Saturday, June 30, 2007

An artist's concept of Dawn in the Asteroid Belt.
UCLA / William K. Hartmann

A WEEK FROM TODAY (HOPEFULLY)... Exactly around this time next Saturday, the Dawn spacecraft should begin a 4 year-long journey to the Asteroid Belt. In 2011, it will arrive at the asteroid Vesta for a 7 month study, and in 2015, it will arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres. Hopefully, NASA will not find any technical constraints for launch during a flight readiness review on Tuesday, and the weather will cooperate next Saturday. Damn thunderstorms. If Dawn isn’t able to launch by July 11, it will have to stand down till possibly September so that workers at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida (where Dawn will lift off from) can begin preparations to launch the Phoenix Mars Lander on August 3.

Technicians work on attaching the Dawn spacecraft to its third stage kick motor at the Astrotech facility in Florida.
NASA KSC / George Shelton

Like Dawn, Phoenix has only a certain number of days in its launch window to get to Mars before it has to wait another two years to lift off (2009, however, is reserved for the launch of the next Red Planet Rover, the Mars Science Laboratory. If Dawn isn't able to launch by October, it would have to wait FIFTEEN YEARS to get another opportunity to study Vesta and Ceres in one fell swoop. Which would mean the mission might be effectively over if Dawn doesn't take off by this Fall). And even Phoenix will have to get off the ground as soon as possible to make way for the launch of the next space shuttle flight, Endeavour on STS-118, on August 7 (this will be Endeavour’s first flight in almost five years...after undergoing a long maintenance period following the 2003 Columbia disaster). August will definitely be a hectic month in terms of getting rockets into space from Florida.

The Dawn microchip (the small, cylindrical object near the cables in the middle), which was attached to the spacecraft on May 17, 2007, carries the names of around 365,000 people...including Your Truly.
NASA KSC / Jim Grossmann

But back on topic, hopefully everything goes well next Saturday...and Dawn (with my name onboard... I’m gonna keep repeating that in my Blogs. You know that, right?) will be soaring high in the heavens. Not to sound cheesy or anything. ‘Nuff said.

The Dawn misson logo on the Delta II rocket...which stands ready for lift-off at Pad 17-B in the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA KSC / Troy Cryder

EDIT: Technically, Dawn should've lifted off today...but a problem with a crane at the launch pad earlier this month delayed the assembly of Dawn's Delta II rocket...pushing the launch back by one week. Launching rockets sure is a tricky business. Or at least with 200-foot ones operated by the government.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Me and Brea Bennett.

EROTICA LA... I went yesterday, and needless to say, Nautica Thorn, Kaylani Lei and Jenna Haze (with Brea Bennett above) are amazing in person... Oh, and don't forget Tera Patrick, but I already met her at a previous convention 7 years ago. She's friggin' tall as hell, but it's all good.

FIRST PIC: Me and Nautica Thorn.  SECOND PIC: Me and Kaylani Lei.  THIRD PIC: Me and Jenna Haze.

Last, but definitely not least, is gorgeous import model Nikita Esco.

Me and Nikita Esco.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer hoists up the Stanley Cup trophy after Anaheim wins its very first championship on June 6, 2007.

REDEMPTION COMPLETE! After falling to the New Jersey Devils in 7 games in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, the Anaheim Ducks redeemed themselves by defeating the Ottawa Senators, 6-2, in Game 5 tonight...winning the Ducks' first-ever championship since the team was founded by The Walt Disney Company in 1993. Anaheim is the very first California and West Coast city to take home the Cup. One wonders if the Los Angeles Kings will ever become the second SoCal team to do so as well.

Anaheim Ducks players pose for a group photo after they clinch the team's very first Stanley Cup title on June 6, 2007.
Courtesy of The Anaheim Ducks Booster Club