The Blessings and Curses of Passion

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I love space. 

(If the word love even does it justice). 

The cosmos are my passion. Ever since I was a child, I have loved the stars, the planets, rockets, and anything and everything that is encompassed by space and space exploration. This passion is a vital part of my life. 

I have more space posters and memorabilia than anyone I know. My dorm room/cubical walls are decorated with space collages. I have a decent collection of space trivia and facts stored in my brain, (just in case I am ever on Jeopardy). I also do a lot relating to space, from my internships and projects, to the organizations I am a part of. 

really love space. 

(You get the point)

     (You get the point)

Most people have interesting reactions when they discover my love for space. Whenever I move back to campus and get a new set of roommates, their outward expression to my public display of cosmic love is usually curious but supportive. They, like many others, find it interesting. And more often than not, when people do discover my passion, I hear something along the lines of “It is amazing that you love something so much”, among other things. 

This is one of the blessings of having a passion. Statements like these started in high school with my love for physics. I would absorb physics literature and books with such wonder and excitement, much to the puzzlement (and amusement) of my peers. They always thought it was funny and awesome that I had found something I loved SOOO much, when most of them were still trying to decide on a college major. 

But this trend persisted even through college, when more people have a sense of what it is they want to do with their lives. People were still remarking on my love for space, and I discovered that even though I was in college, a lot of people had yet to discover their passions. This discovery was one that did, and still does, sadden me. I truly wish everyone could find what they love as much as I love space, and be able to incorporate that in some way to their daily lives. My passion for space brings me a lot of happiness, and I know it is something I will always have. It is truly a blessing to have this passion, (especially when it brings about unexpected friends and opportunities). 

But having this passion isn’t always a blessing. Sometimes, it can be a curse. Don’t get me wrong, 99.99% of the time, my passion for space is a blessing. But it can come about to bite me. 

Have you ever loved something so much, it becomes all-consuming? 

Space is an all-consuming passion of mine. It is not to say that I don’t enjoy other things; I love to dance, rock climb, read, and go on adventures and explore the outdoors. But my love for the cosmos affects me in ways that I would have never anticipated. 

An example: my passion for space has evolved into a HUGE love and appreciation for this planet. This makes me very conscious of my everyday decisions and how they can impact the planet. That being said, that also means I am very conscious of what OTHER people do to impact the planet. This constant awareness can be depressing and on occasion, angering. But this can be a post in and of itself.

The biggest way my passion can become harmful is when it absolutely overwhelms me. Because I love space, I have a *slight* problem saying “no” to anything involving space, or just letting other things go. Sometimes, my projects can take over my life in a negative way, to where I am balancing a million precariously balanced china cups, trying very hard not to let any of them break. This can be stressful, and although I usually have a GREAT ability to balance many things and succeed in all, it is very demanding and will usually take a toll in some form or another. 

Overall, my love and passion for space is wonderful, and I wouldn’t want to love it any less. Just like everything else in life though, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Can anybody else relate? Are there blessings and curses to any of your passions?  




Water found on the surface of Mars!

If you haven’t heard the incredible discovery announced today about Mars, stop what you’re doing and read the above article.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered seasonal salt water flow on Mars! Such an incredible discovery! This definitely will change where we explore the red planet and how future research will be conducted on Mars.

Research findings like these are so exciting to me! This is what motivates me to work hard and do what I do.


Happy Earth Day! Today is a day to celebrate Mother Earth and to raise awareness about being kind to our incredible planet.

NASA does an Earth Day event every year, and this year they encourage people sharing their favorite pictures of our planet with the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome

I’ve been posting several through twitter, but here are some of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken of Earth.

Please remember to be kind to your planet, research ways to minimize your environmental impact, and enjoy #EarthDay2015 💙💚🌎


University of North Florida campus, Jacksonville, Florida


Huntsville, Alabama


My favorite view of home from 90,000 with UNF’s Ozzie Osprey


Ichetucknee Springs, Florida


Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Antares Launch “Anomaly”

Last night, Orbital Sciences launched Orb-3, an ISS resupply mission, from NASA’s Wallops flight facility in Virginia. Shortly after liftoff, a currently unidentified anomaly occurred and the rocket exploded. Thankfully, it was an unmanned mission and nobody on the ground was hurt.

A lot of people have been freaking out about this incident. I just wanted to comment and give a few of my thoughts on the general incident.

Unfortunately, as cool as rocket science is, going to space and building a successful rocket is hard. Anomalies happen. There has never been an entity in the US that has a perfect launch record. Accordingly, when it comes to spaceflight, it is not a matter of if something is going to fail, but when. We are talking about extremely complex vehicles that leave the planet; if they were easy to engineer and launch, the world would be very different. That being said, I do not know what caused the rocket to fail and if it was a sort of complacency or unknown problem to cause the failure. Regardless, mishaps happen and Orbital will recover. This is just a reminder of how hard spaceflight is and how we must always remember this fact.

Do you wanna fix a spaceman?

As many of you know, I am the team lead of a group called the Orbital Ospreys that recently flew in zero gravity through NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. This is the program’s last summer, and we were part of the last traditional flight week. It was also the first time we applied for the program, and we were so grateful and lucky to be blessed with the chance to take part in NASA’s greatest education program. 

Below is a video of our experience, which we submitted with our final report. 

It may also remind you of an old favorite video game (for those around 25 or younger).

Throwback Thursday


This picture was from my very first internship at Kennedy Space Center in 2010. These were the other KSC INSPIRE interns and I at the “riveting” KSC BEST bbq. I miss everyone here so much! 

How the Rosetta Spacecraft Will Land on a Comet (Infographic)

NASA Social: Apollo 45

On Monday, July 12, I got to attend my first NASA Social, #Apollo45. It was a special event, celebrating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11. The Operations and Checkouts building at Kennedy Space Center was also being renamed that day to the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkouts building, and a special renaming ceremony was being hosted. 

I arrived on center that morning and drove to the press site, across from the iconic VAB. The press site, sadly, did not seem to be bustling like it used to before a launch or special event. I met with the other NASA Social attendees, many of them having attended at least one social or tweetup before this. I met a few familiar faces that I had previously only known through twitter, which was really fantastic! We introduced ourselves and then hopped on a bus and rode to the O&C for the ceremony. 

We walked into the O&C, which has gotten a nice facelift in recent years! We came inside to see rockets and historical space objects, like Neil Armstrong’s moonsuit. We had the chance to sign a sign commemorating the event, alongside signatures of Neil’s family, Buzz Aldrin, and other space celebs. 

Then we entered the Orion high bay, where the ceremony was being held. It was already very full, but to my surprise, we were escorted to the front, across from the stage, with the professional media. Even more to my surprise, a few of us (myself included), were allowed to actually stand on a side stage to ourselves during the ceremony! (It was one of the best views in the place). 

NASA Deputy Director Charlie Bolden and KSC Center Director Bob Cabana, both former astronauts, started the ceremony. Then astronauts on board the ISS tuned in via video in realtime and had a Q&A/speaking time. Then, Neil’s two sons, Mark and Rick, spoke about their father. Following the Armstrongs, former astronaut Jim Lovell, backup commander for Apollo 11 and commander of Apollo 13, spoke about Neil and their adventures back in the day. Next, Neil’s Apollo 11 crew spoke. Second man on the moon, science advocate, and celebrity Buzz Aldrin, spoke about Neil. Mike Collins, an unsung and often forgotten member of the Apollo 11 flight, spoke. (Mike flew the capsule and did not get to go to the moon; rather, he orbited by himself while Neil and Buzz were on the lunar surface). 


Rick Armstrong


Mark Armstrong


Jim LovellBuzz

Buzz Aldrinmike

Michael Collins

After the speaking ended, the event moved into a side room for cake and socializing, and the NASA Social attendees and I went off to lunch. 

After lunch, we had an awesome tour of the VAB. We went to a couple of different floors and saw platforms for both the space shuttle and the Saturn V. It was pretty neat! Overall, my first NASA Social was an awesome experience and I hope to do it again. 

VAB me

NASA Social!

I just found out today that I got accepted to my first ever NASA Social! I will be going this Monday to Kennedy for the O&C Renaming Ceremony. This NASA social event also centers around the Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary on Sunday, ( #Apollo45 ) and NASA’s big step to Mars (#NextGiantLeap ) and I’ll be sharing all the details with you all on social media!  I am so excited to go and am already talking to my fellow space geeks on Twitter about this! 

Anyways, most of the immediate updates will be shared on the below pages, if you want to tune in! I’ll do one big piece on here afterwards.

And of course, this blog’s Facebook page!

Motivational Monday


(Image Credit: From Quarks to Quasars).

Today’s motivation comes from one of my heroes and idols, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and one of my favorite non-profits, From Quarks to Quasars. For those of you who don’t NDT, Dr. Tyson is an amazing person, and is a brilliant physicist and speaker. His books are also wonderful and easy to read; I strongly encourage them to any interested in science, space, and the cosmos.

I also highly recommend checking out From Quarks to Quasars. There website and their Facebook page are fantastic venues for keeping up with the latest news in science, as they try to educate the masses. They are a really fantastic organization, so check them out! Links are provided below for you convenience.