Sunday, August 19, 2007

SpaceFest #3

Ok, today was the last day of SpaceFest, and I got to do some last-minute shopping. I bought the "Traveling Star Show" by The Big Bang Band. It has a couple of good songs and is for a good cause, some of the money raised by the CD goes to the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sonoma County (Phil should know that). Speaking of him, I managed to bother him a little bit before SpaceFest was over. Other than that, not much happened other than the talks. So, I'll get right to them.

The first talk was by Mike Joner about "Image Processing" in Astronomy. This was about how professional and even amateur astronomers develop those amazing images. Well, for a professional, you take a big telescope with high-quality CCD, and you basically get back numbers. You normally take three images. One in red, one in green, one in blue. You then clean each of them up using various image manipulation techniques. After that, you put them together and you have an amazing photo. Amateurs also do this to a degree. However, instead of working with numbers, they can work with photoshop. Some of the amateur photos he showed were actually pretty amazing.

The second talk was by Jim Rice on "Spirit and Opportunity: Three and a half years roaming Mars". Now, these talks are pretty common. It was an overview of the science and emotion of the two Mars Exploration Rovers. You could probably find most of the science at a local lecture series, or on the Mars Rovers JPL web site. You could also find information on this blog when it arises. Not much I can say about this talk.

The third talk was by Doug Griffith called "The Crash of Galaxy SL-292". It was about a fictitious explosion of a passenger-carrying spacecraft called Suborbital Launch("SL") vehicle 292 which was launched by Galaxy Space, Inc. He explored the litigation which would have most likely ensued that crash, and how the scenario would probably have turned out. It was also a presentation on how the now-budding spaceflight industry is developing on a legal scale. It was really quite interesting. I found out that the Federal government really doesn't want to get involved in the spaceflight industry, so the job of litigating would fall to the states. And since states have different laws, it could get really complicated. Way too much for me to explain. Well, this was the last talk of SpaceFest, now it's time for the ultra-boring stay at Arizona. I miss my Ubuntu computer.

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