Remembering Challenger, Making Connections

On this date in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded on ascent, only 73 seconds after lifting off the ground at 11:38a.m., after being hit by the biggest wind shear an orbiter had recorded. Two space shuttle astronauts celebrated birthdays that day. John M. Fabian was born in 1939 and flew two shuttle missions, the first of which was Challenger’s second flight. He was in … Continue reading Remembering Challenger, Making Connections

Opportunity Knocks

On January 25, 2004, a robotic rover called Opportunity landed on the surface of Mars, our closest neighbor planet. Opportunity’s life story is a good model for thinking about our own human goals. It took more than five months and more than 34 million miles to get there, but that day marked the beginning of the rover’s real work. The next 21-plus miles has been … Continue reading Opportunity Knocks

Guest Blog: Jeff Porter

On March 2, Anna will be joined by four other writers at “Fallout & Facts: Creative Nonfiction in the Nuclear Age” at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Panelist Kristen Iversen, author of the forthcoming Full Body Burden, has already contributed a guest post to Lofty Ambitions (click HERE). Today, we a post by another panelist, Jeff Porter. We’ve not yet met Jeff Porter, … Continue reading Guest Blog: Jeff Porter

In the Footsteps (Part 11)

We spent yesterday in Pasadena—at CalTech and Vroman’s Bookstore—because that’s how we chose to spend one of Doug’s vacation days. We had been planning to visit the CalTech archives for a while, but we chose yesterday because our colleague Tom Zoellner was reading at Vroman’s from his new book A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us about the Grand Canyon State … Continue reading In the Footsteps (Part 11)

Interview: Hank Hartsfield

Before we get to today’s video interview, Lofty Ambitions extends condolences to the family and friends of Roger Boisjoly, who died last Friday. Boisjoly was a whistleblower in the Challenger accident investigation and an advocate for ethics in the workplace. You can read his guest post for Lofty Ambitions HERE.   Henry W. Hartsfield, Jr., became a NASA astronaut in 1969. But even before that, he … Continue reading Interview: Hank Hartsfield

International Geophysical Year and the Cold War (Part 2)

You may want to start with Part 1 of our piece about the International Geophysical Year (IGY) and the Cold War. To do that, click HERE. In last week’s post, we gave an overview of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a globally organized and implement scientific program, which took place from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958.  As we have learned more about the … Continue reading International Geophysical Year and the Cold War (Part 2)

Guest Blog: Brigid Leahy

We know this week’s guest blogger exceptionally well. Brigid Leahy is Anna’s sister and a fellow alum of Knox College, where Doug met her lo those many years ago. By day, Brigid is Director of Legislation at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, but when she’s not at work, she’s an Elvis fan and fosters dogs for the Animal Protective League. Honestly, we thought, if Brigid wrote … Continue reading Guest Blog: Brigid Leahy