December 21, 2018: Weekly Spatial Resolutions

In just a few days, the NORAD Tracker goes live. This site contains my opinions and ideas only, not the opinions or ideas of any organization I work for. It’s my idea playground, and I’m inviting you in. Welcome! Image from NASA site.

NORAD Tracks Santa

In a little over two days, NORAD will be showing the movements of Santa Claus as he drops gifts or coal to deserving children (and maybe adults). Not to imply NORAD isn’t watching others in the world to see if they’re naughty or nice–I’m sure that’s still happening. But this is the fun part for people in NORAD working Christmas Eve.

For those who don’t want to wait, the site is active. It has holiday music, video games, even some background surrounding the sensors helping the U.S. military keep track of Santa. There are also short videos, under “Movies,” about NORAD and Santa (although I’m a little confused about the “Apple Valley” video–close to where I was born).

If you have some young ones to keep out of your–er–I mean, full of excitement over Santa, this might be a great outlet for that excitement. Or not. They are your young ones. You’ll have to decide, parent.

Elf on a (Really High) Shelf! Astronaut Brings Christmas Cheer to Space Station

I’ve always been repulsed by this particular story. It seems to promote a “GESTAPO” mentality (if you see something, say something, etc.). But whatever my feelings, there are people out there–people who are wrong but people nonetheless–who love this story. Even astronauts. Who are also wrong. However, if you like Elf on a Shelf, then this could be your story.

Note, this shouldn’t be confused with “Elon on a Shelf.” That’s a very different story altogether.

The first voice beamed from space – President Eisenhower’s Christmas message turns 60

There was a time when no artificial satellites orbited the Earth, so during President Eisenhower’s time (1958), being able to broadcast a very simple message from space was a big deal. The communications broadcast satellite didn’t last very long–barely a month–but it gave a glimpse of how communications satellites might have a future.

With, thankfully, exceptions, communications satellites tend to last much longer than that, now. Many satellite manufacturers advertise communications satellites lasting 25 years. Considering how much change is going on with communications here on Earth, is 25 years too long? Maybe Musk is on to something with Starlink.

Why Is the ‘Christmas Comet’ Green?

dr seuss smile GIF
Yup–he’s not the comet culprit. Image from Giphy.

I assure you, the reason has nothing to do with the Grinch. Popular Mechanics has a great explanation for the color, though, so go read it, if you’re interested.

Apollo 8 Astronaut On How Crew Saw The Earth Rise, Won The Space Race And Saved Christmas Forever

Did you know this mission, Apollo 8, combined with some Christmas messaging, may have caused the Soviets to give up in the Space Race? I didn’t either. For some people, nothing means Christmas more than beating those commies at anything–especially in space.

And that’s it for this year.

I will be very busy next week, so there won’t be anything posted on the 28th. Please understand that 2018 seems to have been an interesting year in space. It might even have been a good year. The world hasn’t seen launch numbers like 2018’s in a long time. There are other interesting changes, of which the U.S. Space Force, believe it or not, may be the least relevant bit for the world’s space industry.

2019 will be interesting. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Deadpool GIF by Deadpool's Fun Sack
Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a Deadpool gif. Image from Giphy (of course).

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