Merry Christmas to all of you on the Good Earth

Today, 40 years ago in 1968, Apollo 8 orbited the Moon, taking the famous Earthrise photograph. This mission was incredibly important for manned space exploration as it's the first mission to completely escape earth's gravity and orbit another celestial body. The mission's crew was Commander Frank Borman, and pilots James Lovell (who was later the commander of Apollo 13) and William Anders. They were also the first humans to see the far side of the moon.

Interestingly, I came across this article today on MSNBC News:

NASA awards $3.5 billion for space deliveries

NASA has awarded a pair of contracts worth $3.5 billion through 2016 to two private aerospace firms seeking to haul vital supplies to and from the international space station, the space agency announced late Tuesday.

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based firm Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences Corp., of Dulles, Va., beat a third competitor for NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contracts with their proposals to privately develop and launch spacecraft capable of delivering cargo to the space station and returning supplies back to Earth.

Full Article

This is really interesting, and I suspect that we'll see more of it in the near future as NASA plans on grounding the Shuttle Fleet in 2010. Commercial space programs are coming!

I see this as important because I believe that the future of space exploration will be firmly rooted in commercial enterprise, not as much with public institutions, such as through NASA, although they're certainly to play a role in the coming decades. Commercial interests will be able to take the necessary risks that NASA's unable to do, and because of that, we will be able to leap into space again.

It's interesting that our first huge trip into space with Apollo 8 on Christmas eve, given its significance with many of the world's religions, and somewhat ironic. I'm not a religious person by any means, but the implications of leaving a world that many consider to have been created by divine hands is huge, and opens up huge questions, theories and thoughts when it comes to our place in the universe. The crew read from the first ten verses of Genesis during their broadcast, an incredibly touching and humbling thing to read, and entirely appropriate for the occasion, in my opinion.

When it all comes down to it, we're very small, and alone in the universe. Merry Christmas to all of you on the good earth.

Obligatory Post-Christmas Post

So, christmas is over, the shoppers are returning things and everything is back to normal right? Wrong. The mall is still playing christmas music. Did I miss something and is christmas still a couple days away, or is our mall manager just extremely forgetful? Whatever it is, it's irritating and annoying.

Christmas was fun - spent a couple days at home with the family, which was nice. We haven't all been together for a while now, given that I've moved out and my brother is away at college. It was good to get together with people.

Things I aquired:

  • A Crack in the Edge of the World, Simon Winchester. I was thrilled to get this - I loved Winchester's Map that Changed the World, about the first geologic map, which was a fantastic read into the history of geology. This one looks to be just as good.
  • Love, by the Beatles. This album is amazing. 'nuf said.
  • Very spiffy framed art piece with books and a cool quote. That went up on my wall the minute I got back.
  • iPod Charger. Which is fantastic, because my other one was stolen walked off during the summer.
  • Random articles of clothing, which were needed
  • Money, a couple of gift cards - Have several plans to use those tomorrow. Planning on getting Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross and Broken Angels by Richard Morgan, and adding them to my reading list.
  • Things for my car, which will be handy

All in all, it was a pretty lowkey day, which was nice. Got through to Altered Carbon, caught up on some sleep, all of which was nice. And now I'm working every day of the week through to next Thursday. Ugh.

Merry Christmas!

Hope that everyone's having a good Christmas eve or any other holiday that you happen to celebrate at this time. I'm off for the next couple of days from work, which is nice, because I'm working straight through for the rest of the next week and a half. I'm off to my grandmother's and parent's house for the evening and next couple days, respectively.

Merry Christmas!

Liptak Christmas Trees

This morning, I got up early again and did my last English exam, which came out pretty well, and turned in on time. One more exam to go - Can't wait for that to be completely over with. I've had enough Economics to last me a while.
After that, I went home, and arrived just in time to catch my dad and sister before they went out to select a Christmas tree for the holiday. We don't buy our trees - we live on 27 acres of mostly forested land, so there's a lot to choose from, and we usually get some good ones. The only problem - the good trees are usually around 40-50 feet tall. Too tall for our house, so we usually take the top six feet out of the whole tree. Sounds wasteful, but it opens the forest up a little, and there's more trees that'll fall down on their own anyway. So our usual tradition is going out to find a tree, cutting it down and dragging it out.
We had fun today - took us about half an hour of walking around in the woods before we found what looked like a good one, a 40 fir tree with a good top. We went back, got a chainsaw and cut it down, only to have it land in a second tree, in a fork, where it got stuck. We tried pulling it out from the base, after cutting some of it away, but trees are heavy. And this one was spectacularly stuck in a maple tree. So we cut the maple tree and managed to get it down without damaging the top. It's a bit of a goofy looking christmas tree. It's extremely tall and thin, but it's pretty dense. For the first time in like ten years, we've stuck the tree in the main living room, with a very high ceiling, so the tree is about 14 feet tall, but it looks good with decorations on it.

In other news, ABC pulled their show Day Break from the schedule. I've been reporting on it in my TV Recaps, which I skipped last week because of time, and I'm incredibly annoyed by this. 1 - It was one of the best plotted and acted shows on TV, even though it didn't get a whole lot of attention from the media. 2 - Black main character, which doesn't happen too often. 3 -Serial storyline, tight plot, with only a 13 episode order. It was to be a closed off series with a possibility of a sequel, but the main story would be just that 13 episodes. That should be done more often. The good news is that is seems all the episodes have been filmed already, so they'll be airing all of them on At least we get the complete run, unlike with Smith. Arg

Merry Frelling Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, or any other holiday that you happen to celebrate this time of year- hope that you had a good one. While I'm not religous, I've always enjoyed the giving and recieving of gifts, especially the escuse to do so. I got my family members things that they all liked - and it was really easy this year too.
Got some cool things - A suitcase for when I go overseas. I swear, you can fit a couple of lost civilizations in it. No way that I'm going to fill it. Got a book on London from my sister, a Borders card from my brother and a new jacket, among other things.
Spent most of yesterday with relatives. We traditionally meet with my grandmother on Christmas eve, sometimes at our house, sometimes at hers, this times at hers. We then visited my other grandmother aunt, uncle and little cousin (She's getting huge- walking AND talking. It's amazing). From there, we went and visited my maternal grandfather in the assisted living center where he's currently staying, it was good to see him again. I think that he's starting to get a little better from the problems that have been happening since this summer.