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A Brief Pause From The Ordinary..., Demographics time--please just humor me
djellison
post Apr 18 2005, 09:15 PM
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QUOTE (SFJCody @ Apr 18 2005, 05:40 PM)
I'm a 23 year old ex-student and part-time lazybones living in Farnborough, Hampshire. In october I will be a grad student.  ohmy.gif
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Farnborough eh - you should try and make it up to the BAA meeting on Sat smile.gif

Doug
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Borek
post Apr 18 2005, 09:41 PM
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I got deeply interested in astronomy in my childhood after watching landmark TV series in (then) Czechoslovak TV. Since then I wanted to be an astronomer, but unfortunately I have no talent for maths, so I ended up with computers. I am interested in many other sciences ranging from biology to linguistics, but astronomy and unmanned spaceflight is my real passion. My other hobby, that consumes most of my time is photography.
I am 31, work as a network administrator for a Czech mobile operator.
BTW, my favourite space probe are the Voyagers.
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mhoward
post Apr 18 2005, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE (Borek @ Apr 18 2005, 09:41 PM)
  BTW, my favourite space probe are the Voyagers.
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Had to add to my post: Probably my favorite memory is watching the raw images come in from the Voyager Neptune encounter, on cable TV, for something like three days as I recall. Just like Star Trek: exploring new worlds - except in real life. But I don't know, MER may be my new favorite.
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Nirgal
post Apr 18 2005, 10:04 PM
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yet another software engineer here.
Age: 37
living in Europe (south-west Germany, not far from Switzerland smile.gif

have been fascinated by and following all the space missions since childhood.
(One of those books I've read back in the early seventies predicted that
"by the year 1986, huge nuclear powered manned space ships will fly to mars and back" ... I've waited for it to happen ever since blink.gif
well ´... so the MERs are the next best thing to that wink.gif

I'm also interested in mathematics, philosophy, artificial intelligence and
writing image processing software ... also dabbling a bit in space art
(my Idol: Don Davis wink.gif

And apart from all the "head-stuff" I'm also doing quite a bit
sports like mountain biking/hiking (especially love the swiss mountains) and snowboarding smile.gif
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wyogold
post Apr 18 2005, 10:51 PM
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I am 34 I have an ex-wife and 4 kids. I work as an electrician. Wiring everything from houses to industrial plants. I've been interested in space forever. I used to lie in my back yard at night and stare at the sky to observe the rare passage of a satellite usually 2 or 3 a night. Oh how times have changed. I followed voyager with national geographic. I am an avid computer buff. I tend to fix computers after the "profesional" works on my friends computers. The pro gets the money and then i fix the problem after they leave go figure. I taught myself to program BASIC when i was 8 on a c64/tsr-80/apple. Oh how times have changed. I am a ham (amature) radio operator. I also prospect for gold and my most recent endeavor is Wyoming opal...Boy did i let the cat out of the bag... I love this forum and thank all involved for the wonderful intelligent stimulating discussions on here and the huge investment of time. bringing about the great pictures from mars that you can't get anywhere else. You guys rock. mmb rocks. This universe is a fascinating place.

It blows my mind to fathom we have a rover on another planet millions of miles away and here we are playing with the pictures, each in our little homes, and via the internet we are connected to each other and jpl and the rovers.

fascinating.

scott
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RedSky
post Apr 18 2005, 10:58 PM
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Hi all,

I'm 51, and remember in the early 60's, in elementry school, carrying our little wooden chairs from our classrooms to the All Purpose Room (i.e., the Gym) to watch the launch of the first few Mercury flights on a grainy Black & White TV. But what really got me interested in Space was when we did the same thing for a live Ranger moon (crash) landing. I recall seeing the images coming in as the craft closed in to its ultimate fate. I found out that all but the last 5 images were easily seen in a typical amateur telescope.... So at age 12, I saved up and bought a Criterion Dynascope... a 6-inch reflector with a clock drive popular at the time (for $195.00).

I wound up getting a degree in Physics & Astronomy at the Univeristy of Virginia.... (my father used to say I went to college to *take up space*) but while there, I saw too many astro grad students leaving in the early- to mid-70's with their their MS's and PhD's only to have to get jobs as *scientific applications programmers* (using FORTRAN and punchcards! for those of you who don't know the dark ages). Space interest had really slowed down in the mid-70's with Apollo 17, Skylab, and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

So went to Gradschool and got an MS in Atmospheric Physics (i.e., meteorology), bringing the science from my astronomy days *down to earth*, so to speak. For the last 25 years, I've been working on Natural Hazards... developing models to estimate damage and losses from natural catastrophes (hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, etc). for an insurance research firm.

Also just wanted to say how lucky we are today (compared to the 70's and 80's) for the internet. Do you know how data-starved we were to find out anything about the Surveyors, Lunar Orbiters, Vikings, Voyagers, etc., back then? You might see a short story on the national TV news or NY Times for a day or two... then have to wait a month or two for Sky & Telescope magazine to come out to show a few good pictures and the real story. Today its sooooo fantastic with almost real time status and pictures.

I moved from Connecticut to central Florida a few years ago... and the first launch I ever witnessed in person (albeit 40 miles south of the pad) was the final flight of Columbia. I've made a point of watching almost every launch since then... including Spirit and Opportunity!

John (RedSky)
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PaleBlueDot
post Apr 19 2005, 12:06 AM
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hi, long time lurker came here from space.com forums, must say i like these better, im 24, 2 years into my phd in robotics, some of my work is done at jpl, but im too new to have worked on mer. i guess my claim to fame is that ive actualy tested some of my robots in the mars yard.
~mike
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jamescanvin
post Apr 19 2005, 01:21 AM
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Ok, so I'm 28 and come from the land of concrete cows and roundabouts. However I'm now living at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia (slightly differenent!) and 'sometimes' come into work, where I'm paid to try and understand extragalactic radio jets like this...





JC


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Bill Harris
post Apr 19 2005, 01:36 AM
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I'm 55-ish, geologist/hydrologist for the past 30-or-so years. I was a space-nut even back in the 50's. In my late teens I wanted to be an astronomer. By college (late 60's) I decided that I favored planetary "astronomy" most and went into geology with the intention of climbing the degree ladder. The economy tanked in the mid-70's and I got into geotechnical grunt jobs to pay bills instead of grad school. In the early 80's I started a career in environmental assessments and mitigation of the impacts of coal mining and reclamation in the southeast USofA, where I have worked for 25-or-so years.

I still like planetary geology, but have less of the Buck Rogers fervor that I had in the early years.

--Bill


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MizarKey
post Apr 19 2005, 01:55 AM
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It's been great reading about all of you...

I'm 42, my job is as a User Support Analyst for the Human Services Agency for a county in California...luckily I get a few hours each day at work to keep up on all things Mars / Space.
I became interested in astronomy around the age of 14, my first star map came out of a National Geographic. Somehow I managed to locate Saturn in the sky and it has finally gotten around to being is relatively the same spot in Gemini where I first saw it all those years ago with my department store 2.4" refractor.
Saturn was my first 'love', I even did a science project about it in 8th grade.
I became a Trekkie at age 15 and fully believe we are being prepared for eventual disclosure that we are not alone in the universe.
My interest in Mars actually started thanks to Richard Hoagland's book about the 'Face on Mars'. I have since discovered there are enough interesting things about Mars that you don't have to make stuff up about it. You could call me a reformed anomolist, much of it thanks to this board and it's practical level headedness.
While I wish our Space program was much further along (bases on the Moon and Mars by now...mining asteroids...that sort of thing), the Computer age is a great time to be alive. I've been able to say "Thank You" directly to people who have given me so much joy (Don Davis for his Space art, Gary Wright for his music, some authors for their books...), it's truly an amazing time!

Eric


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Eric P / MizarKey
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Bubbinski
post Apr 19 2005, 03:03 AM
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Hey all....I'm 34 and I worked as a tech support rep (over the phone) for 7 years before moving into a quasi-supervisory position (listening in on other techs and coaching them) and am now in training for a pre-sales position answering questions about networking equipment. I got hooked on the space program by the Voyager flyby of Uranus and the Challenger disaster when I was in high school. I'd hoped to become an astronaut and/or get into a career in space science, but I had too hard a time with calculus sad.gif

I live in Utah, but I've lived in some other places over the years as well. I've even been lucky enough to see a space shuttle launch in Florida (at night, no less, two miles from the launch pad) and I've seen the shuttle Enterprise in the Udvar-Hazy center. (Too bad the space hangar wasn't fully opened yet! I plan on going back to D.C. sometime and seeing that again, as well as lots of other spacecraft, planes, and things). And who knows, my dream of going into space may yet come true.

This board is awesome, and I enjoy keeping up on the Mars rovers, Cassini, and other space projects. I also enjoy building models of aircraft and spacecraft, and I built a paper model of the MER, which enjoyed a prominent place at my cubicle before I got transferred and sent to training for my current position.
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David
post Apr 19 2005, 03:30 AM
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As of the last post, the median age was 34 and the mean 35. There is quite a cluster of us in our mid-30s (birthdates 1968-1974). I wonder if being exposed to the Vikings and Voyagers at a young age had a lasting impact, or if it was something else. But none of us is old enough to remember the Apollo missions.

The 33 people who have answered so far fit neatly into 3 cohorts: eleven born before 1965; eleven 1965-1975 (actually 1968-1974, as above); and eleven born since 1975, who I guess are too young to remember Viking or even maybe Voyager at Jupiter. I wonder what differences in outlook that creates (if anything).
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Pete B.
post Apr 19 2005, 03:48 AM
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Dropping out of lurker mode:

Although I am absolutely incredulous over this fact, I’m 55. I work as a government technical information specialist with the library at NASA Goddard. I’ve mostly spent the last 15 years managing the book, journal, and database/search engine collections and resources. Before getting into the library field, I got an M.S. in geology, mainly dealing with planetary topics: impact cratering and lunar soils. Another grad student and I worked on soils from Apollo’s 15 and 17, including a portion of this sample from the Station 6 boulder: http://store1.yimg.com/I/skyimage_1839_1990028

I grew up in Huntsville Alabama. My father started working for the Von Braun team in 1954, moved over to NASA Marshall in 1960 and stayed until he retired in 1990. I think, but am not entirely certain, that he fabricated and assembled the mechanical solar system model (orrey) that was a prop in the short films on space exploration that Walt Disney produced in the mid-50’s. He also fabricated some parts for the rocket that launched Explorer 1. From one end of our yard we could look out some 10-12 km to the Saturn V engine test stands for the several hot firings that were conducted at Marshall. I’ve seen 3 launches: the second unmanned Saturn V from some VIP stands (but not at the VAB); STS 8, and as we were driving south on past the Cape during a family vacation to Florida, a rocket took off, catching us completely by surprise. I later found out that it was Mariner 7!

One final comment, to echo what RedSky said – I attended a number of the Lunar and Planetary Science conferences in Houston in the 70’s. One of them was the 1979 meeting, which happened a few weeks after Voyager 1 flew past Jupiter. The poster sessions were the first chance that many of us had to see better photos of the planet and satellites than the grainy half-tone images in the newspapers. So all of you “youngsters” with your fancy-schmantzy web and jpegs and tiffs of Mars and Saturn on your computer screens every morning, you don’t know how easy you have it. In my day we actually had to drive or fly to other places to see that kind of stuff! biggrin.gif

And PaleBlueDot – this may not be your kind of music but here is a clip of a song Pale Blue Dot http://vinylkings.com/palebluedot.htm .
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mike
post Apr 19 2005, 04:36 AM
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I'm 28, and I've always been interested in the exploration of space, anything interesting, really. Space is nice because it is vast, infinite maybe, and so anything you can imagine probably exists, or did exist, or will exist, and amazingly enough, we can even fly up there and take a look for ourselves.

I got my B.S. in software engineering technology (designing and implementing software, basically), but I lost interest in that pretty quickly. Writing business apps so someone else can maximize their profit margin is not for me. smile.gif And I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll run out of software to write, anyway.

I've moved on to fiction, turning my creativity to something a bit more human than an endless string of 1s and 0s, and I have a feeling my novel will soon be published, though I suppose it's technically feasible that there might possibly be some miniscule chance that I may be wrong, perhaps.

It's interesting to see the wide cross-section of people who peruse the boards.. oh yeah, and I vaguely remember seeing pictures from Voyager, I think, in National Geographic, but as far as remembering the actual events I only really remember Challenger. I had actually forgotten completely about Pathfinder until the MERs started getting coverage and the media brought it up. I doubt I'll forget about the MERs, though. smile.gif
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CosmicRocker
post Apr 19 2005, 05:28 AM
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Wow! When Nasaman58 started this topic, I never guessed it would reveal so much of the underlying fabric that makes this the best space forum on the web today. No wonder the quality here is so high. There is a huge diversity of people from all walks of life and from all over the planet, all with one deep-seated desire...to understand the universe around them and to communicate with like-minded individuals. What an amazing community this is.

I wasn't here when this forum started, but Doug created something almost magical here, and I feel privileged to have found it.

OK. I was thinking that I was going to win the oldest member award, at roughly 54.60239 years old. I shaved some of the precision off of that estimate, since I really don't remember the exact hms of my birth date, nor the exact time I will publish this. Regardless, it appears I am one of the older members.

I am a geologist by training and at heart, though I have been working for the past dozen years as an environmental engineer for a chemical company. I have been interested in space for as long as I can remember. I recall my father taking me outside to look toward the sky, hoping to see Sputnik after just turning 7 years old. I remember Dad bringing home a sample of the (I think aluminized mylar) material the Echo satellite was made from, and going out to look for it. I remember waking in the morning to run out to find the newspaper so I could (hopefully) find the close-up pictures of the Moon from one of the Ranger missions. You can't imagine how devastating the news was to my young self, when the newspapers revealed that yet another Ranger Probe had entirely missed the moon! sad.gif

Oh, but when they finally did hit it. I was hooked for life. As you can tell, I could probably go on for ages about this stuff, but I think this is getting long enough.

I chose my screen name (CosmicRocker) because of my love of rocks and the wonderful information they contain. Rocks from other worlds are even more interesting. Beyond that, my favorite rock band from my grad school years was the Moody Blues. They had a popular hit back then called "Veteran Cosmic Rocker."


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...Tom
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