Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


October 2012 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 28th Year of Publication


October 9 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so either contact Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at mdspacebr@aol.com no later than noon on Friday, October 5th. Dr. Claire Parkinson, Climatologist/Climate Change Senior Scientist in the Sciences and Exploration Directorate, will speak on the topic of “What About Geoengineering? Why Is It Being Considered, and What Are the Proposals?” She will review the reasoning behind geoengineering and some proposed suggestions being considered to better understand and potentially temper future global warming.
November 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: At the September GRAA Luncheon, Michael Comberiate, better known around the world as NASA Mike, described how he has conducted a variety of expeditions to the Antarctic and Arctic ice caps to conduct experiments using homemade robots. He calls his efforts “Engineering on a Shoestring” because he relies on a few dollars from flight projects, small outreach grants, and interns. As many as 55 interns have taken part in developing the hardware and software for wind- and solar-powered GROVER-1 and -2 robots (the acronym standing for Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research), which Mike’s group tested in Antarctica and Greenland. The latest expedition to the North Pole was executed start-to-finish in 90 days and was truly an international effort. Russian aircraft took 25 Americans and their equipment to Svalbard, Norway, and beyond to 89 degrees north latitude, for $2K per person. Tourists typically pay $12K for such a journey. Swedish rifle markswomen and dogs provided watch and protection from polar bears. Mike also demonstrated how current robotic technology is making advances in prosthetic arms and hands and closed his presentation by exhibiting a device his group has developed that provides ultraviolet germicidal protection for use in hospitals. If you would like to view some of the many photographs he has captured on his trips around the world and read about the many projects he has worked on during his career, check out his web site at http://www.nasamike.com.

FROM THE GODDARD ARCHIVES - IT HAPPENED ON OCTOBER 27, 1962: A Thor-Delta rocket launched Explorer 15 or SERB 53B (the Department of Defense Space Experiments Review Board). This spacecraft, using the backup payload from Explorer 14, accepted the SERB’s challenge of studying the artificial radiation belt produced by the Soviet’s Starfish high-altitude nuclear burst of July 1962 by modifying the backup payload and instrumenting, testing, and launching the spacecraft in 90 days from start to finish. Explorer 15 discovered more artificial radiation belts than expected, as the Soviets conducted more high-altitude nuclear explosions just before and after the launch.

RECENT RETIREE: Vladimir J. Lumelsky

VOYAGER 1 AND 2 CELEBRATE ANNIVERARIES : The Voyager 1 and 2 celebrated their 35th anniversaries, respectively, on September 5th and August 20th. Despite being relics of the Space Age, the twin spacecraft have done remarkably well over the years and are still ticking. Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles from the sun and Voyager 2 is lagging somewhat behind at a mere 9 million miles. Each only has 68 kilobytes of computer memory. To put that in perspective, the smallest iPod is 100,000 times more powerful. Each also has an eight-track tape recorder, while today’s spacecraft use digital memory. They have certainly lived beyond the realm of expectations when conceived and still have enough fuel to last until around 2020.

GEWA’S 21st ANNUAL FALL CRAFTS FAIR : Members interested in starting their holiday shopping early may want to check out GEWA’s Annual Fall Crafts Fair scheduled for Monday, October 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Building 8 Auditorium.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from members Louis Dod, Henry Hoffman, George Hogan, Elbert and Anneliese Jones, David Pfenning, and Thomas Ryan.


•  Wanamaker Lawrence, of Rocky Mount, NC, passed away on August 9th. He was a Supply Management Specialist at Wallops Flight Facility.

•  Frank B. McDonald, of University Park, MD, passed away on August 31st from a cerebral hemorrhage which occurred the previous day when he collapsed after presenting a talk to colleagues during a symposium at the University of Michigan. As an Astrophysicist, he was truly a Goddard pioneer, arriving in 1959 to be Head of the Energetic Particles Branch until 1970. He was Chief of the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics from 1970 to 1982, when he transferred to NASA Headquarters to be NASA Chief Scientist until 1987. He then returned to Goddard to serve as Associate Director/Chief Scientist until retiring in 1989. From then to his passing he was a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland.

•  Jaylee M. Mead, of Washington, DC, passed away from congestive heart failure on September 14th. She transferred from the State Department in 1959 to become a Goddard pioneer, where she served for 33 years as both a Mathematician and Astronomer prior to retiring in 1992. One of her assignments saw her helping create a computerized database of stars and galaxies, a tool used by astronomers seeking to identify new celestial bodies. Jaylee and her husband, Gilbert, who was heir to a paper manufacturing fortune, became noted philanthropists throughout the Washington area and contributed most generously to enhance the local cultural scene.

•  C. William Murray, of Cooperstown, NY, passed away on August 13th from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was an Applied Mathematician at Goddard and worked on the Apollo program writing analyses of trajectory data for spacecraft entry into space and reentry to Earth.

•  Frances A. (Frannie) Shryock-Hesson, of Deale, MD, perished in a head-on collision in Deale on September 8th. While working at Goddard she was a Secretary in Procurement, won the Miss Goddard contest one year, and was a talented musician and vocalist in her spare time.

GODDARD MEMORIAL SERVICE PLANNED : Goddard management officials have notified us that a memorial service for Dr. Frank B. McDonald is being planned for November 16th. Details have yet to be finalized, but we will include them in the November issue of the newsletter.

DINOSAUR FOOTPRINT FOUND AT GODDARD : Dinosaur tracker Ray Stanford says he found the fossilized footprint of a spiny dinosaur on the campus. Nodosaurs roamed the area some 65 to 125 million years ago and were plant-eaters. This one appears to have been moving quickly across the mud (no doubt trying to beat the Friday afternoon traffic on the day he retired). We have lined up Ray to speak at next April’s luncheon to learn the rest of the story.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: It is highly unlikely, generally speaking, that we learn much when our lips are moving.