Archive for the 'NASA' Category


Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

It seems that in an era of epic spending, NASA is going to get the axe. As one of the few agencies that is focused on future things, not months or years but decades and centuries out, this will mark a very real turning point in American history. Already, with the shutdown of the Shuttle program, America will cease to have any means of taking humanity beyond the gravity well we call Earth, and will instead be reliant on Russian capsules and private industry for the continued operation of the ISS until its de-orbit sometime between 2014 and the mid 2020’s. Yes, the United States of America, one of the key pioneers in pushing the envelope of humanity’s drive to further “explore strange new worlds” will cease to be space-faring. Instead, the Obama administration will direct the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to focus on terrestrial science. The irony, usually comical, instead leaves me now in a betrodden state of sincere disappointment.


Romans 1:20

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”. - Romans 1:20.

I’ve been really space crazy the past year or so and recently have been reading/watching as much as I can about our adventures past the gravity well we call home. It’s been incredible learning about what NASA did with Mercury, then Gemini, then Apollo. Sky Lab followed and then the shuttle took center stage and gave way (with a /lot/ of help from the around the globe - especially ESA and Russia) to the ISS. Now we’ve had a permanent human presence in space for over 8 years! All these technical accomplishments are amazing, but something caught my attention when watching “In The Shadow Of The Moon” the other day. As we move forward and push the boundaries of science and engineering, it seems that relatively little thought is given to the why. It was refreshing, especially in a Discovery production, to see some time dedicated to this. The movie is a reflection on the Apollo program by the astronauts who flew the missions and at one point, Gene Cernan (Apollo 10/17) and Charlie Duke (Apollo 16) speak about spirituality and God. Gene Cernan’s conclusions about the structure of the universe go hand in hand with Romans 1:20 and Charlie Duke goes on to profess his faith in Christ. It was extremely powerful and quite the blessing as well.

But enough of my blathering, go watch the clip and be blessed yourself. :-) 

2nd Place!

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Success! Slobotics has officially taken second place in the 2008 NASA Lunar Excavation Centennial Challenge. While no team achieved the ambitious goal of meeting the 150kg target, we did manage to put on quite a show and prove our engineering abilities. Since that was our stated goal going in, we’re stoked.

Some quick details:
25 teams registered
16 teams attended the competition
8 teams actually competed
4 teams managed to move from the starting position - yes, we were one of them

After the official competition, we had the opportunity to demonstrate both our behavioral algorithms that allow autonomy as well as our digging mechanism. Without rocks in the regolith, our robot performed spectacularly, meeting design expectations in most cases and exceeding them in others. Although we’re all completely worn out from the crazy prep time leading up to the event, we’re ready and excited for next year’s competition.

On a personal note, I have to say that I’ve sincerely enjoyed the intereactions with each and every person I’ve met as a result of this event. Professional, intelligent, and kind - everyone. Already, I’ve considered meeting everyone a priviledge - only moreso as our path forward inevitably involves interactions with some of these great people.

Pictures and links on the official page.