center.  The 3-day meeting sponsored by the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) dealt with topics "of the Moon, on the Moon, and from the Moon."  The LSF was one of several lunar- and space-focused meetings during the week that also included the LunarGradCon, Next Generation Lunar Scientists and Engineers Workshop (NGLSE), Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG), and NewSpace2010.  I want to thank the NLSI for providing the travel grant that made it possible for me to attend the meeting.

After introductory speeches from Ames Director Pete Worden (whom I know from ISU), Jen Heldmann (whom I know from the PSSS), and others, science journalist Andrew Chaikin delivered a very engaging an opening talk titled "Luna 2.0." One of his slides showed the LROC mission patch, which says in Latin "Science enables Exploration. Exploration enables Science." That sentiment really set the stage for the conference by giving a broad overview of how the new suite of missions studying the moon are producing some great science and paving the way for future human and robotic exploration.

In collaboration with Carol Stoker, I presented a poster titled "Iterative Science Strategy on Analog Geophysical EVAs." The abstract is available online here, and you can view the entire poster below. The LSF poster expands upon some of the work I previously presented at LPSC a few months ago. The main purpose of this new poster was to showcase the fluid nature of conducting field science and how crews on future planetary missions will need to bootstrap their way along as they learn new things on each EVA. Such a strategy lends itself well to permanent bases where you have the luxury of being able to continually return to sites of interest to conduct followup field measurements. Sortie style mission scenarios may not allow for this kind of iterative strategy and therefore may not yield as much science return.

Lunar Science Poster 2010

Teachers, if you've ever wanted to be an astronaut, now is your chance to apply. The Teachers in Space (TIS) project is seeking applicants for its second class of teacher astronauts. The goal of the TIS program is to create a pool of qualified teacher astronauts to fly on commercial spacecraft and then bring the experience back to students. There will be an information session on July 12 in Washington, DC. More details are in the latest TIS press release.

Last weekend I participated in the Fire Cracker Sprint Triathlon at Kaleoloa near my home on O'ahu.  It was my first triathlon in 9 years, so I was a little apprehensive about it. With an official time of 1:22:49, I think did pretty well considering I hardly trained prior to the event and got hit by a car during the bike portion.  It was a lot of fun, and I may start doing the multi-sport race more often from now on.

The race consisted of a 500 m swim, a 20 km bike, and a 5 km run.  I'm really cold-natured when it comes to swimming, so I was a little worried about the 6:00am start time.  To my relief, the water temperature felt very comfortable for the 15 minutes I was in it.  Swimming has never been my favorite activity, despite being on my hometown's swim team for two years when I was a kid.  The freestyle stroke zaps my energy very quickly, so I always end up reverting to breast stroke when I swim, and this triathlon was no exception.  With an official swim time of 15:11, I came in 117th place out of 154 finishers.  That's not great, but at least I was faster than a quarter of the other swimmers.

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