Here is a nice little piece of advice.  Download the LRO/LCROSS vodcast (, watch intently, save up some money, go buy a nice lawn chair, a good 10-12 inch telescope and invite over some friends for one of the coolest scientific events since JJ Abrams decided to make the prequel to the Star Trek TV series.  My friends, witness LRO and LCROSS.

Of course, the LCROSS impact won’t happen for a few months, and by that time LRO will have plowed through many of its objectives.  But what you might be able to see (I’m probably not correct about the specifics of my party preparation advice) is the impact plume of LCROSS’s Centaur module after it slams into the surface of the Moon.  Ordinarily this kind of destructive behavior is limited to Mythbusters, but NASA stands to gain tons of scientific data that will help us understand more about our Moon.  Perhaps we will bust a few myths in the process.

When you see the show, you’ll know a little bit more about what I mean.  Be sure to check it out.  Of course, if you have questions and comments, please leave them here.  I’ll be checking.  I’m trying to plan my own LRO/LCROSS impact party, and I could use a few good ideas.

The Co-Host

BTW, for more info:


Everyone's a Goofy Co-Host

 AstroJournalist Keith Cowing and Astronaut Scott Parazynski at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Yeti
Wow!  Apparently, we have a small contingent of fans in Nepal! 

Or course, they are not there for NASA EDGE.  These two Everest Insiders and Outsiders are at Mount Everest base camp preparing to make their epic ascent to the summit.  You can follow their progress, along with their entire team, at  And even though they have their very own goofy co-host, we expect nothing but success.

Stay safe guys!

The NASA EDGE Goofy Co-Host   

SPB takes the Mission Madness Trophy

Congratulations to the 2009 Mission Madness winner – Superpressure Balloon.  The Balloon Program Office is based out of Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia.  They did a great job of rallying their fan base to dominate the competition. Mars Rovers, Mars Odyssey, Expedition 1, Orion, New Horizons, and SOHO all fell victim to the mouse clicking of the SPB troops.  I thought Orion had a shot to deflate SPB in the quarterfinals but they stopped voting on the second day around 6:45 PM. Then when New Horizons took a 2,500 vote lead going into day 2 of the semifinal round I thought for sure SPB was done.  Not so fast my friends.  SPB did one thing that none of the other mission voters were able to do and that is play each round for the full 39 hours.

Thank you to all who participated in the tournament, commented on the blog, and provided feedback on our social networking sites – Facebook and Twitter.   We will compile all your suggestions and use them for next year’s competition.  Here’s the breakdown of the votes count by round.
Round 1:          128,898
Round 2:          122,558
Round 3:          125,843
Quarterfinals:   156,594
Semifinals:       130,135
Finals:                78,417
Total Vote Count:  742,445
Is SPB the greatest NASA mission of all time?  In my opinion – absolutely not, but there are a ton of people who now know about the Superpressure Balloon.  In fact (and be honest), how many missions in the field of 64 did you learn about?  How many didn’t have a clue about some of the missions?  Some of the objectives of the madness:
1. Allow the public and internal NASA to learn about 64 different missions.  We tend to focus on one mission at a time.
2. Provide a fun and exciting way for the public to learn more about NASA in general.
3. Receive feedback from the public to see what types of missions they are interested in.
There are a few lessons learned from this experience and I am sure next year’s competition will be even better.  We’ll have a new field of 64 with great missions that didn’t get included this year.  So start lobbying for your mission today so that they may have the chance to do what SPB did….shock the world.  
And don’t forget to keep watching NASA EDGE (, an inside and outside look at all things NASA.  On tap down the road:
2.  Orion simulators
3.  STS-125 Launch
4.  Launch Abort System
5.  Apollo 40th Anniversary Vodcast
6.  Desert Rats
7.  Arex I-X flight test
8.  Pad Abort-1 test
9.  Superpressure Balloon????
All the best,

Congratulations and Good Luck to SPB and SOHO

SPB is so confident of their victory that they voted for their chosen opponent!

No matter how you feel about how this competition has gone so far, SPB is in the driver seat, and they are daring anyone to challenge them.  The only question left is whether or not SOHO can find enough supporters to vote for them for the entire 39 hours of the final round.

LRO, Apollo 11, Freedom 7 all had leads going into the final hour of voting before losing to late voting surges.  Even Orion was competitive until the final 4 hours of their round against SPB.

SPB, soak your clicking fingers in palmolive for the weekend… wait, you guys don’t need that.  You have hardened callouses. 

For all of you SOHO supporters, stretch, soak, rub, jazzercise… whatever you need to do.  In roughly 57 hours, you’ll need every mouse, mainframe and monitor you can access to deflate SPB. 

Again, congratulations and good luck.  And may the best* mission win.

The Co-Host

*I recognize that many people have contested the notion that this competition could actually reveal the best NASA mission.  This is dramatic hyperbole for the sake of inspiring enthusiasm and the spirit of competition.

Round 4 – SPB Stays Aloft over Competition

SPB, New Horizons, LRO and SOHO All Advance!

I’m speechless.  My bracket is trash, I am 0-4 when it comes to picking against SPB and no one at JPL will speak to me.  I guess I will leave the analysis up to those who have some credibility left.

The good news is that the final contests are fairly simple to size up.

SPB  vs  New Horizons

I would give my predictions, but I DO NOT want to take the blame for sending a mission packing.

The Co-Host

Correction – Multiple Voting vs. Single Voting

I want to correct myself in an earlier post about multiple/single voting.  After reading the initial post again, I realized I threw my great co-workers at NASA HQ under the bus unintentionally.  It was not my intent to put “blame” on NASA HQ for not putting controls in place to prevent multiple voting.  The privacy policy is a Federal Government policy from OMB and applies to any .gov site.  So in essence it’s out of everyone’s hands.   I want to thank them for clarifying the regulations (thanks Jim, you’re the man!).  

All the best,
NE Host

Round 3 – Results! Future Trumps History

Where have you gone, Neil Armstrong?!!!!!!!!

Yes, Freedom 7 is still alive.  But history took a hit in the late hours last night as LRO blasted past Apollo 11 at 10 minutes to midnight.  LRO, the satellite that will eventually launch and study the Moon, beat the monumental, historic, manned mission to the Moon.  LRO will not deliver America’s most profound quote regarding accomplishment.  It will, however, bring boatloads of scientific data, images, and possibly a tournament trophy.

After sleeping for a few hours, I am over the shock.  It looks like SPB may have some real competition afterall.

I would love to talk about some of the other matchups, however, my analysis is becoming increasingly irrelavent as the competition progresses.  The only mission still alive on my bracket is Expedition 16, but I had them losing to STS-1. 

Check out the match ups and then get ready to vote.

LRO  vs  Freedom 7

Vikings I & II  vs  SOHO

SPB  vs  Orion

Expedition 16  vs  New Horizons

See the results for yourself here:

I’m so tempted to comment on these matchups, but I don’t want to jinx a mission.

The Co-Host

Multiple Voting vs. Single Voting – Mission Madness

I want to address the notion of multiple voting versus single voting.  Many of you are upset that users are allowed to vote multiple times.  As you know, one of the negatives to multiple voting is that an aggressive group can skew the results.  Unfortunately, NASA HQ is not able to put controls in place that would only allow each computer to register one vote as it would violate NASA’s privacy policy.  This is out of our (NASA EDGE) hands.  For some the controversy makes the contest rather interesting and for others a sour taste in his/her mouth.  From our standpoint, we felt that we at least needed to be upfront about the rules of the contest.  We had planned to explain the rational after the contest was finished, but after several folks expressed their concern, we thought we should clear the air.

I still think this tournament is very fun to watch and hope that you continue to vote until the end.
All the best,