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NASA WEB SITES Robert Sheridan FawCawnahs bobsheridan@earthlink.net The airshow at Moffett brought me to the NASA program in the big hangar, where I picked up a bushelful of literature on various programs they're doing, many out of this world.

Maybe you've got some kids interested in flying and space, and all the stuff they do to explore and make things work. I met a young lady involved with programs for moving airplanes around safely on the ground, in the air near airports, and all over da place. (Did you know that air traffic eastbound and westbound is assigned to different altitudes in thousand foot increments, odd numbers for one direction, even for another? Don't ask me about Nort' and Sout,' as I didn't get to know her dat well), lovely as she wuz. Lotsa young women training as engineers these days, a big improvement, I have no doubt.

Here's some websites that'll get you/them into where it's at:

NASA Spacelink: http://spacelink.nasa.gov


NASA Beginner's Guide to Propulsion

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/bga.html


NASA Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics:

http://nctn.hq.nasa.gov

Educational Resources: http://education.nasa.gov

NASA history: http://history.nasa.gov



The Kepler Project, a search for terrestrial planets:

http://www.kepler.arc.nasa.gov


About the Kepler Project:

The boys and I have been having a running debate. They're interested in Mars. I'm interested in keeping your feet on da ground. Why spend all that money on Mars, etc., when we oughtta be spending it here, on Eart.'

I'm definitely the Devil's Advocate on this issue.

So I meet Charlie Sobeck, the spokesman for the Kepler Mission. He explains what it is. NASA has $300 million for one of three projects, one of 'em the Kepler Project.

The idea is to find a planet like Earth rolling around some other star like our Sun.

How? Put an object in space with sensors to let it look.

Where'll it be? A million miles behind Earth, trailing in our orbit.

Looking AT what? A hundred thousand stars in a patch of sky.

Looking FOR what? A dark spot that passes in front of the star three (3) times.

Why three times?

Because that lets out other objects. If something passes three times, in even succession, 3X between the star, any star, and the scope, it's likely a planet. It has to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor an even amount each time as well. Otherwise it's something else, or two planets, etc.

Why do this?

Because it's HARD, not to get spinoffs, such as velcro.

NASA, I'm told, doesn't INITIATE discussions on WHY we explore deep space, but WILL answer such questions.

VERY interesting to talk to a guy from NASA, and Charlie Sobeck was da best. No BS from CS.

-rs


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