Tag Archives: JPL

Stuff That Weighs More Than Me: Cassini Spacecraft

As I was writing my post about “waving at Saturn” yesterday, I had a realization.  “Hey,” I thought, “I’ll bet that Cassini Spacecraft taking photos from Saturn weighs more than me.”

So I started investigating.  Despite the fact that it is expensive to launch stuff into space, Cassini is pretty big.  It is bristling with lots of scientific instruments designed to function like our human senses to detect stuff in space.  Ready?  Here’s the stats:

Stabilization: 3 axis-stabilized spacecraft utilizing both thrusters and reaction wheels to stay at the right angle and on course.

Launch Vehicle: Titan IV-B/Centaur

Satellite of: Saturn

Planets flown by: Venus, Moon, Earth, Masursky, Jupiter, Saturn’s moons

Weight (Mass): 2,523 kg (5,560 lb)

Conclusion: The Cassini Spacecraft weighs more than me.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. The images are starting to come in from Friday’s photo shoot and they are stunning.  Here’s a sample to wet your whistle:

That little white arrow is pointing to the Earth.

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First Interplanetary “Photobomb”–Geeks Celebrate Globally

Mr and Ms. Geek Wave at Saturn during NASA's World's Largest Photobomb

Mr and Ms. Geek Celebrate NASA’s World’s Largest Photobomb

Last week Friday, my hubby and I confirmed our card-carrying geek status by participating in the first interplanetary photobomb.  On Friday, July 19 between 14:27 and 14:42 PST, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took aim from its perch in the Saturn system and started taking pictures of our fair planet.  Earthlings were given fair warning that the photos were to take place.  We were encouraged to go outside during that magic fifteen minutes, look east and “wave at Saturn”.  And when NASA calls, my husband and I are not about to shirk our duties.  I put on some lipstick, we went outside, and we waved like mad people.  We participated in the event that NASA has dubbed, the first interplanetary photobomb and “the day the earth smiled”.

Yup, I went and got the certificate...

Yup, I went and got the certificate…

Now given the fact the photo was taken from over 900 million miles away, I’m not sure the lipstick was strictly necessary.  It will take a little bit longer for NASA to process the photos, but we’re told the Earth will likely only appear as small blue dot–probably one or two pixels wide.  All of this got me to thinking about you my dear readers and how the world’s first interplanetary photobomb might be relevant to the size acceptance movement.

Simulated view of NASA photo. As you can see, I probably didn’t need to get a manicure first…

1. It’s more fun to do crazy things with other people Yes, my neighbors thought we were crazy.  But at least with my husband by my side I felt less likely to get hauled away to a rubber room.  Heck at JPL hundreds of people gathered to wave at the ringed planet.  (I think those with hula hoops were particularly inspired.)  But I think that’s an important lesson for our size acceptance community.  Whether it’s doing a flesh mob in bikinis at the beach, staging a “kiss-in” on the steps of a major New York publication, or exercising on the street to protest a 24-Hour Fitness billboard we can do amazing, powerful, fun and crazy things as long as we do them together.

Hundreds of folks gathered at the JPL mall to “wave at Saturn”

2.  There’s a lot of perspective to be had out there.  Of course we all have problems.  And of course they seem like the biggest thing in the world out there.  But it pays to look at the bigger picture.  (And as big pictures go, the “Wave at Saturn” one is likely to be pretty darn huge.)  It’s easier to cope with the next stupid pseudo-science death fat article and the next Joan Rivers celebrity fat bashing gaffe if we can take it into perspective.

3. Framing is important.  It is unclear at this point how many people participated in the first “interplanetary photo bomb”.  However, I think it’s fair to say that more people participated in “Wave at Saturn” or “The World’s Largest Photo Bomb” than would have participated in the “wave at the sky and look like an idiot” project.  That’s not to say that every aspect of what we do needs to be reduced to a sound byte or a photo opp or a social networking stunt.  But I do think it’s important to use all of those tools from time to time to create connection points for our community.  I think it is important to think about how we can be welcoming, how we can create on-ramps for people to find size acceptance and how we can create opportunities for people to feel how great it is to be part of our group.  And I think what we name these things and how we present them are important as well.

So what do you think?  I’m looking forward to seeing our “solar system group portrait” when it comes out.  But in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about some other fun things we can do to connect our size diversity community to the wider universe.  Just hit me in the comments section below.

Love,

The Fat Chick

UPDATE: Somebody has created a RAD FATTY MAP.  Go here to enter your deets!

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

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Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

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or

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