Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Space Alien's Message for the New Year

The Space Alien asked your editor to direct loyal readers to last year's Rosh Hashanah message for the holiday this year.   That post was so thrilling that your editor agreed it deserved another reading.

With this in mind, the Space Alien invites loyal readers to return to last year's column, A New Year for the Space Alien, which you may read at:

The Space Alien insists that this column has since been digitally remastered, and whether or not this is actually the case, your editor can attest that there is a bit of new material there!

A message containing this link already went out to our e-mail subscribers, but, as noted, all may view this at:http://spacealiengazette.blogspot.com/2016/09/a-new-year-for-space-alien.html 

(If you would like to be an e-mail subscriber, please let us know in the box at the sidebar)

Loyal readers may be interested to know that this year the Space Alien is spending the ten days between Rosh Hashanah, the "head of the year" (which this year begins at sundown, September 20) and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (which ends at sundown on Saturday, September 30) reflecting upon eternal values, cultivating personal qualities of kindness and helpfulness, and pledging to become a more actively engaged citizen of the universe.

Once again, the Space Alien and all of us here at the Space Alien Gazette wish you and your dear ones a healthy and productive 5778.

Apples and Honey for a
Sweet New Year!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Space Alien Says: Arrivederci Cassini

The Space Alien was sad to read of the impending death of Cassini, the remarkable spacecraft that has faithfully orbited the planet Saturn for the past 13 years.   On Friday, September 15, 2017 this unique project will end with Cassini crashing to its doom on the ringed planet.

To read about it at the NASA website please click here:




To read about it at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory please click here:


To read about it on BBC, please click here:


This was of more than academic interest for the Space Alien, who has long been a serious student of our Solar System and has shared an immense store of knowledge, gained on countless interplanetary trips, with our National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Traveling to Saturn at tachyonic velocities exceeding the speed of light, the Space Alien took many excellent photographs of Cassini, and kindly shares two of them here, neatly labeled, so that you, loyal readers, might expand your knowledge of space exploration.

The Space Alien had a particularly deep relationship with this project, having secretly worked with NASA for many years, helping to guide Cassini around Saturn.

Here is one of the Space Alien's exclusive "selfies" taken while gently nudging the sometimes wayward spacecraft into it's proper orbit.  It was difficult and dangerous work, but this did not deter the Space Alien, whose dedication to science has few equals.

The Space Alien Gently Guides Cassini around Saturn

The Space Alien was proud to participate in this vital mission, and while saddened to see Cassini come to an end, appreciates the vast store of knowledge we have gained thereby.  

The entire staff of the Space Alien Gazette is proud of the Space Alien, who took on this important job quietly, with no publicity or fanfare, all in the service of science.

Now, having completed this mission and before returning to work at the Space Alien Gazette, the Space Alien will enjoy a few recreational days hunting for diamonds on Uranus.


Post Scripts:

A loyal reader sent the Space Alien Gazette this photograph of the Cassini team!
The Space Alien and Cassini Teammates Celebrate their Great Achievement!
This is not the first time the Space Alien visited the moons of Saturn.  An earlier visit took place during the 2016 Olympic Games, when the Space Alien set personal high jump records on Titan, one of Saturn's many moons.  To learn more about this astonishing feat and to see some of the Space Alien's exclusive photos please visit: https://spacealiengazette.blogspot.com/2016/08/how-high.html

Loyal Readers are also encouraged to learn more about the great Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini for whom the Cassini spacecraft was named at: 

Giovanni Domenico Cassini

King Louis, XIV
The Space Alien's meeting with Cassini took place in France, where Cassini spent much of his life, and where he was the first to use a method of determining longitude to measure the size of France accurately.  France turned out to be smaller than expected.

This disappointed King Louis, XIV (the Sun King) who wanted to make France great again.

 After Cassini tutored the Space Alien in these advanced survey methods learned in France, the  Space Alien offered to teach them to Thomas Jefferson in connection with the newly established American Public Land Survey System (for which see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Land_Survey_System).

T. Jefferson
Jefferson  politely declined the Space Alien's offer, fearing that that this could make America small again.

The Space Alien disagreed, but did not dwell on the matter.

Special Postscripts:

1. Giovanni Domenico Cassini was born on June 8, 1625 and died on September 14, 1712.  The Space Alien observes these dates appropriately.  

2. The Space Alien understands that as more data arrives from the Cassini spacecraft, loyal readers may want to travel to Saturn.  The Space Alien recommends EXTREME CAUTION in this regard.  Chemicals easily tolerated by the Space Alien but highly toxic to human friends abound in this vicinity, so please be content to enjoy the photographs taken by the Space Alien and the many scientists studying these regions.  

3. While updating this post in June, 2021, Your Editor ran across this great blog entry: http://georgebishopjr.com/2017/09/16/arrivederci-cassini/    Apparently he too (and not surprisingly) liked using the Italian word for farewell in the title!  Here is posted the New York Times account of September 14, 2017 by Kenneth Chang on the life and death of the Cassini spacecraft.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Space Alien Censors the News

Your Editor walked into the insanely busy office of the Space Alien Gazette and found the Space Alien bent over some drafts of articles wielding a big blue pencil.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"I'm censoring the Space Alien Gazette" answered the Space Alien, somewhat annoyed at the interruption.

"Censoring?  What do you mean?"

"I'm deleting all references to unhappiness, sadness and any other negative emotions," said the Space Alien.  "I want our loyal readers to keep smiles on their faces, just the way I do, and this will help them do it!"

"I've never heard of such a thing!" cried your editor. "That's so dishonest!"

"Oh no, there's good precedent for this," said the Space Alien.

"Show me!" said your editor.

The Space Alien reached into a file drawer and pulled out a copy of the Washington Post.

"Look at this article!  It says here that the U. S. Environmental Protection Administration has brought in a political aide without much environmental experience to look for all references to climate change in grant applications and eliminate those from consideration!"   (And you, loyal readers may also read this very same article for September 4, 2017).


"It's a very simple word search," continued the Space Alien, reading the following paragraph aloud to your editor:

"In this role, John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for “the double C-word” — climate change — and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations."

"You see how this works," said the Space Alien.  "The EPA denied funds for a bedbug elimination workshop, so no more bedbugs!  I sleep a lot better knowing that!  And now we won't have to worry about climate change either because the EPA will make that go away using a blue pencil just like mine!"

"WAIT!" cried your editor.  "Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away!"

"It doesn't?"

"Of course not!  We'll still have bedbugs and climate change; we just won't be working to stop their ill effects!  And these problems will get even worse!"

"Oh," said the Space Alien.  "I guess you're right!  Well then,  I guess I'd better put this aside and start working on captions for the photographs in our special supplement on Birds of the World."

Are these the only ones with heads in the sand?
"Good idea," said your editor!

And here's a special bonus for our Loyal Readers:
The Space Alien and Your Editor with their favorite
American Public Health Association T-Shirts!