Now, let's take a trip down memory lane [insert funny time warp sound effect here]:
It was summer of 2007. Facebook was taking over the world. The Simpsons was finally available in movie form. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft had just made its second fly-by of Venus en route to Mercury, and the Phoenix spacecraft launched toward the Martian north pole. The Peru earthquake prompted a tsunami warning while I was away on vacation in Scotland. In the midst of this backdrop, I compared several academic options with space-related distance degree programs, took the GRE exam, and enrolled in the UND Space Studies program starting in the fall 2007 semester. The "Astronaut for Hire" blog was born as a way for me to talk about my impressions as I re-connected with my space exploration passion.
Just weeks after school had begun, NASA announced it was looking for astronauts, and my blog quickly found its voice. I did my best to serve the astronaut hopeful community as a source of information in an environment in which information from NASA was sorely lacking. That is still the main purpose of this blog today. By November, Japan's KAGUYA spacecraft was returning stunning HD video from the Moon (also in 2008 and 2009), and my son was born. In the span of three months, I had gone from being just a mild-mannered geophysicist protecting 2/3 of the world from tsunamis to a blogger + part-time student + astronaut applicant + father. I had to give up running marathons in lieu of shorter distances because there was no time to train. The tone for the next three years was set, and the theme was multi-tasking. A full-night's sleep became a fuzzy distant memory.