We Have Landed!

The post below was written June 12, 2020. At that point, the Perseverance Lander had not yet left Earth. It launched on July 30, 2020 and I’ve been following it ever since.

Today, it arrived safely on the Red Planet, and will start its science missions soon. Now, Nate, Garrett, Beth and I have our names on Mars, attached to the rover along with about 1.2 million of our closest friends who also have their names on the rover. The permanence of our family’s presence together on Mars is wonderful to know.

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Back in September of 2019, I stumbled across a NASA website describing the new Mars Lander scheduled for launch July 20 at 6:15 a.m. PDT (9:15 a.m. EDT).  NASA offered the chance to send your name aboard the Mars Perseverance Rover etched into a chip placed on the rover. 

I thought this was a terrific idea for the family, so I registered the four of us and, lo and behold, we four were among the 1.2 million names that made it.

NASA sent an electronic boarding pass for each of us verifying that our names would be making the 140-million-mile trip to the Red Planet, the average distance from Earth.  At its closest, Mars is roughly 38.6 million miles from Earth.  Since the path to Mars depends on many variables and is not a direct shot, I am not sure of the actual distance the Perseverance Rover will take to get to Mars. Edit: Turns out that the actual distance is printed on the boarding pass itself in the bottom right-hand corner. The Perseverance Rover will travel 313,586,649 miles on its journey from the Earth to Mars.

I thought the boarding passes looked really cool, and the rest of the family surprisingly agreed. I had intended to post them back then, but it didn’t happen.  However, today’s the day! Better late than never, huh?

Here’s more details about the mission from the NASA website:

“The Mars 2020 spacecraft with its Perseverance Rover will launch on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.  The Atlas V is one of the largest rockets available for interplanetary flight.  This is the same type of rocket that launched the InSight and Curiosity to Mars.  The launch vehicle is provided by United Launch Alliance, Centennial Colorado.”

And here’s a mission fact sheet. You’ll need a PDF reader to see this one.

Here are our four boarding passes.  Nice to know that the family will be together for the duration, even if it is on another planet.

Many would likely agree that another planet would be just the right place for the four of us.  

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The Apple, er… Cheese Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

Nate is spending a few days here and he likes to cook when he’s here. I try to help out and NOT be the nervous father when he lights multiple gas burners on the stove at once. Dude’s gotta learn, am I right? Tonight’s recipe was macaroni and habanero cheese. Let that sink in a minute. Not just the plain ol’ Kraft Mac and Cheese. No, sir. Nate decided to go full-tilt with the habanero cheese he got at Giant … Continue reading

Don’t Ever Say Dogs Have No Feelings

So last Friday when I went to pick up Nate, Garrett beats him to the car. Garrett walked outside to check mail anyway and on his way, decides to come down to the car and give me a hug. It is very chilly out, probably in the mid 40s. Yet there he is in his bare feet with his favorite Batman throw blanket around his shoulders. I give him a hug and we talk for 10 or 15 seconds and … Continue reading

“Don’t Say I Never Did Nuthin’ For You.”

While this has already been posted to Facebook, I am reposting it here so that I can find it once Facebook has relegated it to the distant past. This is the most remarkable thing. Some weeks ago, Garrett was going through some Pokemon cards and came across this guy, Cresselia. Cresselia is described as “Those who sleep holding Cresselia’s feather are assured of joyful dreams.” Garrett read me the description and I said “I need one of those ’cause I … Continue reading

On The Nineteenth Anniversary of 9/11

Just like last year, I wasn’t sure that I could post this again today. In the last few days, I started to see the 9/11 remembrance posts popup on Facebook. Most of me was convinced that I’d had far more than my share of sadness this year, so I avoided those posts, scrolling past them as fast as I could. Another part of me felt exactly as I described in the first two italicized paragraphs just below this one, written … Continue reading

A Previous Facebook Rant Which Still Applies Today

This is a repost of an earlier post that I made when I was pissed off at everything. Well, tonight, I’m pissed off at everything again, so you get this rerun instead of something original. Deal with it. It’s time for a rant and my rants mean run-on sentences. Grammar police, you might want to look away. I’m not going to single anyone out but yes, I’m going to bitch about something that some of you like to do that just … Continue reading

Reposted: Dan’s Ten Rules for Critical Thinking on the Internet

This was originally written and posted in 2015. It would appear that not much has changed. Feel free to add your own rules in the comments below.   1.  One statistic can never tell the whole story. 2.  A meme does not constitute an argument.  It is an advertisement for a particular point of view. 3.  Do not agree or disagree with anything based solely on Rule 1 or Rule 2. 4.  Always seek and cite multiple original sources. 5.  … Continue reading

A Letter to My Father

I ran across this from nearly ten years ago. Since it’s Father’s Day today, I thought that I’d run this again since I still feel the same way. Dear Dad, A month ago today, when last we spoke, we exchanged handshakes and snappy salutes. I noticed again that afternoon, as I always do, your silver U.S. Army Infantry ring, worn and smooth from the decades of wear, never imagining the next time I saw it, it would be surrendering it … Continue reading