From dust to dust — asteroid, that is

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What came before the planets? What are the origins of life? And how much of a threat do asteroids pose to life on Earth today?

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that asteroids have (or used to have) hydrocarbons. If they have amino acids and nucleic acids…

Hmm. Sounds like a science fiction story based on science…

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/asteroid-sample-missions-hayabusa2-ryugu-osiris-rex-bennu?tgt=nr

The Ultima Thule Awakens! (Well, OK, New Horizons Awakens, Fine…)

It’s been a long 13 years.

Remember New Horizons? The Little Probe That Could?

No?

You know, the photos of Pluto, Formerly Known As the Ninth Planet?

Doesn’t ring a bell?

Hmpf. Go read about about it.

Anyway, by sheer chance, New Horizons happens to be close enough to grab some pictures of an object in the Kuiper Belt (which looks like KEW-per or KWEE-per but is actually pronounced KAI-per and is completely unrelated to former SF Giants player and current announcer Duane).

Ever wanted to see a peanut-shaped tiny rock (or rocks)

Only half a day left!

Read all about it, uh, pretty much anywhere online, really:

The Verge

Space.com

BBC

Globe and Mail

WIRED

Joseph Octave Lewis: Franco-American Trojan

JLewis-1850s(?)A few weeks before my mother passed away, I finally had the chance to do what I had wanted to do for years: Visit the sites where my French-Canadian ancestor had been.

The problem was, I could only figure out one specific location, and that was only due to guessing based on an old photograph: a “cabinet card.”

My mother had insisted for decades that she had French-Canadian ancestry. Her grandmother Carrie Lewis Connally was French, she claimed. But I always wondered.

Lewis doesn’t sound terribly French.

Continue reading

The predictive space powers of Linda A Langworthy

Apollo-Soyuz_Test_Project_patch.svgI’ve made good progress on my mother’s high school manuscript — up to Chapter 9 (out of 15). Taking notes while I type, particularly about cultural references and language usage, I came across one interesting prediction:

“The space program of the two major nations [US and Russia] were joined after the moon project because it was cheaper to outfit; also, with the world’s greatest minds working together, better vehicles could be built.”

This was written a full 9 years before the joint Apollo-Soyuz (or Soyuz-Apollo) Test Project in 1975 that basically ended the “space race” started by the launch of Sputnik.

Written by a 17-year-old in 1968. The reality was more complicated, but still, heck of a prediction. Go, Mom!

Star trekking throughout the universe…

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The holidays are coming up, which always reminds me of old Trek.

No, seriously. When I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents’ house for the holidays, my mom’s parents. And they had a color Zenith (we had a tiny black and white TV at the time).

The first time I saw Star Trek was in the “TV room” of my grandparents’ house in Troy. In brilliant red-blue-green color. It blew my seven year old mind. Continue reading

What’s in a name? That which we call…

rosebyanothernameOne thing I have struggled with while uncovering my family’s complicated past is the lack of consistency in naming conventions before the digital age.

In the Information Age, if you type in your name or ID with a single letter missing or out of place, your application gets rejected by whatever online program it is you’re trying to get access to. We all have numbers assigned to us—social security numbers, student numbers, worker numbers, case numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.

The past?

Thhppt. What’s a number? What’s a name? That which we would call a rose… Continue reading