54 degrees in Tucson

Brrr. People in fur coats with collars up. The temperature is 54 degrees, plus there is a windchill resulting from the 35 mph winds.

Several storms are passing through. Rainstorms, though, nothing too serious. It still is better to be in Tucson than in Minnesota, where I heard it was 18 degrees below zero this morning.

Lance and I met with Ron, an astronomer at the University of Arizona and a regular reader of this weblog, as well as his wife and baby girl last night for supper. Today, he showed us around his lab at the U of A.

Ron is involved with a satellite project. He is helping to build a satellite which will be launched in the next year. We saw a model today. It is barely six inches square.

Last year, I reported on a project which sent a spacecraft to collect some specks of comet dust which would be brought back to earth to be analyzed. I had talked to one of the scientists who was preparing a lab to receive approximately 10 specks of said comet dust.

It was apparently on the news, but I missed it until Ron informed me of it last evening: the spacecraft carrying the comet dust crashed. One of the chutes didn't open. They are still trying to recover some of the samples, but it is unlikely that any of them will be uncompromised by the trauma of the accident.

The University of Arizona landed a $350 million project to explore the polar regions of Mars. Of course, some of the money is spent elsewhere, but a good chunk is spent right here in Arizona.

For political reasons, it is good to have part of each grant spent in each state of the Union. Makes it easier to get through Congress.

WITH THE rain in Tucson, we have been hanging out at bookstores and furniture stores. I think I found a chair that I must have for a specific place in the house. It is a good deal, but would cost $75 to ship to MN. Not bad. I will think on it over night.

Now I am sitting at the University of Arizona library, surfing the net. It was sort of a surprise to see my picture of the Mitey Mac incident displayed on Ron's computer. Such are the wonders of the web.