Great seats for the Inaugural Parade


If you’re watching – or attending – today’s Inaugural Parade, stay tuned till the end.

A prototype of NASA’s Lunar Electric Rover and a bevy of astronauts will be bringing up the rear of the parade.  The nimble Lunar Electric Rover is a pick-up sized concept vehicle NASA is considering using when humans return to the moon.

Astronaut Mike Gernhardt will drive the rover. Astronaut Rex Walheim, wearing a spacesuit, will ride with him. NASA will record video during the parade from a camera mounted on the lunar rover. A member of the lunar rover team will provide live updates to the NASA News Twitter feed throughout the event.

This isn’t the first time NASA vehicles have been part of the inaugural festivities. One example:  the Apollo 7 float, which included the capsule and crew, took part of President Nixon’s first inauguration in 1969.


Photos courtesy NASA.

Quiet please, the pilot is sleeping

Here’s a thoughtful, educational, and alarming article about the issue of napping pilots by James Wallace at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In addition to recounting the details of the Go! airline pilots that fell asleep on their way from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii last February, Wallace describes a NASA study conducted to determine if intentional napping could help pilots stay alert.

Bottom line: napping helps.

But – here’s the scary part – Wallace also describes a recent suit filed against the FAA by seven U.S. carriers (including Continental, United, American, JetBlue and US Airways) over new requirements that require extra rest for crews on ulta-long-range flights.

Bottom line: it may be time to put espresso bars on airplanes.