Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mars, it is getting real! Wear you damn safety glasses!

So I had my first interview about going to Mars today.  To be honest, I wasn't completely sure how it was going to turn out.  I tried asking myself reasonable questions about going to Mars ahead of time to prepare so that I would have some sort of answer queued up in my brain... but as it turns out, there are no reasonable questions to ask about going to Mars.

I thought the interview went well, and I don't think I gave away launch codes to nuclear missiles... We will see when the article gets published.  Anyways, Carl Engelking from Discover magazine interviewed me and I'll post a link to the article when he publishes it.

(Why is my father's goodbye saying, "Don't let me read about you in the paper tomorrow!" ringing in my head.)

In other news:  Think about the worst sound you have ever heard in your life?  I have one worse!  And I heard it twice last weekend.  It is undoubtably the sound of a bolt breaking off in an engine block... where you could never ever get to it without taking out the whole engine.  I was fixing an oil leak in the jeep and putting the oil pan back on.  I wasn't torquing it oddly or anything when one of the pan bolts went, "CLICK"

Oh god.... no.... NOOOOOOOOOOO

Yea, so I snapped a bolt off in the bottom of the engine.  Shit...  well, not to big a problem (I rationalized), it isn't a corner... maybe the seal will be good enough... maybe I can ignore it till next time I pull the engine... probably ok...

(There was no way I could get a drill aligned in there or remove that bolt with out removing the engine...)

I'll just put the next bolt in and not worry about it.

So there I am.  Just finger tightened the next bolt.  Put my wrench to it...


It is the kind of sound that makes you wish you could dial back time just a few seconds!  It was so OK just seconds ago... now it is so terrible!  Please can I get a do over of the last 8 seconds! Please!!!!

Well, I have no idea how that second one broke off because the bolt stem was still loose in the engine block.  I could jiggle it with my finger nail.  I have no idea how it broke instead of turned.  Anyways so I figured I could retract it by banging it around with a screw driver and a hammer by hitting it just right to turn it out.

So there I am laying with my face 5 inches under the broken bolt, a screw driver poised against the broken bolt, and a hammer ready to knock it around... when I think to myself, "This is exactly when I should be wearing safety glasses."

What did I do?  Get safety glasses? No... I hit that damn screw driver!


You can guess the rest.

The chunk of metal stuck in my eye was large enough that it could be picked out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.  It was large enough that I thought looking down and jumping would make it fall out!

Anyways, wear your safety glasses!

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