Friday, January 13, 2006

Though I Dream in Vain

My best friend Brian (aka known as "Lurch") knows full well that while I'm not the physics nut he is, I do take a passing interest in astrophysics (he's a quantum man) and astronomy. So when he comes across articles that he thinks will be of particular interest to me, he sends them my way.

Today when I got to work, an email from him was waiting for me with a link to the following article:


NASA's Stardust mission return capsule will land Sunday, Jan. 15, at approximately 2:12 a.m. Pacific time (3:12 a.m. Mountain time) on the Utah Test and Training Range. Stardust is completing a 2.88 billion mile round-trip odyssey to capture and return cometary and interstellar dust particles to Earth.

All of which is very cool. And I'm sure that Lurch thought it would be particularly of interest to me because of this:

The Stardust capsule will be visible from parts of Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho and Oregon when it returns on Jan 15 at 2:57 AM MST (09:57 UTC).

(bold added by me)

Unfortunately, the person at NASA who wrote that article either isn't familiar with the Oregon climate, or forgot what time of year he's talking about. I'm sure that east of the Cascades it'll be visible, but on this side of the mountains, the only way anyone in that viewing arc will see it is from a plane. For those of us poor schmucks on the ground, the only thing we'll be watching fall from the sky is a lot of little drops of water.

Oh, well, I still hope we collect some cool data.

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