Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 22, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 10



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 22, 2012 


 NASA has named the site where the twin 
Ebb and Flow spacecraft impacted the Moon 
on Dec. 17 in honor of the late astronaut, 
Sally K. Ride, who was America’s first woman 
in space and a member of the GRAIL mission 

 On Dec. 14, Ebb and Flow, the two 
spacecraft comprising NASA’s Gravity 
Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) 
mission, were commanded to descend into 
a lower orbit that would result in an impact 
three days later on a mountain near the 
Moon’s north pole. The formation-flying duo 
hit the lunar surface as planned at a speed of 
3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). The 
location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is 
on the southern face of an approximately 
1.5-mile high mountain near a crater named 

 “Sally was all about getting the job done, 
whether it be in exploring space, inspiring 
the next generation, or helping make the 
GRAIL mission the resounding success it 
is today,” said GRAIL principal investigator 
Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology in Cambridge. “As we complete 
our lunar mission, we are proud we can 
honor Sally Ride’s contributions by naming 
this corner of the Moon after her.”

 The impact marked a successful end to 
the GRAIL mission, which was NASA’s first 
planetary mission to carry cameras fully 
dedicated to education and public outreach. 
Ride, who died in July 2012, led GRAIL’s 
MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by 
Middle School Students) Program through 
her company, Sally Ride Science, in San 

 Along with its primary science instrument, each spacecraft 
carried a MoonKAM camera that took more than 115,000 images of 
the lunar surface. Imaging targets were proposed by middle school 
students from across the country, and the resulting images were 
returned for them to study. The names of the twin spacecraft were 
selected by Ride and the mission team from student submissions in 
a nationwide contest.

 “Sally Ride worked tirelessly throughout her life to remind all 
of us, especially girls, to keep questioning and learning,” said Sen. 
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. “Today her passion for making 
students part of NASA’s science is honored by naming the impact 
site for her.”

 Fifty minutes prior to impact, the spacecraft fired their engines 
until the propellant was depleted. The maneuver was designed to 
determine precisely the amount of fuel remaining in the tanks. This 
will help NASA engineers validate computer models to improve 
predictions of fuel needs for future missions.

 “Ebb fired its engines for 4 minutes, 3 seconds and Flow fired 
its for 5 minutes, 7 seconds,” said GRAIL project manager David 
Lehman of JPL. “It was one final important set of data from a 
mission that was filled with great science and engineering data.”

 The mission team deduced that much of the material aboard 
each spacecraft was broken up in the energy released during the 
impacts. Most of what remained probably is buried in shallow 
craters. The craters’ size may be determined when NASA’s Lunar 
Reconnaissance Orbiter returns images of the area in several weeks.

 Launched in September 2011, Ebb and Flow had been orbiting 
the Moon since Jan. 1, 2012. The probes were intentionally crashed 
into the lunar surface because they did not have enough altitude 
or fuel to continue science operations. Their successful science 
missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any 
celestial body.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at:

The final flight path for NASA's twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on Dec. 17. GRAIL's MoonKAM is the signature education 
and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space. 




 I’m sure that 
anyone reading 
this article has by 
now been made 
aware of the 
horrific course 
of events that 
took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, 
Connecticut on Friday, December 14, 2012. I, myself was 
rendered numb with shock after hearing the news that yet 
another gunman had randomly opened fire on a crowd of 
unassuming citizens in a public place. Although unfortunately 
I find myself no longer surprised by these repeated outbursts 
of crazed gun-running nuts taking random aim at innocent 
people, what made this particular case extremely difficult for 
me to wrap my mind around was the fact that 20 of the victims 
were young children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old, and 
they were attacked in their own elementary school classroom.

 My response to the news of this tragedy was intense sadness 
for the victims and their families, mixed with pure rage toward 
the gunman, and toward a system that continues to allow this 
type of thing to happen by making military-grade assault 
weapons available to any “average” citizen who happens to 
have the money to purchase them. Perhaps we as a nation 
will eventually figure out a way to stop the madness, but until 
then it seems we must expect to hear such tragic news and 
only hope it will not occur in our own home town. After 
all, the size and demographics of Newton, CT are relatively 
similar to those of Sierra Madre. Clearly, I wasn’t there when 
the nightmare occurred, yet I was enraged and absolutely 
dumbfounded by what I heard, so I can’t imagine how it must 
have felt to have been a witness to such a dastardly experience, 
especially the children. 

 As do most tragic events, last week’s mass killing in 
Connecticut caused an enormous ripple in headline news 
both here in the United States and throughout the entire 
globe. If there can be a good side of a story such as this, it 
is that it brings out the good in many citizens who feel 
compelled to respond in a positive manner. They come “out 
of the woodwork” to assist and comfort; they volunteer their 
efforts in whatever ways possible, to help ease the pain and get 
the victims through an extremely difficult time. Among those 
who reached out to assist the saddened citizens in the small 
village of Newtown last week was a group of kind canines, 
specially trained to respond to crisis situations. They were 
accompanied by their handlers and other volunteers with the 
purpose of bringing comfort and support to the families and 
young survivors of that devastating disaster. One little girl was 
among the many who had witnessed the shooting at her school, 
and was pleased to meet the five gorgeous, gracious golden 
retrievers that came to her town the following morning. She 
expressed her appreciation in very simple terms; “They help 
you get over the sadness”, she said while petting the ears of 
one of the affectionate friendly, furry four-footed volunteers.

 The K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry is a Lutheran Church Charity 
based out of Chicago, Illinois. Their mission is to go wherever 
people are experiencing the emotionally overwhelming 
circumstances that come with a crisis. When they heard the 
news of what had happened in Connecticut they immediately 
began planning their deployment to visit Newtown and 
help support the shocked and distressed citizens there. They 
arrived with five comforting canines on Saturday, the 15th and 
by Monday the 17th they had nine dogs and fourteen handlers 
on site to help serve the bereaved community with what 
they describe as “The Mercy, Compassion and Presence of 
Christ.” The reaction to their kind gesture was overwhelming. 
Children and adults alike were seen smiling for the first time 
in days, as they reached out to pet or hug a dog. The presence 
of the comfort dogs allowed many of them to relax and share 
their feelings, their fears and their pain with the handlers, and 
that is indeed the very purpose of this wonderful ministry.

 I have always said that God created dogs for a very specific 
purpose, so when I heard about how the Lutheran Church 
Charity’s K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry came to the emotional 
rescue for the citizens of Newtown, it warmed my heart and 
brought tears of joy to my eyes. We humans do our best to 
comfort each other, but I believe that when God created the 
dog, he instilled a unique ability to show unconditional love 
and bring unprecedented warmth to the hearts of those in 

 My heart goes out to the families, friends and survivors 
of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School that fateful 
Friday. May we all take a lesson from the canines who comfort 
the weary and distressed in this world. I continue to pray for 
healing in their hearts, and thank God for creating the dog 
who seems to know how to show His love without condition. 
I also thank God for people who take time out their own lives 
to train dogs for the purpose of comforting others. When 
I look back to this horrific event in the future, I will always 
remember how those comforting canines lent their support by 
showing unconditional love to a town of perfect strangers in 
need, as they carried out their God-given mission. 

If you feel the same way and are compelled to help support 
such a worthy cause, please visit their website at http:// and do what you can 
to contribute. You never know when you might be on the 
receiving end of the loving support they have to offer.

Meet a lucky penny, 
little Jolene (A4519720). 
Jolene is a kind, gentle, 
sweet, timid one 
year old white and 
black spayed female 
Chihuahua puppy who 
was found in South El 
Monte on December 
5th and brought to the 
Baldwin Park Animal 
Care Center. Weighing 
eight pounds, this 
sweetheart does not 
have any leash skills yet, 
and would far rather be 
carried. Jolene is quite 
shy in the shelter environment and would prefer to be invisible as she just 
is overwhelmed. However, once you get her out of her kennel into a calm 
place, she becomes the perfect lapdog and you can see she has the classic 
Chihuahua personality - of wanting to have one person to love and bond 
with. Jolene will make an outstanding lapdog and pet for an individual or 
adult family living in an apartment. To watch a video of Jolene please visit:

 To meet Jolene in person, please see her at the Baldwin Park Animal Care 
Center, located at 4275 N. Elton St., Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (Phone: 626-
430-2378 or 626-962-3577). She is currently available now. For any inquiries 
about Jolene, please reference her animal ID number: A4519720. The shelter 
is open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-Thursday and 10am-5pm 
Friday-Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter with a great need for adoptions. 
For more information about Jolene or the adoption process, please contact 
United Hope for Animals Volunteer Adoption Coordinator Samantha at 

 To learn more about United Hope for Animals’ partnership with the Baldwin 
Park Shelter through its Shelter Support Program, as well as the many dogs 
of all breeds, ages, and sizes available for adoption in local shelters, visit

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc