11 July 2018


That's no Moonbase. . .that's a Space Station. Image credit: NASA
After nearly two decades, I am no longer a resident of Flagstaff, Arizona. The movers loaded up a truck and transplanted us in the Phoenix area on 6 July, where the temperature topped out at 114° Fahrenheit. In the intervening days, we've had dust storms mixed with rain, as might occur, I suppose, on a Mars where terraforming at last is showing obvious results. Neither the high temperature nor the dust storms are typical of Flagstaff (nor, indeed, of any other place I have lived).

That being said, this is familiar territory. My grandparents were snowbirds here for decades, and my late wife's parents retired to nearby Tucson. That was where I first met them. Also, Flagstaff and Phoenix are only about 100 miles apart, so I have visited the latter many times.

Flagstaff is at 7000 feet, while Phoenix is closer to 2000 feet. So, while Phoenix is desert and saguaro, Flagstaff is snowy mountains and ponderosa pine. I've always enjoyed that startling difference.

None of this is especially relevant to the purpose of this blog. It is, however, illustrative of how my world is changing. I think the changes when taken together make a pretty decent excuse for why this blog has been neglected this past month or so. We had to find lodgings, I continued working remotely for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team, I continued physical therapy, and then there was the seemingly endless packing of books and files.

I have a lot of books and files. In fact, by weight, books and files probably accounted for 90% of our move.

Monday was my first day at work. I am working on five Featured Image posts for the LROC website. One is about peculiar "cold spots" that appear around young, smallish craters. The other four Featured Images are anaglyph images of Tycho, the peculiar Mare Marginis "swirls," and two lesser-known craters with interesting geologic features. (Anaglyph images appear three-dimensional when viewed through red-blue or red-green glasses.)

As for this blog, I am eager to complete an all-new post. Though back in January I declared that I would focus on lunar bases in 2018, the post I am working on is about a space station. I'm not breaking my promise, however; the components designed for this station were re-applied to both a lunar-orbital station concept and an important lunar base study. I am not sure when this post will be complete, though unless I become lost in a dust storm, it will certainly be finished by the end of this month.

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