Humans Are Going to Mars!

Elon Musk is the name associated with innovation, and seemed like the only person with the means and wherewithal to get humans to Mars. His ambitious vision would place large numbers of humans on the Red Planet at a time where NASA and other space agencies seemed uninterested, underfunded, or unable. Now that has all changed, as NASA has recently outlined their plan to get humans to Mars. They plan on doing it by 2033.

 

What Lit the Fire in These Rockets?

I am a total space geek and this news has excited me to my core. I found it surprising that President Trump’s administration was the one to have issued a Kennedy Moonshot style mandate to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, but welcomed the news. Frankly, I was confused by the businessman-turned-president’s plan because it appeared to allocate more tax money to sciences when his main agenda appeared to be keeping fossil fuel jobs and lower taxes. Lowering taxes would work against the $19.51 Billion dollar in some way, I would think, and NASA has conducted damning research which puts human made emissions at the center of global climate change. President Trump has called climate change a hoax in the past. So what is going on here? Why would so much money be allocated to an agency which may be so counterproductive to the administration’s agenda?

 

The truth is that NASA’s overall budget has not really changed, but rather certain allocations have been increased and decreased. This is fairly typical of government budgets, as inflating and deflating various aspects of tax money that is already spent can better reflect administration agendas and politicians can point to these “achievements” as changes that they have championed. Looking at the ebb and flow of the NASA budget reveals that climate change research allocation has been drastically reduced.

 

Like this Forever?

Even with the knowledge that any more money put toward getting the technology and methods to land humans on Mars -without securing additional revenue from Congress- will likely put the only place in the known universe that we can live in greater peril, I am still very excited about the Mars mission and plan on following it closely.

 

This does not distract from the gravity -pardon the space pun- of the situation. The United States is a leading figure in the world of planetary and Earth science research. Our wealth of brilliant minds collaborate with others around the world, even a smaller presence will likely feel as if we are somewhat absent.

 

What I need to remind myself of when I get concerned over how budgets may be working against Earth Sciences -and I encourage all of you other warriors as well to consider this-, budgets literally change every year and administrations change fairly often as well. Even if President Trump secures a second term, he will be out of office seven years before this mission takes place. Also other governments have NASA counterparts which can maintain their Earth Science research -and the US’s won’t completely disappear either- regardless of how the US budget affects NASA. This may even open the door for more citizen science, business science, and academic endeavors. Call me an optimist, maybe I’m just too excited for our Marshot.

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Day 72 – A Year of Writing

It’s been a mostly quiet weekend, but I did get to go out for a few beers with some friends last night. I actually made a new contact and friend who I hope to see again soon. Tomorrow will be one of my longer days at the internship. I have a meeting with my project manager to go over what I’ve been doing, and I want to make sure that I present all my data to him in a nice concise manner. I’ll go in a little earlier than I would have planned otherwise just to write that all up for him. I also need to add a bit more information that I got late on Friday to the flow that I am making. Hopefully it’ll all look okay.

 

Hope everyone had a good weekend, I’ll be sure to post more later this week.

Day 71 – A Year of Writing

This has been one heck of a weekend. Friday night was spent with some of my oldest friends. We hung out and listened to some good music and talked about current politics. One of my friends has rather sharply contrasting views to myself, but we always have really interesting talks. I wish this was the case for everyone who has different opinions from one another. He’s one of my best friends, but we’ll likely never vote for the same person or policy ever. That’s perfectly fine, and I always look forward to hearing his opinions and using them to challenge my own thoughts. I’d like to think that he views my opinions similarly.

 

On Saturday, some friends of mine from undergrad came up to the city and we had a few beers, played Mario Tennis and Rock Band, then we went to a karaoke bar and sang our hearts out. It was a really fun time. Earlier today I met up with a friend and her boyfriend that I was very close within my Department. We got to geek out about anthropology over lunch (I got French Toast), and just catch up since I had not seen her since I left for the UK over a year and a half ago. Tonight, I’m off to play a little bit of pool with another one of my friends. He and I have tried to hang out for literal weeks and something else has always gotten in the way. Then tomorrow I go into my part time gig and start knuckling down on the project they’ll give me. Wish me luck!

Day 70 – A Year of Writing

Yesterday I began my internship in Product Design and UX, I’m really rather excited to get some good experience in the field. It’ll be challenging, but hopefully will be fruitful and rewarding. I recently took a slow-mo video of my electric kettle and figured it might be worth sharing on here. It’s dumb, but a good demonstration of the Google Pixel’s video and slow-mo. Enjoy, I guess haha.

Day 69 – A Year of Writing

What a week so far. At the beginning of last week The job I interviewed for in NYC got back to me saying that they were still considering the role and filling it, but that they would still let me know either way. This is somewhat frustrating, but I do understand that things take time. While I was out with my friend this weekend, he told me that my old company may be looking for someone to fill a UX researcher/designer type role in the company and that it might be worth emailing the old CEO. Luckily I’ve maintained a rather good professional relationship with the CEO and he put me in contact with the VP of marketing who said they may have some part time work in the very near future I could do for them. While part time work is less than ideal, the VP did tell me that while I had a strong academic background, I was lacking in the professional research experience area. Apparently translating academic research is rather challenging in résumé format. So if offered the position, I may take it even if it just is part time. I like the idea of adding that kind of experience to bolster my professional résumé.

 

I also heard back from an employment agency which may have found a position is HR for me with a rather well known hedge fund management company. I’ve sent some follow up questions about compensation and so forth, but would also consider this if I don’t hear back from the aforementioned position. Income wouldn’t be a bad thing, you know.

 

A friend of mine and I also are half jokingly looking at teaching English in Costa Rica. This would not really work for me though, considering how poorly compensated those teachers are and the fact that I still need to pay my student loans off.

 

I want to get back to my book, but figured I needed to post on this blog more frequently. Cheers.

Day 68 – A Year of Writing

I realize that I’ve been a slacking a little bit on my daily writing, but I do promise that even though I have not been writing on this blog daily that I have been writing in my journal and for this other blog at least daily. So I’ve kind of kept my promise to myself, but not to you. Sorry about that.

 

It’s warming up in Chicago, a bit quicker than I’m used to honestly. It’s nice, but it makes me worry for the state of what our summer will be like. I’m considering looking into mining (or at least acquiring) this new cryptocurrency called PascalCoin. It’s somewhat revolutionary in so far as it does not require a blockchain, but it still is as secure as one. Instead of having each wallet have a public ledger, it seems to store this information elsewhere. It also has a much simpler UI which may finally catapult cryptocurrency into the modern age. Now it won’t be reserved to FinTech people and technophiles.