Mary Robinette Kowal Profile picture
Aug 9, 2018 13 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
If you want me, I'll be at #NASAsocial to watch the Parker #SolarProbe
Apparently buzzards used to circle the launch pads and one bounced off the nose of the orbiter. So they started setting up a BBQ station for buzzards to draw them away.

We're on site and ready for our briefing at #NASAsocial.

By which I mean that we are prepped to geek.
We're talking about heliophysics, which is a study of the sun and how it affects everything in the solar system. Space is filled with plasma so the things you have to worry about most are things like magnetic reconnection.

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
Voyager is flying through the edge of the heliosphere now, which is pretty cool. There are missions which look at auroras. Once that look at other aspects of the heliosphere.

The Parker #SolarProbe is the first mission to fly to the sun itself. #NASASocial
Heliophysics is the glue that connects all the other NASA studies, because it fills the interplanetary space. And understanding our star will allow us to understand other stars better.

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
Curiosity driven science is valuable, but Parker #SolarProbe has applied science aspects as well.

Understanding the environment of space, and how it affects satellites and communications, has a direct connection to your cell phone.

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
A single mass coronal ejection -- an explosion on the surface of the sun -- could knock out global communication. Just *one* aspect of the Parker #solorprobe is that it will help us better understand that.

(By the way, if you have questions, I'm happy to try to fit them in and ask for you)

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
Q: Did the eclipse last year affect planning for the Parker mission?
A: No, because it was so recent that everything was pretty much set. But the citizen science was incredibly useful to heliophysics as a whole.

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
There are several theories about why the coronosphere is hotter than the surface of the sun. The Parker probe is intended to help narrow down the answer to that.

#NasaSocial #SolarProbe
Hearing from Phillipe Ruiz, the deputy lead engineer for the Parker #SolarProbe.

This mission predates NASA. Started as a goal in 1958. Challenges are the heat, yes, but how do you create a spacecraft that is autonomous, fault resistant & out of comm for weeks?

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @MaryRobinette

Aug 12, 2018
Good morning! Ready to try again for a rocket launch?

While you're waiting, remember that the Persiad meteor shower is also happening. You don't have to be in Florida to see it.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Granted, having written #thecalculatingstars there's a different resource to watching meteors while waiting for a rocket launch...

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Stargazing while waiting for launch.

By which I mean looking at stars through a telescope.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Read 13 tweets
Aug 11, 2018
2am and the sky looks clear. Who's ready for a rocket launch?

Why is the Parker #SolarProbe launching at night?

Because during the day it would be too hot to visit the sun...

We've arrived at the causeway and the rocket looks AMAZING lit up across the water. We're about 2.5 miles away.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Make sure you follow #NASAsocial because my fellow attendees have much better night cameras than I do for the Parker #SolarProbe launch.
Read 22 tweets
Aug 10, 2018
Many thanks to @torybruno for stopping and talking to us.

I asked what he was excited about and he said "watching this big beautiful rocket launch and set new speed records."


#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
This really is a beautiful rocket.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
The other thing @torybruno said was that it was hard to get a sense of scale. He felt it most when he went to the top. It's essentially a 30 story building.

Looking over the edge is...vertiginous.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Read 4 tweets
Aug 10, 2018
Heading until the 45th Space Wing

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
The MOC was built to consolidate range control into one location. Prior to this, Each SLC had a blockhouse to serve as mission control for the launch. They were only 100 yards from the rocket.

It was not...ideal safety conditions.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Now there's a single location to provide weather advisories to Patrick, the Cape, and KSC.

Lightning is the primary concern. Florida is a lightning capital with the 3rd highest strikes worldwide.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Read 5 tweets
Aug 10, 2018
Don't mind me. I'm just hanging out on launch pad 39-b

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
The pad is covered with these metal tabs. They exist to bolt 3/4 ply to in order to cushion the concrete from the weight of the crawler.

On the road, they use gravel.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
The "business end" of the flame suppression trench.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Read 10 tweets
Aug 10, 2018
Learning more about the crawler from Dan Schultz, one of the drivers.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
The hard part is that of the VAB driver's job is that they can't see everything. Parts of the path are built at the max turning radius, which is 6° so they have to hit their marks very precisely.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
They have spotters that are about 20 feet ahead and the drivers rely on them for hitting their marks. There are 30 people involved in every move.

Driving it takes about 8 hours. Then there's loading and unloading, so 12-16 hour days are not uncommon.

#NASAsocial #SolarProbe
Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!