NASA

Trekkie Since 1991

For some strange reason, it occurred to me tonight that I don’t blog about being a Star Trek fan despite the fact that Star Trek was my entree into geekdom.

When I was 11, way back in 1991, I was convinced that I was going to grow up, go to college, major in astrophysics, and work for NASA.  (Incidentally, I did grow up and go to college, but an aversion to math kept me away from astrophysics. I still love physics, I just can’t do the requisite math.  Ironically, I discussed my aversion to math with Bobak Ferdowski, the mohawk guy from NASA who helped land the Mars rover.  He told me that he doesn’t use much math at all. This made me feel slightly better, somehow)

I started watching the original Star Trek series because of my love affair with space. My parents had seen the show but weren’t huge fans. Little did they know, we would soon become a Star Trek family.  We attended conventions here in San Diego that, in retrospect, were more popular than San Diego Comic Con.  I met stars from all of the series, including William Shatner, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Rene Auberjenois, Marina Sirtis, and Jonathan Frakes.  I had both a command gold uniform and the command red uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched Deep Space Nine, but fell away from Star Trek on television after the premiere of Voyager. To this day, I have never seen Enterprise, though I was in line on opening day to see Star Trek VI as well as Generations.

Star Trek gave me something to believe in at a critical moment in my childhood.  I truly believe that I would be a different person without it. I also know what it was like to be ridiculed for being a nerd before being a nerd was cool.

I pledge to post more about the series and films that did so much for me in my childhood. 

NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, or Why I Wish I Wasn’t A Girl Who Sucked at Math and Actually Became an Astrophysicist The Way I Planned

http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-report-defend-planet-asteroids-100208542.html

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.  NASA sought public input on finding ways to protect the planet from an asteroid strike.  The requests for information are part of the Asteroid Initiative, and the results were presented at a two-day conference recently.  They chose 96 ideas for further study.  Ideally, NASA would like to capture a small asteroid or space rock and pull it into orbit around the moon for study.  How cool is that?

Of course, the conspiracy theorist in me has to admit that on the one hand, it’s great that NASA is doing this.  It’s a good idea to prepare for the possibility of an asteroid collision (let’s just hope they see it coming soon enough…we’ve had some surprise close calls recently).  On the other hand, is it possible that NASA knows something that they aren’t telling us?  Is it possible that an asteroid is coming our way?  I’d like to hear George Noory or Clive Lewis weigh in on this.  The whole idea of preparing for something (courtesy of the Super Bowl subliminal advertising) makes you wonder.

If I didn’t suck at math so much, my dream was to be an astrophysicist.  I love physics and I love space.  I read books on String Theory for fun.  I just suck at math.  *sigh*  That said, I think that in either case it’s awesome that NASA reached out to the public for ideas.

Good job, NASA.  (In case anyone from NASA reads this, I’m sorry the government retired your Space Shuttles.  We still need them.)