So, we did the big move last week. We hired an Avis truck and moved everything over the course of two days from our house in Stratton to my wife’s parents place. It’s amazing how much stuff we have, and at the same time how little we have. All out stuff pretty much fits in the carport shed.
Ashton hasn’t taken the move so well. I think it’s all too new for her, and for some reason she thinks we might leave her or something. She just cries all night which is really embarrassing because she has never done that with us in Stratton. But I think she will get used to it. It will just take time.
I do have some casualties though: most of my fish have died. I thik the water in Myaree is crap, and that’s what killing the fish. Besides that, the heater died so the water was a little cold for a while and I had to buy a new heater. The cheapest was $32.
We also signed the contracts to buy our house, and the settlement agency is sending us a big fat check for the equity from our house sale. We had paid off more than I thought, which is good. We have another $5000 to play with. It sounds like we are going to need it, given the cost of blinds and carpets and roller doors, all these extra things which aren’t included in the cost of the house.
So, I’m starting to get interested in all this Mars stuff. There was a lecture type presentation the other night here in Perth at Trinity College which I would like to have gone to last night, but I was too tired. 10 days straight will do that to you. Anyhow, from the flyer for this lecture, I found a few web sites all about Mars. The ultimate focus of these web sites is manned exploration, but since that isn’t going to happen any time soon there is also a wealth of information about past, current and future robotic missions including the launching this week of the Mars Exploration Rover A or MER-A for short. It’s like a Sojourner on steroids.
There is a bit of a lunatic fringe in the Mars society which I plan to steer well clear of, but I would like to take a more active part in the Mars Society of Australia. Besides all the robotic missions they talk about, they have information on manned artic and desert expeditions which are supposed to simulate conditions on Mars in preparation for when men are launched. Sounds interesting.
I decided in the last 24 hours, since hearing of this lecture last night, that I am a closet Mars freak. I read a book a while ago called Patrick Moore on Mars, which is a bit of an historical look at the discovery of Mars including Schiaparelli, Lowell, the canals and all the rest of it. Very entertaining book. I guess when you look at it, Mars and the Moon are the only two really sensible places for manned exploration in our solar system. The moon, because it is so close, and Mars, because it is somewhat similar to our Earth and may be a bit hospitable. There has been a flurry of activity aimed at Mars recently including the Russians, the Americans, the Japanese and the Europeans. Someday, and international effort may launch a manned expedition to Mars. I’d like to see that, and I’d like to somehow be a part of it or at least keep close to it.
New Jersey Devils just finished winning the NHL Stanley Cup. I was in the US this time last year, at the end of the NHL season and through the playoffs and finals. I love ice hockey. We dont’ get enough of it in Australia. In fact, I don’t think we get any of it.
We had someone try and break into our house again last night while we slept. It woke us up. I only saw one of them, but I am fairly certain there were two. Not that it would do them any good to enter our house, because most of our possessions are at another location. We have been moving them out a carload at a time. I’ll be glad to move out soon.
So, the Mars Express has been successfully launched on a Soyuz rocket last night from Baikonur Cosmodrome. It’ll take 6 months to get there, where the orbiter will map the martian sub-surface, surface, atmosphere and ionosphere.
The lander has a bunch of instruments on board, including a set of stereo cameras, a microscope, a Gas Analysis Package, various Environmental sensors, a Mössbauer Spectrometer, an X-ray spectrometer, a Corer/Grinder and a “mole” which will crawl across the surface, find an interesting rock, and start digging under it. Then it’ll bring a sample back to the lander for analysis. Pretty spiffy stuff.