Sunday, April 05, 2009

Moon Rock for the Touching

That's a sliver of moon rock you can touch at a special exhibit at the Cosmosphere through Monday.

This is lunar sample 70215.11, and one of only seven pieces of moon rock that are available for the public to touch. This fragment weighs about 7/10 of an ounce. It came from a rock that weighed more than 16 pounds. It's 3.75 billion years old - older than most rocks on Earth, just in case you were keeping track.

This NASA traveling exhibit is in a small trailer parked beside the Cosmosphere's front door. It contains information on the space program's mission to go to the Moon, Mars and Beyond.

It's ingenious, really. You can read some exhibits, touch the rock, and have an opportunity to get a free photo that looks like you're in a space suit on the moon, Saturn, or other far-flung locales.

The rock is under a small piece of plastic. And don't get any ideas, it's very secure. The guys traveling from Houston with the exhibit tell me they do clean it every day so you're actually touching rock, not the residue from the last few thousand people who touched it.

July 20, 1969 was the first manned moon landing, so we'll celebrate the 40th anniversary soon. In the 13 years after that initial visit, we made six more landings, and collected 842 pounds of lunar samples. This one was collected by Astronaut Jack Schmitt in 1972, near where the lunar module landed during the last visit humans made to the moon on Apollo 17.

For those of us who grew up with the space program, it's encouraging to see a new generation experiencing some of that excitement.

I can't say this young lady was feeling the same excitement I did when I was about her age and went outside to look up at the moon, knowing there were men walking around on it for the first time, but I hope she's feeling something - a sense of excitement, possibilities, the thrill of exploration, or a new appreciation of science.

I love to see NASA doing these sorts of programs - not only because I got to touch a moon rock, but because it's a way to share the thrill of exploration with new generations as we prepare to return to the moon.

You can go touch the moon rock from 9-5 Monday, for free. After Monday they're headed on down the road. Don't miss it. 
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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.

Doggie Easter Parade

This photo of my friend, Julie, sums up today's Doggie Easter Parade I think. It was windy. (see Julie's hair) People were having fun. (see Julie's smile) Dogs were generally uninterested, but accommodating. (see Gracie)

This afternoon Cause for Paws had their first ever Easter Parade and Egg Hunt for Dogs. Although I'm not a dog owner, I couldn't resist going. There was mention of dogs wearing Easter bonnets, but with the gale force winds today it was impossible.

There was one dog doing her best for the occasion, though.

There were little dogs like Max, whose ears could have made him airborne had his humans not held him tight.

And big dogs, who were affected by the wind, too.

The event got started with a dog parade...

Led by none other than the season's most important celebrity...

After the parade, Mayor Trish looked over the assembled troops and chose a king and queen. Some of the dogs understood the significance of this event and did their best to schmooze with the mayor.

Greg wanted a photo with one of the winners, Maile, who's royal subject is Pam Paulsen.

Maile could not be bothered to pose, having important royal functions to perform. We're not sure exactly what those are, but they precluded her from taking time out for a portrait sitting. Greg pursued her like a paparazzi for awhile, but finally gave up.

Photographers were finding much to interest them. Not only the Hutchinson News photographer, but also Bob and Greg, were trying to capture the memorable moments. Connie Johnson and I were snapping away too.

All of the festivities today were held at our new dog park. Every time I drive by there are lots of people there with their doggies, letting them run free. Even being uneducated about the ways of dogs, this seems like a really cool thing to me. I was happy to contribute my $2 at the door today.

The dog park is something Trish really wanted, as well as some other folks in town, including Donna Hessman.

After the parade, and the King and Queen coronation, there was an egg hunt. Of course, step one is hiding the eggs. We're taking some poetic license with "hiding" in this case. Kelly was one of the expert egg hiders, with the wind assisting in spreading them about.

The eggs had doggie treats inside. But, as you might expect, it was the job of the humans to procure the eggs for their dogs. Some were more patient than others.

All were "Blowin' in the Wind" all day long.

Once the humans had gathered the eggs, they had to work to keep them from blowing away. In this case, the dog was rushing in to make sure all the doggie treats were safe.

This family perfected the wind-blocking technique to search to see if they had any prize eggs.

It was a really fun afternoon, despite the wind.

Afterwards, we went into the new animal shelter to see the kitty condo decorating contest entrants. We stayed long enough for me to fall in love with a four year old kitty, Portobello, being held here by Hazel.

I did not bring him home, because I'm gone too much and a kitty would get lonely. But, if you are in need of a feline companion, he is adorable and a sweetie. He's playful and was content being held - the best of both worlds. I want him to have a wonderful, loving home.
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All text and photos on this website are copyright Patsy Terrell, unless otherwise noted. None are to be used without permission. Thank you.