Captain’s Log: Stardate 11.24.2011
Spending so much time away from Earth, traveling among the stars, makes terrestrial holidays all that more poignant. The best part of every holiday season is the time-tested traditions (nog, turkey, family). One of my favorite traditions is skating the rings of Saturn. Not actual skating (obviously) but a thrilling EVA close to the discs of spinning dust and rocks. My robot assistant, PAL, in his concern for our safety, covers his ocular receptors the closer we get. When those rings are too close to ignore, brilliant and shining, his ocular receptors can’t open wide enough.
Another favorite holiday tradition? Ice fishing on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Earth-bound planetary scientists only just discovered a lake under the ice. I dare say, they only heard about it now? I’ve been visiting that lake for years! I don’t catch anything worth keeping, but it is a serene place (even when the occasional methane storm threatens to rip the camping pod apart).
Let’s not forget the light show on Venus! The lightening! The volcanoes! If it weren’t for its deadly sulphurous atmosphere and constant volcanic activity, I’d be partying on Venus for every holiday. Which reminds me...
Since I’ll be next door, dancing to Venus’ volcanic beat, I think I’ll stop by the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. for some supplies as well as tokens of appreciation to give to my intrepid crew. They work tirelessly to see our safe passage through our interstellar travels. Well done. Now let’s grab some grub and enjoy this holiday season!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
I just got word from a friend who was observing the Pinwheel Galaxy that there was a star that had just gone supernova! Not just “nova”, mind you. SUPERNOVA! Before PAL, my robot assistant, could lecture me on how supernovae are formed, I swiveled the viewing dome to get a look at it myself.
The supernova is called SN 2011fe. That’s not exactly the kind of name that inspires tales of thrilling adventure. Perhaps it can be named Zwicky after Fritz Zwicky, the astronomer who gave collapsing stars their super name. Astronomers have declared this supernova to be the brightest one recorded by terrestrial-bound instrumentation in 20 Earth years. How quaint. If only they could take a gander at it from my safe vantage point out near the edge of the Milky Way. What a brilliant sight indeed!
Ah, the stars! I am reminded of a motto that has stayed with me since my cadet days at Interstellar Flight Academy, “Sic itur ad astra” or “Thus one goes to the stars”. Yes, I knew I was captain material early on and I had the t-shirt to prove it. Not just any t-shirt, mind you, but one obtained from the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. There was no doubt about my destiny. I mean, seriously, what part of “interstellar space travel” is not awesome?