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Month July 2009

Apollo Mars

This footage of the Apollo 11 launch in combination with Holst’s Mars is glorious. Those wonderful F-1 engines have never looked better. (Last post on this topic for awhile, I promise.)

Bookmarks for July 17th

  • "The Phoenix" by Julia Ecklar – I love these lyrics. "In a tower of flame in Capsule Twelve, / I was there. / I know not where they laid my bones, / it could be anywhere, / but when fire and smoke had faded, / the darkness left my sight, / I found my soul in a spaceship's soul / riding home on a trail of light… For my wings are made of tungsten, / and my flesh is glass and steel, / I am the joy of Terra for the power that I wield. / Once upon a lifetime, I died a pioneer, / Now I sing within a spaceship's heart, / Does anybody hear?"
  • Moon Orbiter to Photograph Apollo 11 Landing Site – "One large item that should be easy to spot is Apollo 11's Eagle descent stage, left behind after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin rocketed away from Tranquility Base. For the Apollo 11 site, 'you will definitely see this square thing sitting on surface,' said LROC's Principal Investigator, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University in Tempe. At low sun it's likely that the lander legs will cast shadows. 'It will be unambiguous that the descent stage is sitting there,' Robinson said."
  • NASA – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Sees Apollo Landing Sites – Stunning. Check out how far the Apollo 14 crew hauled it in their effort to reach the rim of the Cone Crater. They came within 65 feet of their goal before having to return to the Lunar Module due to lack of resources.
  • Saturn V – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – The only complete, space-rated Saturn V in existence is now located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. That rocket — as well as components of the Saturn V on display at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida — were originally intended to comprise the launch stacks of the canceled Apollo missions 18 and 19.
  • Photographs of the Saturn V 500F “Facilities Integration Vehicle” – The post of July 16, 2009 titled “Apollo Saturn” refers to this mockup of the full Saturn V launch stack which was used for facilities testing during the Apollo program. The 500F mockup currently stands on the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • NASA Releases Preview Partially Restored Apollo 11 Video

Apollo Saturn

The interior of a Saturn F-1 engine

Detail of stage wiring -- possibly from test stage S-II-F/D

Detail of what may be test stage S-II-F/D

Below the launch stack, there was no sign, no marker. Our faces turned up into the glare of the sun, eyes straining to discern every rough but elegant line, every component describing the soul of a machine built to create an arc to the moon.

I knew the name Saturn before I could read.

( Is it not natural to wonder if she only sleeps? In sleep, does she dream of the sky? )

The Palace Of Badminton

The Palace Of Badminton

When one is larking around with ideas, the ideas sometimes take their own route to completion.

In my senior year of high school, I played badminton practically every morning before classes. My playing partner was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. I couldn’t hope to equal him at math or science or language (though we were close at the latter). At badminton, however, we were perfectly matched.

Naturally, this meant we had to destroy each other.

We explored various methods — beginning with increasing the speed of return, the height of the net, the number of birdies in play — and escalating into a kind of Calvinball of baroque and convoluted rules which borrowed liberally from soccer and ping pong.

Such a development between skilled, competitive players is inevitable and, once experienced, ruinously addictive. To every pursuit which follows in life, one brings an insatiable desire for the worthy opponent — the singular being who will force you to get better.

Find that person and go start a happy feud.

The Old Windmill

The Old Windmill

Windmills make me happy.

Green Fangoid

A portrait of the artist when failed by technology

My apologies for the lack of updates lately. Many small emergencies — especially small emergencies involving that disaster of a language named Perl — have a way of depleting one’s motivation. I was able to knock out this lovely self-portrait easily enough, though. Even the horrid draftsmanship and terrible composition are evocative of my current mood.

Now, let us all vigorously sweep the surface of our desks.

Werner Herzog – Wings Of Hope

I discovered this video thanks to a recent MetaFilter thread regarding people who have fallen from planes and miraculously survived. One such survivor was Juliane Koepcke. In 1971, Koepcke fell two miles from the Lockheed Electra carrying her and her mother to Pucallpa, Peru.

This video is a beautiful confluence of writing, visuals, and music.

Lost Dzimba Rediscovered?

Katensam stunned the world today with remarkable evidence that the fabled metropolis known to archeologists as “Lost Dzimba” may yet exist.

Catagraph.us highlighted an illustration of the ruins of “Lost Dzimba” in early May.

This is entirely unparalleled.

Readers are urged to study the astounding similarities and sublime differences between these new photographs and the original illustration. Our congratulations to the discoverers for again bringing this treasure to the attention of the world.

A Deeper Well

The elevator came to a rattling, screeching, grinding halt at the bottom of its shaft. Rust spalled off the bottom of the car into the machine spaces below. A drizzle of neglect. Further evidence of dubious reliability.

Weeks before, she and Gred had pulled the maintenance logs for old Ward III — the station’s original communications ward. The last entry — from 100 years past — consisted of a sullen scribble: “the lift works.” That made sense. Even without the depopulation phase of The Asura to consider, active maintenance of interstellar communications was hardly a priority for anyone. The high-bands had been down for centuries. No one was talking out there. Would there even be anyone left who knew how?

The safety gate opened grudgingly before her, singing a high wail.

At the end of the haphazardly tiled passages nearby, she could see the distinctive warm glow of a hot lamp.

The elevator receiving lobby was clearly in an advanced stage of decay. The air smelled of dust and mildew. The walls were lined with a motley collection of discarded furniture — even a gurney. It was cold, but the ward still had power. At the end of the haphazardly tiled passages nearby, she could see the distinctive warm glow of a hot lamp. Overhead, broken ullage pipes seeped a foul-smelling liquid. The residue of more difficult times.

The former heart of station activity was in a truly sad state: wiring conduits spilling their contents in unmanaged tangles.

The communications room was easy to find. In the old days, everything had been labeled with a neat physical sign. “COM1”, in this case. The former heart of station activity was in a truly sad state: wiring conduits spilling their contents in unmanaged tangles, rust consuming the equipment racks, scorch marks on the walls where transformers silently flamed out decades before.

Nonetheless, she could discern the dim glow of standby lights on several of the old consoles.

Nonetheless, she could discern the dim glow of standby lights on several of the old consoles.

One of these was flickering. On, off. On, off. Beneath, a faded label read “Bell Repeater One”. Idly, she flipped the associated toggle. Then, with the faint hiss and crawl of static, a voice attenuated by uncertainty, great distance, and failing electronics spoke out.

“…Teller Indigo Rival. Can anyone hear me? If you can receive this, please respond.”