Global Dance Festival 2016

Red Rocks and Denver Skyline at Global Dance Fest GDF 2016

Global Dance Festival 2016

    There are a few places and events I’ve been to many times but never blogged about. Right now will manage to kill two of those birds with one post by telling you about Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. Red Rocks is not your typical concert venue because it’s carved out of the side of a mountain and overlooks Denver. Many years ago a very good friend of mine said that standing in the bowl of the amphitheater feels like you are in the hand of God. Cup your hand and hold it in front of your face. The bottom of your palm is the stage and the top of your fingers are where I was standing when I took the photo you see above. Those lights on the horizon are Denver.

Dancing at GDF 2016

Dancing at Red Rocks During GDF 2016

    I would guess this was my tenth time attending GDF since 2001 but it was my first time bringing my camera to the show. GDF is held in the middle of summer, which means the weather is perfect for tailgating, people watching, dancing and partying. My friends and I get there early and leave late.

Masked at Global Dance Fest 2016

People at Global Dance Fest 2016

    The music plays nonstop for about six hours and you will be dancing, in one form or another for at least that long. Global Dance Fest is the world heavyweight champion festival of electronic dance music (EDM) and since it lasts for three days, just about anyone will be able to attend at least one day, no matter what your work schedule demands of you.

PLUR Peace Love Unity Respect GDF 2016

Peace Love Unity Respect

    What it comes down to is love. In a world with where it can seem enemies and stress are always at the gates, GDF is an oasis of peace, love, unity and respect. PLUR. PLUR. Peace, love unity and respect. Those are all things we can use more of and they are all free. You can produce, receive and project all of those things with less than the flick of a wrist. Cheers!

NASA Social OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Event

Osiris Rex Clean Room Launch Position

OSIRIS-REx Inside Lockheed Martin Clean Room

    NASA Social is a program that invites the social media followers of NASA to get up close and personal with what is going on with our space program, learn about missions and meet the people that make a living from science. This particular event was a chance to see the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-collecting spacecraft. This is a craft that will be blasted into space on an Atlas rocket, transit to a 540 yard wide asteroid named Bennu, collect a sample from the surface of the asteroid and them bring that sample back to Earth for analysis. Yeah, we have people right here in Denver that figured out how to do all that and I got to photograph their work and talk to them! The photo above shows the clean room where the craft is assembled and prepped for launch. The spacecraft is on the right, in the position it will be in when it is launched.

Osiris Rex Clean Room Scientists

Lockheed Martin Scientists & Engineers

    I’ll do my best to explain what the craft is, who’s building it and what it mean to us humans to get a look at a pristine sample of a 4.5 billion year old piece of matter. First, the name of the mission is: OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission. OSIRIS-REx is an acronym that incorporates the mission’s major concepts and goals.

    O – Origins

    SI – Spectral Interpretation

    RI – Resource Identification

    S – Security

    REx – Regolith Explorer

Osiris Rex Spacecraft Model

Demonstration Of Asteroid Touch & Go Manuever

    Lockheed Martin has built the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and that includes the sampling system and the sample return capsule at their campus in Littleton, Colorado. The science instruments come from various space agencies and universities. While the timeline from launch to sample return will take 7 years, the actual sample collection will only take a few seconds. What you see on the photo above are 3D printed models of the craft and the asteroid (not to scale) as they will appear when the craft gets ready to collect the sample. The small arm you see extended from the craft is the only part that will touch the asteroid. It is called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism or TAGSAM for short. It will touch down, a puff of inert gas will move surface material into the collection vessel and then the arm will deposit the vessel into the return capsule. All of that will happen in less time that it took you to read this sentence.

Osiris Rex TAGSAM Sample Return Capsule

Up Close & Personal With TAGSAM

    In the photo above there are a few cool things you’ll want to notice. In the foreground you see an actual size model of the sample return capsule. On the inside of the lid there are three clips around that small circle. It’s those clips that will grab and hold the sample recovery vessel as the TAGSAM presses it into place. The gentleman above is holding the hose that will puff the inert gas into the round recovery vessel that is sitting on the table. On game day, that small vessel will be maneuvered by the TAGSAM into that circle in the lid of the capsule. After that the capsule lid will close, detach from the craft and then make its way back to Earth, to the deserts of Utah to be exact. You may see that the part sitting on the table there, the part that will be touching the asteroid and collecting the sample looks like an air filter from a 1969 Pontiac GTO. That is because the basic principle of an automobile air filter is being used on this craft. Stones, pebbles and dust can enter one side of the filter but can’t get out on the other; simply brilliant. Notice how the wall back there is dark and rocky, kind of what you might think an asteroid might look like? I’ll explain that in a bit.

Osiris Rex Sample Collecting Spacecraft

Sample Return Capsule

    Here is a view of the actual sample return capsule atop the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The craft will be in this orientation when it’s launched but it will be flipped around so the capsule and all the instruments are facing the asteroid while in orbit and as the sample is collected.

Asteroid Wall Training Room NASA Social

Spacecraft Testing Facility

    There is a giant structure with a 45 foot tall mockup of what they believe the surface of Bennu will be like. They call it the asteroid wall and the tracks you see in the photo above are used to maneuver special machines that hold the spacecraft components while they are tested on the asteroid wall.

NASA Social Asteroid Wall Group Shot

NASA Social Group Photo At The Asteroid Wall

    We all posed for a NASA Social group shot in front of the asteroid wall. Of course I jumped out so I could get my own shot. I really have to hand it to The employees at Lockheed Martin that showed us around and kept us entertained for the entire day; they made all of us feel important a showed us things that most people will never see. OSIRIS-REx is going to track an asteroid that will be moving at 63,000 MPH, touch it, shoot a capsule full of asteroid back to Earth and show us just how far back our family tree goes. I found out about NASA Social and how to apply from Laura Keeney, an ex-journalist turned Lockheed Martin employee in Denver, Colorado. You should follow her on Twitter.

Osiris Rex Clean Room Lockheed Martin

Full View Of The Clean Room

    The first shot for this post and the one above were both taken from the observation deck that looks into the clean room were the spacecraft is assembled and scientific instrument are attached. While I was in there, the craft into launch position and that is shown in the video below. It took about three and a half minutes in real time but is compressed into 23 seconds, making it a little cooler. You love space, you love what NASA does and you want to own a spaceship right? Well, your foot in the door to seeing stuff you love and stuff you want to own is the NASA Social website. Look at the upcoming events and if you can travel to one of them do it! You will get to see things that will blow your mind and you’ll get to take pictures of things that most of the world will only know through YOUR photos. You write about your once in a lifetime experience and post photos on your blog and that how the rest of the world will know about it. Everything you blog about will be read and looked at for many many years.

OSIRIS-REx Rotating To Launch Position

    Get in touch with and follow NASA Social and Lockheed Martin at the following places:

    NASA Social Website

    NASA Social on Twitter

    OSIRIS-REx on Twitter

    Lockheed Martin on Twitter

    Apply for an event, travel somewhere cool, take photos and then post. We were made for this!

Mercury Transits Across The Sun

Mercury Transit 2016 Double Exposure

The Transit Of Mercury

    The orbits of Mercury and Earth lined up in such a way on May 9, 2016 that Mercury swept directly between the sun and us. From sunrise until just after lunch, those of us with the optics and equipment were able to watch Mercury, as a small black spot, move from one side of the sun to the other. For you photographers out there my settings for shooting the sun were: 1/4000th of a second, f/32, 100 ISO with a 10 stop neutral density filter attached to a 200mm lens. The photo above has two images taken that day, separated by just over two hours of time. Mercury is the lower of the two black spots you see on the sun. For all you fact checkers and history loggers, the left one was taken at 8:20am and the other at 10:36am Mountain time, from just outside Denver, CO. Cheers!

Walking Around Downtown Denver

Ryan And Millennium Bridge Denver 2016

Ryan Shoots Millennium Bridge

    Downtown Denver is a fun place for street photography. Yesterday I joined Ryan and a few other cats for a walk around the west edge of the 16th Street Mall, where the Millennium Bridge crosses over the light rail tracks.

Denver Police Millennium Bridge

Denver Police Millennium Bridge

    There are steps to walk up and back down again to take you to a bridge that will cross the South Platte River right next to a massive flight of stone stairs.

Skate Rail Steps In Denver

The Steps At South Platte

    The flat area above and the wide landing pad below make the 15 foot metal hand rail and it’s 10 foot vertical drop a location for skaters all over Denver.

Ryan and the Gang in Denver

Ryan and the Gang in Denver

    The Cherry Creek bike path lead us back into downtown where we would all go our separate ways.

Denver Light Rail Over Cherry Creek

Denver Light Rail Over Cherry Creek

    The light rail C Line crosses Cherry Creek on its way to Union Station right before we all headed out to whatever came next. I really do like being back in Denver.