Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The International Space Station

A few months ago I got a smartphone. I love playing with the thing. My recent fixation is a Ken-Ken puzzle app. The nerd in me finds them strangely addicting. I am constantly amazed at how powerful the phone is and how that technology can used. You can go from incredibly dumb things (like turning your phone into a virtual lighter, whip or mug of beer) to incredibly useful (like turning the phone's camera into a compass - strangely handy on construction sites). The apps that absolutely amaze me are the astronomy apps. Point the phone at a star and it tells you the name of the star and the constellation it's in. And the app that totally floors me every time is ISS Detector. This thing points you in the direction of the International Space Station as it flies overhead. Last night just before 10 I walked out onto the deck with the phone and waited for the space station to come flying over the house. Then there is was. A little ball of light flying across the sky. In about 5 minutes it was out of sight again. Some nights (depending on the path the space station is on) you can see it about every 2 hours. That's how fast the thing is going. So which is more impressive: There is currently a manned space station orbiting earth every 2 hours or the little magic box in my pocket that can point at it. Tough call. And kudo's NASA. That Mars rover landing kicked ass.

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