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The Return of "Ice On Mars Confirmed By Phoenix Lander"

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“Still Life With Meteorite” from ANSMET

When I was back in Astronomy 101 and Planetary Atmospheres we were in interesting times at the “Earth and Space Sciences” building at Stony Brook University. NBC TV had donated all its weather equipment when it upgraded the station back at the end of the 1970s. Tobias Owen was onboard a planetary geologist from Cornell University, to comment on the then upcoming Viking on Mars missions. They were Carl Sagan’s “baby” of Cornell also, and he was enjoying a lot of popularity as his “Cosmos” series played on the public television airways.

The department was involved in the first expedition to Antarctica to investigate the mysterious “ozone hole” in the atmosphere that the satellites were observing. A team of researchers, one Stony Brook University’s own, Dr. Soloman, not to be confused with the leader of the expedition, a woman of the same surname, no relation, and another had a optical sensor array that would be able to further refine the observed measurements from the ground, probably based on the refraction of light through the atmosphere, the degree to which the protective layer of ozone was eroding, allowing ultraviolet light to further degrade the planetary envelope. Unfortunately, the instrument constructed succumbed in the extreme cold, however, other experiments were moderately successful.

Another exciting event in that department was the first public viewings of the Voyager fly-by of Jupiter, the enormous gas planet that was announced has theoretically what was thought rarer, helium metal at its core along with hydrogen in the form of a metal, the result of enormous pressure. It’s sometimes thought of a “wannabe star” and might have “ignited” under other cosmic circumstances.

The oddest thing was that, I took these courses to fulfill my “Science” requirements at the University, apparently in the BA program anything in anthropology and archaeology is considered to be a “humanity” then and called back from the top of the Allegheny Mountains from the excavation at the Allegheny Portage Railroad, recent acquisition of the National Parks Service, where steel wire first replaced manila rope perhaps, nearby where Admiral Peary, the polar explorer was born, Cresson, PA, to be told I hadn’t really graduated, no science credits. I went to the administration office, they pulled my records, and “oops” somebody was mistaken. I then had been accepted to the Graduate School.


Written by georgejmyersjr

08/12/2008 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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