We recently took a field trip to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to visit the Mars rover test yard. As some of you may recall, my eldest, Cooper, was obsessed with the latest Mars rover, Curiosity, for at least a third of 2011. (NOTE: Curiosity lands on the Red Planet August 5th — 6 months from yesterday.)
The rover test yard is a simulated martian surface composed of dirt, large rocks and hills. The yard houses Curiosity’s “twin,” a second rover almost exactly like Curiosity. Scientists can test out techniques and fix problems using the test rover before trying things out on Mars. While we were there, we saw how Curiosity will use the sun to orient itself on Mars. Cooper also got to “drive” the rover. After commands were punched into the computer, our eager five-year-old got to hit the enter key. One of the most amazing things about the rover was the sound it makes while it moves. It sounds exactly like someone crushing aluminum cans.
During our trip, we visited one of the labs and toured the JPL museum, which chronicles every JPL mission to date. We ran into several groups of schoolchildren and boy scouts. It was a cool place!
In other news, writer extraordinaire Beth Stilborn granted me the coveted Kreativ Blogger award. It’s almost like getting a Pulitzer. (Hey, I said almost). So, “thanks Beth!” As part of the award, I get to introduce you to six fantastic bloggers and tell you 10 things about myself. First, the bloggers who shall receive the Kreativ Blogger Award are:
- Anna Coates – Green Tea n Toast (beautiful, beautiful site)
- MW Reading and Writing (Wendy Melzer’s literacy news)
- Ramona Davey (fantastic author/artist)
- Sandra Gallegos at Diary of a Cheapskate (my most frugal friend)
- 4 Chicks and a Muse – Peggy Jackson
- Pen to Print – Margaret Greanias (publisher info, book reviews and more)
Check out these great blogs, please!
Now, 10 quick things about me:
- On my nightstand: “Curious?” by Todd Kashdan and a P.D. James’s “Cover Her Face”
- Most recently recorded item on my DVR: “Wild Animal Baby Explorers”
- Favorite color: Red
- Most delicious thing I ate recently: Me Gusta’s tamales. The pineapple is to die for.
- Best recent purchase: Levenger’s Nantucket Lap Reader (using it every day for 12 x 12)
- Best part of the Super Bowl – game or commercials: The game (if only the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing)
- Early bird or night owl: early bird!
- Pet peeve: Having dirty feet. I will not walk around barefoot outside.
- What drives my kids crazy: I sing all the time.
- Dream vacation: I still haven’t made it to Rome despite taking an entire class on Renaissance Italian Art History.