Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Miss Space Debris, 2013

Introducing: Melody Martian, Miss Space Debris of 2013. 
Origin Story:  Melody Martian and Marvin lived together on Mars and were deeply in love, but their love, alas, was forbidden.  You see, Marvin was a Moon-tague and Melody was a Space-Capsulet and the two families were sworn enemies.  
Melody's family emigrated from Mars to Venus to avoid persecution.  And now Marvin's sole purpose in life is to  destroy earth with his Illudium PU-36 Space Modulator because it blocks his view of Venus - and of his one true love, Melody Martian.  Melody entered the Miss Space Debris competition hoping that her winning might dissuade Marvin from destroying this planet, which Melody has taken a liking to - because she enjoys Sputnikfest so much. 
Melody says she decided to enter the Miss Space Debris competition because she loves to do "spunky, weird things."  She said she watched the competition last year and decided it would be the perfect thing to get involved in!
Melody beat out another very worthy finalist, Miss Galaxy Girl!
Melody's favorite thing about Sputnikfest is seeing all the different amazing costumes and seeing what people can come up with.  Melody particularly likes seeing the Star Wars characters each year and says that of all the characters from the movies, her favorite "would have to be Jabba The Hut because every time I see him I can't help but laugh."

When Melody is not at Sputnikfest, she loves to sing and play bass - and she also likes to read, hang out with her friends, and play volleyball.  But her favorite thing on Earth is Sputnikfest.  She says it is "a very fun, and interesting festival. I think it's a wonderful event for people of all ages!"  
At right is an image of Miss Space Debris 2012 and the 2013 finalists.
Melody will be representing the Spirit of Sputnikfest at various parades and events over the next year.  
Thanks to all who participated in this contest - and who attended Sputnikfest this year - the event would not be possible without your support.  Planet Terry

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Alien Pet Contest

Pets in Space?  This Discovery News article says it is possible.  Of course - as the article is talking about worms, I think these people may have too overbroad a definition of the term "pets."  

Nathaniel Szewczyk, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Physiology at The University of Nottingham is quoted as saying "Clearly worms are not people."  (That's why he's a scientist.) 

"We would love to send worms to places like Mars and/or other planets," Szewczyk said. "The key challenge ... is to convince governments and/or funding agencies that this can and should be done."  
Good luck getting funding for that.  We have a hard enough time getting sponsors for Sputnikfest - and we've got Elvis AND Vader'sFist on our side!

If they do get ready to start sending pets into space, we have some potential candidates right here.  

Contestants in this year's Alien Pet Contest included this distant cousin of a Gorn, 

a pair of Conehead Pooches, 

and this little Space Pup.  (oh yeah, he looks real happy to be here)  And when the pets take over the world, you know they are going to get even with us for this!  Thanks for checking back in.  And see you - and next year's Alien Pet contestants - at Sputnikfest 2014!  Planet Terry

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Astro Babes - and Operation Moonwatch

When the Russians launched their Sputniks - astronomers, both professional and amateur - turned their eyes to the skies.  An initiative called "Operation Moonwatch" - organized by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory - had its roots in the Cold War's Ground Observer Corps and the Civil Air Patrol.  

Amateur astronomers world-wide turned their scopes to the night skies to assist the professionals who were tracking the Soviet satellites.  

Members of the Moonwatch team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin observed and kept notes on
the re-entry of Sputnik 4 on the evening of September 4, 1962.

You can access a document detailing those events here.

The Moonwatch people prepared the above map showing the trajectory of the "last 100 miles" of the falling satellite.

It is quite appropriate, then, that another team of amateur astronomers - the Astro Babes - set up their equipment at this year's Sputnikfest only a few short steps away from the Sputnik 4 impact site.

Lynn and Amy (Real Women, Real Astronomy) and their Astronomical Entourage gave demonstrations of various equipment capable of daytime viewing.  

They are considering bringing additional scopes next year and sticking around for night sky observations!  Thanks Lynn and Amy - hope to see you, and anyone else with an interest in astronomy or wacky tacky fun, at Sputnikfest next year!   Planet Terry

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Space.com has been described as the "go-to" source for space technology news.  The website recently featured a story titled "Sputnikfest - How Wisconsin Celebrates Historic Fall of Soviet Satellite."

The history behind the event and the Soviet satellite which fell to earth in Manitowoc (the satellite is called "Kerplunknik" in the story) is recounted - along with some quotes from Greg Vadney, museum director, who says of the event "we don't take it too seriously, and we enjoy this crazy era, the 1960's, in space and social history. We keep the event simple, silly, and fun."

Here is a link to the story:

Cosmic Cake Contest

Each year at Sputnikfest we have a Cosmic Cake Contest.  Usually the
competition sees a whole meteor shower of entries ... but this year there were only two!

So - with cash prizes available for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place - this meant choosing 1st and 2nd Place winners was a little easier.

And 3rd Prize went un-awarded!

(Note to anyone with an oven and a little imagination - be sure to enter next year!)

An entry requires a cake and a matching "mini-cake" or cupcake - made from the same recipe as the bigger cake.

This smaller cake is the one which is eaten by the judges.  It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it, right?

Before the judging the cakes are on display to the public - and may be looked at, but not touched.

Hey!  Little Girl - that means you!  Don't make me call a Storm Trooper in here!

After the judging, the cakes are auctioned for charity.

See you at Sputnikfest next year - and as long as you are coming, why not bring a cake with you?  Planet Terry