Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Space Geek Sick Day

You're achy. You want to sleep in (and it's not Saturday morning). You feel hot but it's not August.

The evidence suggests it's time to take a sick day.

My wife is out of town visiting friends, so I decided to use a sick day and stay home to recover.

How should a self-proclaimed space geek entertain himself between naps?

The NASA TV channel is an easy one. If your cable or satellite company doesn't carry it, you can always watch on the Internet.

Some people say NASA TV is boring. I think of it as white noise. It's in the background, subliminally entering my subconscious.

NASA TV was in the background the morning water began leaking into the helmet of Luca Parmitano. I was just out of the shower, in the bathroom, and NASA TV was playing in the living room. I wasn't paying attention, but somehow the word “water” filtered into my consciousness and I knew that wasn't right.

If NASA TV isn't your thing, you can find a universe of space geek entertainment on YouTube. Last year NASA moved its video library from to YouTube. NASA and its centers have many different channels, but click here for the main one.

You'll also find lots of historical documentaries and clips once lost to the vaults, uploaded by space geeks. I've been blogging about them in my Retro Saturday series.

It's Cosmos week, with the premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Fox TV, so you could haul out your DVD collection of the original series. You can also find Cosmos: A Personal Voyage on YouTube.

Watch the Carl Sagan tribute “Wanderers” by Callum C.J. Sutherland.

But I'd suggest you rummage through the Carl Sagan Tribute Series by Callum C.J. Sutherland. He's the creator of the Milky Way Musings web site. His montages are a mix of audio clips from various Sagan sources, mixed with video and music from all sorts of composers. They are invariably inspirational, and I feel a little more spiritual about humanity's relationship with its universe after watching these.

I have lots of space-related videos on my DVD shelf, fiction and documentaries.

A recent addition is the Blu-Ray version of Gravity. If you're a regular reader, you know my criticisms of Gravity.

But I've always been a student of film making, so I'm watching the disc for the special features.

The mission patch for the fictional STS-157 flight. Image source:

One vignette had a computer-generated cover for the fictional STS-157 mission. I freeze-framed on the image and it was dated 23 April, 2014.

So if this was real-world, it would be about time to roll Explorer out to the pad.

But as one wag observed on Twitter, first they need to boost the International Space Station to the same orbit and position as the Hubble Space Telescope. Good luck with that.

If you'd prefer to read, lots of historic NASA documents have been converted to PDFs and posted online.

Right now I'm reading On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini, published in 1977 by the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office. It runs 648 pages, and you can't beat the price.

You can find more NASA eBooks at this link.

And if all this fails you ... Watch a rerun of The Big Bang Theory on the show's web site.

1 comment:

  1. The force is truly with you. Now find the right stuff for your cold and boldly go back to bed. Bazinga!