Tuesday, September 12, 2006

California Vs IAU about pluto

In response to Pluto's recent demotation, the CA legilation introduced the following resolution.


I just want to point out a few key phrases. (My favorites)

WHEREAS, Downgrading Pluto's status will cause psychological harm to some Californians who question their place in the universe and worry about the instability of universal constants; and

WHEREAS, The downgrading of Pluto reduces the number of planets available for legislative leaders to hide redistricting legislation and other inconvenient political reform measures; and

WHEREAS, The deletion of Pluto as a planet renders millions of text books, museum displays, and children's refrigerator art projects obsolete, and represents a substantial unfunded mandate that must be paid by dwindling Proposition 98 education funds, thereby harming California's children and widening its budget deficits.

No, this is NOT a joke, or if it is, well, it really is being voted on in CA. It hasn't been accepted as official legislation, but, well, I can't beleive this stuff is coming out of any body of legislation, I thought it was some crazy college student (Such as myself) who had way too much time on their hands (Definately not me). Anyways, enjoy!

Thoughts on Pluto's demotion

After having a discussion about Pluto's demotion from being a planet, I've come up with the following argument.

One 4 foot tall person running around a track is a person, but several 7 foot people running around the same track are dwarfs!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Farewell Pluto

For many years, we were living in a 9 planet solar system. Then astronomers discovered that Pluto wasn't so special after all, that there were thousands of objects just like it. And today, it has been decided, that Pluto isn't a planet after all. So, to Pluto, the planet that was, I bid thee farewell.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cubesat Conference

Attending this year's cubesat conference was quite interesting. With the unsuccessful launch of our two satellites only a few weeks previously, has caused me to reflect as to what exactly I am doing here. There were funds left over from the program, which were to be used with operations related to tracking the satellites. Of course, we would not receive money for the actual act, because these are amateur satellites, but, this was for building any ground support equiptment and other such tasks needed.

I have come to a few conclusions. The program at the University of Arizona is largely dead. I don't know what can be done to save it. I have, however, come up with a few ideas. The best idea which I have is related to building a class which has the purpose to build satellites, and teach students how to do so. I don't know what the interest would be, but it has the potential to be quite useful Other than that, I'm not sure what can happen to the program... It's so sad, after so many years of fighting, we've just died out... If only we can get the support from the college. I have decided that I will write to our new college president, in support of the program. I'm not sure what else I might be able to do, but, that will likely be my start.

NASA and the future education of our country

I am currently a participant in the 20th Small Satellite Conference that is taking place in Logan, Utah. The keynote speaker of the conference was Mike Griffon, Director of NASA.

As is evident from some of my posts, I am a member of my University's Student Sattellite Program. It was asked by two different people, one student and one other, what was NASA's role as a provider for student technology into space. When he was asked quite simply for the opportunity to launch, Mike stated, NASA can't afford it.

This to me is an outrage! NASA, who would spend tons of money on so very many things, can't afford $10 million to help students launch their projects into space. This is a long term project, but one which will have so very many dividends. Space technology will be greatly enabled to do the right thing, to have more aerospace engineers. It will allow for greater inovation, for experiments which can be done on a very limited buget. It will allow NASA to save money in the few years range, for they will not have to train as much their engineers. Unfortunatly, "NASA cannot afford it" was the answer.

I have decided to take up arms, so to speak, about this subject. I will take a more active lead into moving for a change in the US government to more freely allow for space access to student projects. Look for me in coming days with letters related to this subject.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Well, I recently joined the myspace phenomina (Which I have violently protested against for almost a year, since I first heard about it... ). So, my thoughts are these.

It seems like it's just a waste of time. I feel depressed seeing the "You have no friends" statement (Althought as of writing this, I have 3), etc. I find myself logging in there frequently, and seeing that nothing's really happened... Grr. Oh well, such is life.

Still, I can see how such a thing can be useful. But, more and more, I'm deciding that it's just not for me. My stay on it might be long-lived, or short-lived, but, well, at least I can now say I've given it a shot.

Cool jobs

So, I've been thinking recently, I have one of those jobs that seems to be really cool. However, the details of it are rather boring. I've realized alot of jobs are like that.

Take, for instance, an astronaut. They seem to have a very cool job, they get to fly into space. However, there's a catch. Before they are allowed to fly, they must run simluators, to the point that most people would go insane. It's probably the biggest releif for them to finally go into space, because then they don't have to work on the simulators, they can just finally do their job.

So, the next time you see someone's job you envy, think again. It might not be as cool as you would think.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Well, recently I started an account on Myspace.com (Username tuvas_21, if your curious). And, while I was doing that, there came the question of "Who would you like to meet".

Well, I had recently been thinking about what a friend means. And I came to a few conclusions. Friendship is something that is one of our greatest things that we have here on this earth, and most people take advantage of it.

I passed some time without friends, and let me tell you, it is not a fun thing. But recently, now that I've started to have more friends, I've become more worried about the quality of them, as opposed to the quantity.

There are two types of friends really. There are the type of person you like to pass time with, go to the movies, go bowling, etc. They are people that to pass time with is fun, and they are quite useful.

And then, there is another type, the type that is much deeper, to which I will refer to as a true friend. These are they with whom you can pass hours just talking with about anything. This are they who help you when you are down, who will help to lift you up. They don't take advantage of you, rather, they value greatly the time that you spend with them.

Well, there's my thoughts on that subject.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Wow, I just saw the latest batch of photos from the HiRISE camera. They are beautiful, absolutly amazing, I can't wait to get my hands on them to look some more. For 2 hours I was looking at these detailed pictures (And we barely got through the second of 4), and they are perhaps better than the first. We were expected them to be uninteresting. The reason being something called a Jitter test, which basically is we are testing to see how the camera performs with the other instruments on the camera operating. Many of them move, causing the spacecraft to shake slightly, and we are working to correct them. But, the problem was not largely visible, and we're going to take these processes out, if possible. Stay tuned for these amazing pictures!

Friday, March 24, 2006

HiRISE pictures

So, last night was a big night for me. The first HiRISE pictures came streaming in. It was amazing. I sat in the control room, it was the first experience I had as a member of HiROC of note, and what a noteworthy time it was. I unfortunately had a test the next day, so I couldn't spend the time to wait for the pictures to come in (The pictures came in at about 2 in the morning, my test was at 8). But it really is amazing their quality. The team couldn't be happier!

Friday, March 17, 2006


So, I recently discoved the site http://www.wikipedia.org . It's been a crazy 24 hours for me. I've taked upon myself to get myself published somehow, and that's what I'm doing. It first started with Cubesat, a program that I've been working on for 3 years now. Then it went on to Harry Potter. I found that the list of things that's supposed to happen in Book 7 very low, so I decided to add to it, a bunch. It's crazy.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring Break

So, have any of you had one of those vacations, such as Spring Break, that comes, and you just don't know what to do with yourself during that period of time? I'm entering into one such period of time right now. It's rather odd. I guess if you actually leave, it's not so bad, but if you stay behind and do something like work, during the evenings you almost get bored, it's rather odd.

Well, at least such is my experience. Anyone else out there agree?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


So, right now I'm working on another homework for my analog amplifiers class. These homeworks are painful, they take on average at least 15 hours to do, most are a fair bit longer. I've gotten the hardest part done, and feel like I can take a break for the night. Still, I think I've gotten the voltage multiplier AB amplifier stuck in my head forever. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a highly efficient but difficult to analyse amplifier, usually used for sound systems, especially higher-end systems. Otherwise, there are better amplifiers to use, that don't require as much knowledge.

I can't believe I'm doing homework during Spring Break. Oh well, need to get me a life.

Amateur Radio

So, for a while, I've been an Amateur Radio Operator. I thought it was the coolest thing when I got my license 3 years ago, to be able to talk to people from anywhere easily. Recently, I have gotten a cell phone. I have come to the conclusion that almost all of the joy of being an amateur radio operator has been eliminated by owning a cell phone. Crazy, eh?

But still, it can be fun to access the Amateur Satellites. I am often on the satellites UO-11 and AO-27. It has been a while since I accessed either of them, I must say.

Still, I recommend getting one of these licenses. I'm sure glad I did!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Google Mars

For those of you who don't know, there is a new program to get to know Mars a bit better, one that I have been anxiously awaiting, called Google Mars. See http://www.google.com/mars/ .

I think this is a truly amazing idea. I mean, even I, who consider myself a space geek, know almost nothing about the terrain of Mars. And now, anyone with the desire can play with the images from there. I hope they will put the images from the HiRISE on there as well, the camera which I will be working with, which would be an even greater resolution than the current images.

So, I can't wait for the program to be downloadable! I give this a 2 thumbs up, it's awesome!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Musings about JK Rowling website update

So, for those of you who are fans of Harry Potter, you probably know, or at least, should know, about her website, http://www.jkrowling.com/ . It is quite possible the best website done by a major author for her fans. You will not find her trying to sell books there, or anything along those lines, just hints about her life and Harry Potter. It really is quite cool.

So, this week, she updated it, and added alot of cool new stuff to the site. There's alot more personal stuff here and there, and alot more secrets. If you didn't know, there was 7, and now appearently 12 secrets to her website, stuff that will give you cool insites to the series. For instance, one of them is a picture of Nearly Headless Nick. There are all kinds of them, with a bit of the history behind them.

So, the latest batch included some gold. Perhaps the best was one of the outlines of HP5, with some elements taken away, and others included. This can be obtained by making a lightning shape on the piece of paper with the pen in the extras section. The lightning should be basically an L then straight down.

So, I guess that's my take on the website. It's way cool, if you like Harry Potter, and haven't gone there, I highly recommend it!

MRO-Orbit Successful!

Yah! So, the MRO is now orbiting Mars successfully! Perhaps one of the greatest moments of my life! So, let me tell you about the flow of the day.

It all started for me at about 1:00 today, or, well, at least, todays story started. I was at the University of Arizona's Luner and Planetary Labratory (LPL), watching with the team of the HiRISE camera the orbit of a martian spacecraft. It was very exciting. We had a wait of an hour and a half to hear if the craft had indeed started it's burn. So, the HiRISE staff started to explain the many features of the craft, it was quite neat.

Well, we had the opportunity to ask several questions. I did so, and it was quite neat to get alot of results, to find out a bit more about what was happening, about the MRO, etc. I had alot riding on the successful orbit of this camera, as I will shortly explain.

So, then, we had confirmation that the first burn started. The whole room started to become tense, there was an era of excitement, unlike anything I have felt before, it seemed. It was fun, a kid right in front of me (I was in the 3rd row by this point in time, the first 2 rows were for the HiROC, or HiRise Operations Control), which was showing one of those cool little charts that they have in NASA, it was visibly showing the change in velocity that the spacecraft was having. It showed several mark points, and it was right on the money!

So then, we soon reached Earth Blackout. What that means simply is that the orbiter went behind Mars. We had a half hour wait, to see what would happen.

So, then, the big moment, would the spacecraft survive. Anxiously we awaited, and then it came, the beatiful sound of "We have one-way contact!" The whole room exploded in excitement! A Mars mission had survived, by this point in time, there had been no known missions to have failed. Still, we anxiously awaited for that confirmation that the spacecraft had indeed orbited.

And then it came, we have confirmed Mars orbit! The room again exploded in excitement! The Mars spacecraft had orbited!

So, why does this all mean so much to me? You see, I will now be working as a programmer for the HiRISE camera. It was conditional upon the succesful orbit of the camera, so I guess I have a new job! It will surely be an exciting time!

ECE 304 and studying

So, if there are any EE majors from the University of Arizona, you might have heard of ECE 304. If your not there, just imagine that really really hard class you had to take, perhaps Organic Chemistry, and you might have about the same idea.

So, I'm taking this class this semester. It's a class in basically amplifier design with transisters. That's the most technical I'll get, so you can keep reading. This class is supposed to be the hardest class in my major. I mean, everyone, even the smartest of people, complain about it. It's just crazy. For all of my undergraduate career, I heard bad about this class.

So, I'm now in it. It's a 6 unit class, holding class 3 times a week for 2 hours, and 2 3 hour labs per week. Not to mention that, but there's homework that takes even me, who am normally that kid who spends a quater of the time of anyone else on a problem, couldn't finish in less than 15 hours, and there are about 10 of these assignments durning the year. Crazy, eh? It's not a class for those with a busy life.

So, I took the first of 6 tests in the class, I'll just put it like this. I've never gotten a grade so low in my life. I decided to actually study for the next test. Some of you might think that's a no brainer, but, well, it's the first time I've ever really studied for a test in my whole life. Yep, it's the truth. I've studied before, but nothing really too serious, normally because I get good grades one way or another.

So, when I started studying for the tests, the results were obvious. I started scoring as much as 3 times higher on subsequent tests as I did on the first, even to go from below average to the highest grade in the class of 60. And I've discovered something, I actually enjoy this nasty class, although I wish there was a bit less homework.

So, it all just depends on your atitude. Just do your best, and it will all work out.

Harry Potter, muses about my early HP days

So, I'm an HP nut. It's hard for me to admit it, but, it's the truth. I started reading the books when the 3rd one was out, I must have been about 16. Wow, that was almost 6 years. So, I read all of the books at the time, all 3 of them. It was awesome. I waited for that oh so special 4th book to come out. But, there was a problem, the day of it's release, I had an activity at my church, of waterskiing. I wasn't as big of an HP fan at the time, so, I decided, fine, I'll have some fun. My dad had ordered the 2 books through some book publishing magazine, and they weren't going to get to our house anyways. Well, we weren't that big of HP fans at the time, and I didn't know any others, far different than today.

So, anyways, I get home from the trip (My dad and all of my brothers were there to, only my mom and youngest sister stayed home), and what do I see? I noticed the cover to a new HP book. I started thinking, hey, we can't have got our copies in the mail yet. So, I heard the story, my mom and sister decided to go and buy the book, and were hogging it to themselves, claiming something like we all had fun that day, they had to have some fun too.

So, I started thinking, I really want to read that book. I woke up at about 4 in the morning the next morning. I started thinking, hmmm, wonder where they put the book. I realized it was in my sisters room. So, I get this crazy idea to go into my sisters room while she's still asleep, grab the book, and start reading. I finally convinced myself to do it, and, well, yep, I did it.

So, I read the first 6 chapters that night. Crazy that I still remember. At about 5:45 I decided to get some more sleep, I snuck into my sisters room again and put the book right back where it was.

The problem was, I got a bit braver, and tried to get it when she went into the shower. Harry Potter can have that effect on people. Well, I got caught.

Still, good came out of it, I got to start reading at every moment they weren't reading I tried to finish the book before they did, and thought I was, I didn't count on my mom and sister staying up till past midnight one night to finish reading the book. My sister was only 7 or 8 then, so, reading was still a bit hard for her. I realized why it was when I got to that last part, it was just crazy.

So, that's the start of my becoming a Potter Head. Perhaps I'll go on to futher details, but it's amazing what Potter can make you do sometimes. The only time I ever did sneak into my sisters room was to get that book. Crazy, eh?


So, I'm taking a cryptology class at my university. I'm thinking, wow, this is amazing stuff. I never realized how much there was into the whole system. It really is amazing at how secure your data can be.

So, I decided, now that I've learned all sorts of fun cryptosystems, I decided to go for it. I decided to build a secure diary system. This system will allow possiby several people to access it, or at least, parts of it, if you authorize them. It's turning out fairly well. I'm writing the program in Python, which may be of use to some of you out there.

Then I'm thinking, is it really that important to make sure no one can read my journal? In the end, I decided, well, not really, but I have to do a project anyways, and might as well have some fun with it while I'm at it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

MRO- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Tommorow is a big day for space junkies like me. The newest Mars Orbiter will arrive at Mars, carrying an instrument provided by my university, the HiRISE camera, or the High Resolution Imaginge Science Experiment. This camera is HUGE, I've seen a full scale model of it on the UA campus. It will be able to take pictures of up to 25 cm of resolution, or about a foot. Imagine then, if you were on Mars, then the picture could indeed find you, especially if you were laying down.

The following link is a news article about the MRO. It details alot of the risk involved in a MOI, or Mars Orbital Insertion


Granted, NASA is 2 for 4 in recent years, but well, I bet they've learned a thing or two from their mistakes. First of all, I'd be willing to be it's been checked at least a dozen times by a dozen people if the units are metric or English. That one's probably alright, that takes care of one of the orbiters. The other one, well, it went down due to problems in the aerobraking. It happens, but, NASA's surely learned a trick or two since those days. So, I give them at least 80% odds of a sucessful orbit. I most certainly hope they do, there's more than just some fake bet here at stake, but, tommorow I'll be able to post more.

Thoughts on anxiety

Why is it, that when are anxiously awaiting something, that it never comes?

For a while, I have been offered a new job, conditional upon the need of the team. I will find out for sure at about 3 if they will be needing me for the job, and, well, that day just doesn't seem to come ever. Why is that? And, well, this job has been something along the lines of what I've wanted to do since I was a little kid, so I couldn't be more excited.

And why is it, that when one is so anxiously awaiting something beyond someone's control, that every little thing seems unimportant, that one almost gets depressed? I've realized that I'm getting grouchier, and it's just no good.

Oh well. Such is life I suppose.