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Tag Archives: science

Remembering Claudia Alexander—Space Scientist

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Claudia Alexander—Space Scientist (1959-2015) Claudia Alexander was perhaps not well-known to the general public, but within the space and science community she was a valued colleague and friend whose contribution to the field of space exploration was significant and lasting. Charles Elachi, the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she worked said she, “had a   …Continue Reading


The Last Hours of MESSENGER

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Today, the MESSENGER spacecraft will succumb to the influence of gravity and impact on the surface of Mercury. Its last orbit correction maneuver was successfully executed on Tuesday, April 28– there’s nothing left in the fuel tank. I’ve been involved in the mission for more than a decade as a member of the science team and   …Continue Reading


The Abbreviated History of a Scientist (Namely, Myself)

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My first word was JET, since we lived near an Air Force base and experienced sonic booms on a regular basis. My fascination with the heavens took off from there. Growing up, my family went camping and backpacking a lot, and one of my clearest memories of that time is looking up at a dark,   …Continue Reading


Flying Low and Slow Over a Lava Flow

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This September, Larry Crumpler, a research colleague at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and I were able to fly in the back seats of two weight-shifting ultralight aircraft during a two-hour flight over the McCartys lava flow in central New Mexico. This flow is 3,000 years old and over 47 km   …Continue Reading


This Pie is out of this World

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It’s said that “art imitates life,” but how about baked goods imitating geologic formations!  Strange as it might seem, the MESSENGER spacecraft that has been orbiting the planet Mercury since March, 2011 has discovered unusual groups of ridges and troughs that do just that – imitate a common baked-good, a pie.  Families of extensional troughs   …Continue Reading