Monday, September 17, 2007

Off to the telescope review panel meeting

This morning, I'm sitting at the Austin airport, off to the Time Allocation Committee meeting I've been asked to participate in. For the next two days, I'll be sitting in a room with 5 or 6 other people, trying to decide whose projects are worthy of telescope time and whose miss the cut. As I've been reading, some projects seem pretty obviously good or bad; it's the big middle that will be hard.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to say much more than generic comments about it. I've had to sign various nondisclosure agreements (NASA's legal staff), but, even outside of that, it is considered bad form to talk too much. If other scientists hear the ideas that are being proposed, they may try and steal somebody else's project (usually it would not be purposeful; someone might say, "oh, that's a good idea, I could do that," and then go off and do it before the original scientist could.

In other news, if you didn't hear, as part of their Lunar X Prize, Google is letting members of the public submit electronic photos and messages that, for a $10 fee, will be carried to the moon by robots that will be landing on the moon. These photos will be in electronic form, and presumably the money is going to help fund the lunar prize purse. If you are interested in reading more, here is the Lunar Legacy website with details on the program. I'm not sure yet if I will participate in this or not; I have a feeling that I would be the only person ever to see the photo I would submit to go to the moon. But, as you might be interested in such a thing, I though I'd mention it.

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