Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Important Space News!
Still, Ms. Morgan is performing a vital role in operating the robotic arm which will be used in helping assemble new components being added to the International Space Station. If you happen to catch any of her reports from space, be sure and give a thought/say a prayer for those former colleagues of hers who lost their lives on the last Challenger mission.
This shuttle mission starts the ramp up of an ambitious schedule of launches where the primary mission is to complete the assembly of the space station. The second mission after this one (scheduled for launch in December) will (finally) see the implementation of the European and Japanese lab modules which will enable the station to do a large number of space experiments which have been on hold for many years. The ISS assembly is supposed to be completed by 2010.
This will then mark the retirement of the space shuttle. I think of this as the bad news. It means that the US will only be able to get its astronauts to and from space by "hitching a ride" on a Russian Soyuz rocket. This will be the case for at least five years until the first flight of the new Orion crew exploration vehicle in 2015. We can only hope that this loss of US space flight capability will be only 5 years.
The good news is that the number of women participating in the space program in various functions is now so high that it is almost taken for granted. It's considered no big deal! I think that's awesome, but I also think it is a bit of an accomplishment, so I just want to point out some things to cheer about:
In October, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson will take off on a Russian Soyuz rocket to become the first female commander of the international space station. It's planned that 2 weeks after that, Pam Melroy will command the next shuttle assembly mission. These days, according to NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, when you look at any of the shuttle flight crews and their support teams, there's a "plethora" of women engineers, pilots, operators and technicians including working members of the flight team and in many cases senior members of the team. Griffin also has a woman deputy, a woman associate administrator for aeronautics and a woman deputy associate administrator for science. Women are working at all levels of NASA these days and it is hardly ever commented on. Isn't that just how it should be?!