Research scientist on permanent contract at NASA. My posts are my own and not NASA’s in any official capacity. #scicomm
During my identification of various Martian craters today I was reminded of a piece of our history that we’ve heard of many times before: the meteor that killed (nearly all) the dinosaurs. Sound familiar? It’s easy to feel like these things aren’t real even when you know they are because films, stories, and comics today place dinosaurs in the “fantasy” category. SO I wanted to enlighten you all with a bit of information that most of our elementary school teachers glossed over. The K-T impact event left a scar where it smashed in to Earth’s surface, and the location of that scar might hit closer to home for Americans than they expect. Where is it? The Yucatan peninsula. AKA, just west of Cancun, Mexico. Yup, Spring Breakers, you’re partying over the site of the most radical and immediate extinction event in Earth’s history. Let’s take a closer look… the Cicxulub crater is what’s left of the KT impact site. 180km across and 20km deep, the diameter of said crater is the distance from Houston -> Austin. Upon impact, the kinetic energy released was equivalent to ~100 million MEGATONS of TNT - that’s the energy of 100 million atomic bombs. Subsequent ash and the obliteration of countless chemicals and the impactor itself caused a 3-year long winter with sub-freezing temps worldwide. The impact event formed many kinds of tektite, granite, shocked quartz and other rock as well. Here, you can see the impact site in the topography of the peninsula. You can see the rest of the crater in 3D gravity maps of the site! Scientists in 2016 finally drilled in to the site and uncovered countless bits of history. Google “Chicxulub crater site” for more info on this topic.
Real talk: The year after college
Look, I’m not gonna pretend I had a typical transition to the working world ♀️ but I do know all about being suddenly on your own in the world. Trying to figure out how to rent a uhaul to move your life a few thousand miles, realizing that’s gonna cost you more money than you’d ever spent on one thing in your life so far, being criticized by people who don’t take you seriously because you don’t look old enough to be serious yet, gaining weight bc of your stationary job (hello! Wish I were warned about this) learning to live in a new part of the world totally unlike your past... it’s all hard. I’ve realized the path to homelessness is less of a path and more of a straight drop from a cliff. That Californians are the confrontational type that would yell at you at a family restaurant about your life choices just bc you got a better parking spot than them (true story). That you have to negotiate your pay, your benefits, but also your rent, your discounts, your service providers. No one is better than you nor is anything set in stone. When you realize this you can take back your life from everyone else and start building the one you want. It’s intimidating but it’s empowering, too. And though this last year was hard & it took us almost a year to find some permanent friends & first jobs are underpaying & rent is too high & student loans are crippling... through it all we persevered. It’s been nearly a full year now & I’ve got a wonderful lil’ fam in Alex & Mabel some kickass friends ♀️ a beautiful home & my dream job I believe you all can do this too and it starts with our helping one another. No one gets there alone so we should stop pretending like we do. It was my hard work + luck + support + mentoring + Alex + education + privilege, to be frank. We need each other. Let’s do this
Feelin extra close to my main squeeze today we’re nearing on one year in CA!! Can’t believe it and this man is gonna stick with me through grad school?!?! Shoot, boy you a keeper you’re the best man I could ever have and thankfully, the best roommate I ever had, too
We made it! Hiked mission peak to look at the pay from a new perspective - 9.2 miles in total and a helluva climb. And say hello to our California besties, Sharlene and Kayla!! Two equally empowering and capable women I met a few months ago who have become my dearest friends over the last several weeks. ♀️🧘🏻♀️♀️♂️
MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!! Guys, it’s the best day of the year. Star Wars day. And this NASA scientist fan is STOKED to see the astronauts enjoying The Last Jedi in space!!!!! #Repost@explorenasa with @get_repost
Happy #StarWarsDay! The Expedition 54 crew aboard the International Space Station gathered in the Unity module for an out-of-this-world screening of the latest chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi back in December. What will you be watching tonight?
TODAY IN GROUNDBREAKING SPACE NEWS Uranus smells like, well, your anus. For real, peeps. Our friends at JPL have confirmed the longstanding suspicion that Uranus’ clouds are made in part of hydrogen sulfide gas which smells like straight up ass, farts, and rotten eggs.
I cannot stop laughing while writing this. My god.
Anyway, you’ll never ever smell this because Uranus’ freezing (-392F) temperatures and the hydrogen-helium-methane-atmosphere would suffocate you loooooong before you could smell Uranus’ anus. ♂️ As you were. ♀️
Balloons: you don’t need em.
Repost Gayla Trice: “Balloons do not go to heaven. They land in the ocean and choke sea turtles, kill dolphins and whales, and the ribbons entangle birds. Many times, they end up on a beach as litter. Even the ones marked "biodegradable" can hurt animals before they have a chance to break down. Animals far from the ocean, such as horses, have been hurt and killed by balloons (they eat them when they land in their hay or they get spooked and bolt). Some balloons have started fires when they got entangled in power lines.
Sky lanterns have set homes, power lines, trees, and buildings on fire. Sky lanterns can also entangle an animal even if it is marketed as "biodegradable." There are many safe alternatives to releasing litter into the air, such as planting a tree for your loved one and watching it bloom, or blowing bubbles into the air. Grief is a painful process. In our grief, we do not need to cause others grief. While there are many environmental problems facing our planet, this is a very simple one to solve.”
We spent our morning with our friends cleaning up Santa Cruz beaches! Plastic waste is especially a problem in the oceans. We’ve got a giant mass of plastic is floating around between California and Japan that is three times the size of France as of March of this year. The aquatic life killed by ingesting or getting stuck in our garbage is heartbreaking and totally preventable. Throw away your trash and recycle your plastic!! And spending three hours on a beach cleaning up with your friends before the afternoon beachgoer rush is an EXCELLENT way to spend your Saturday morning!!! It makes a difference. I will do this again!!
I wrote a piece for The Plainspoken Scientist from AGU. It’s a little summary of why I do what I do on #scicomm and I hope it gets out there for all the aspiring young scientists to see!! (Google the title for the article)
Caught this one prepping for some #selfies with my issue of @strongmagazineforgirls and love it! I was truly happy on this day and it shows. Life has been really good to me in CA. I haven’t told you all much about my personal life, but growing up my family didn’t have good health insurance *if any* because that’s the nature of being self-employed. My dad’s in real estate and mom owns her own business (check out @blindattraction if you’re in MPLS) and that doesn’t come with benefits. They love their careers but I knew it wasn’t for me (business is far from science) and that I wanted a stable job one day with benefits. In college I was a pool attendant, waitress, TA, and gym employee. Sometimes all at the same time. I’ve been there.
Today I am not rich and I have student debt and some debt from moving out here but that’s okay. I have plans to pay it off and I will soon. Right now, it feels so good to say I have an income that can pay for all the things I need: rent, utilities, car, gas, grocery, pet care, medical expenses etc. I’m amazed I can afford what I need and I’m so humbled that I can. I’m thankful for this job and this life. Things could change - grad school may not offer this stability - but right now I’m glad I have it. I hope you all find this satisfaction in work-life balance. I hope we can change the system to give waitresses, small businesses, tradespeople, & the like some PTO and benefits. We all deserve a happy healthy shot at life. Happy Thursday, #scicommers!