Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 24, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 24, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 24, 2018 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) hasbegun extra stargazing to help the space agencyaccomplish advances in Mars exploration over thenext decade. 

The spacecraft already has worked more thandouble its planned mission life since launch in2005. NASA plans to keep using it past the mid2020s. 
Increased reliance on a star tracker, and 
less on aging gyroscopes, is one way the missionis adapting to extend its longevity. Another stepis wringing more useful life from batteries. Themission’s extended service provides data relay fromassets on Mars’ surface and observations with its 
science instruments, despite some degradation incapabilities.

“We know we’re a critical element for the Mars 
Program to support other missions for the longhaul, so we’re finding ways to extend the spacecraft’slife,” said MRO Project Manager Dan Johnstonof JPL. “In flight operations, our emphasis is onminimizing risk to the spacecraft while carrying outan ambitious scientific and programmatic plan.” 

In early February, MRO completed its final 
full-swapover test using only stellar navigation tosense and maintain the spacecraft’s orientation,
without gyroscopes or accelerometers. The projectis evaluating the recent test and planning to shiftindefinitely to this “all-stellar” mode in March.

From MRO’s 2005 launch until the “all-stellar” 
capability was uploaded as a software patch last year,
the spacecraft always used an inertial measurementunit—containing gyros and accelerometers—forattitude control. At Mars, the orbiter’s attitude 
changes almost continuously, in relation to the Sunand other stars, as it rotates once per orbit to keep itsscience instruments pointed downward at Mars.

The spacecraft carries a spare inertial 
measurement unit. The mission switched from 
the primary unit to the spare after about 58,000hours of use, when the primary began showingsigns of limited life several years ago. The spareshows normal life progression after 52,000 hours,
but now needs to be conserved for when it will be 
most needed, while the star tracker handles attitude 
determination for routine operations.

The star tracker, which also has a backup onboard, uses a camera to image the sky and pattern-
recognition software to discern which bright starsare in the field of view. This allows the system to 

identify the spacecraft’s orientation at that moment.
Repeating the observations up to several timesper second very accurately provides the rate anddirection of attitude change.
“In all-stellar mode, we can do normal science 
and normal relay,” Johnston said. “The inertialmeasurement unit powers back on only when it’sneeded, such as during safe mode, orbital trimmaneuvers, or communications coverage duringcritical events around a Mars landing.” 
To prolong battery life, the project is conditioningthe two batteries to hold more charge, reducingdemand on the batteries, and is planning to reducethe time the orbiter spends in Mars’ shadow, whensunlight can’t reach the solar arrays. The spacecraftuses its batteries only when it is in shadow, currentlyfor about 40 minutes of every two-hour orbit.
The batteries are recharged by the orbiter’s twolarge solar arrays. The mission now charges thebatteries higher than before, to increase their 
capacity and lifespan. It has reduced the draw onthem, in part by adjusting heater temperaturesbefore the spacecraft enters shadow. The adjustmentpreheats vital parts while solar power is available sothe heaters’ drain on the batteries, while in shadow, 
can be reduced. 
MRO continues to investigate Mars with all six ofthe orbiter’s science instruments. 
You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 

An excellent food, medicine, and fibre source 

[Nyerges is the author ofelse added, the nettle water is delicious and tastes like a 
“Guide to Wild Foods,” hearty broth. During our field trips, we would pour out“How to Survive Anywhere,” this water into everyone’s cup. We suspected it would“Foraging California,” and be an excellent basis for soups as well.
others. He has led Wild Food So, on subsequent field trips, we made some delicious

Outings since 1974, and he lectures and writes on naturalsoups with nettle. Into our cook pot, we’d add water, 
sciences and ethnobotany widely. His website is www.nettle tops, other greens (typically wild radish, or he can be reached at Schoollamb’s quarter greens), miso powder, and occasionallyof Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041] chopped potatoes or chopped Jerusalem artichokes.

These soups have been so good – and obviously so goodALL ABOUT NETTLES for us –that we all stood around the fire wondering whyLately, I’ve been using lots of nettle in cooked the soups back home or in restaurants never tasted thisdishes. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioeca) is a fairlygood.
common plant throughout most of North America, asNettle also makes a great cream soup. You can heat 
well most of the rest of the world. Nettle is one of those milk, or begin with powdered milk. You want to slowlyplants that landscapers and Martha Stewart-trainedwarm the broth, not boil it. Chop up the nettle tops andgardeners love to hate. It is one of the plants that youadd to the broth. On occasion, we have added potatoalways see on the charts of “noxious weeds” publishedflour to this to make it thicker. But you can experimentby companies such as Ortho and others, letting youto make the type of soup you like.
know that their product will effectively wipe out theseYou should also try nettles in egg dishes. Heat the 
“worthless plants” in your gardens.pan and fill it with nettle greens. Now would be the 

It’s understandable why so many people dislike nettle.time to add chopped onions too. After a few minutes 

If you haven’t yet made nettle’s acquaintance, brushwhen the greens have started to wilt, add your eggs.
up against a few plants with bare arms or legs. Ouch!You can turn this into a scrambled egg dish, or anThose tiny white needles that cover the plant are notomelette. Again, nettles has flavor, so you don’t reallyspines, like cactus spines. They are actually hollowhave to add anything to it. If anything, add some hot 
needles filled with formic acid, and the formic acid sauce. 
gets onto your skin when you brush against the plant.These days, I collect up to 10 gallons of the freshFormic acid causes an immediate burning sensation,plant when it’s in season. It’s not hard to get this much,
and, in severe cases, severe welts that will last for because people who have it growing profusely in theirhours. The burning of nettles is relieved by taking theyards typically want to get rid of it. And yes, it savescommon curly dock leaves, bruising them, and rubbingsome money too, as I’ve noted that the boxes of nettlethem on the nettled skin. No curly dock? I have takenherb tea at herb stores are not cheap.
the young leaves of wild grasses, crushed it so it wasI take the 10 gallons of the nettle herb and wash itlike a poultice, and applied it to nettled skin with goodall in an outdoor sink to get rid of any dirt. I also tryresults. If you have any Aloe vera leaves nearby, thoseto remove all the ladybugs which seem to like living inare even better for dealing with the nettle burns.the nettle plants. About half of the nettle I place into

Though I don’t eat nettles raw, for the past severalmy drying racks to dry. These are mesh trays that hangyears I have been collecting young nettles with my barein the shade. I don’t remove the stems, but just set it allhands, and it seems to bother me less and less. out to dry. When thoroughly dry, I crush the leaves and

So why do we do to all this bother? Are wild nettlesstems and store in jars, and then use stems and leavesany good?for tea. If I want to use some of this into a soup, I first

Not only are the cooked nettle greens delicious, butsift out just the fine leaf and add that to the soup.
they are also very nutritious for you.I typically process the other half of my harvested

Nutritionally, nettles is a good source of Vitamin Cnettle for adding to soups and stews. I remove all 
and A. According to the USDA’s Composition of Foods, the leaves from the stems, which is the most time100 
grams of nettle contains 6,500 I.U. of Vitamin A,consuming part of the process. Then I wash itand 76 mg. of Vitamin C. There was no data on the thoroughly, chop it fine on my cutting board, andother commonly measured minerals and vitamins –blanche it. Blaching means that I put it all into a bigperhaps more recent research is available.pot, fill with water, and bring the water to a boil. At

Herbalist Michael Moore, author of Medicinal Plants that point, I drain the liquid (often I keep it for a soupof the Mountain West, describes nettles as a diuretic base), and then parcel out the blanched nettle intoand astringent, and he advices the tea for use in cases ofsmall freezer bags for future use. I always label andinternal bleeding. I have made an infusion of the dried date the bags, and even when I freeze a lot, it neverherb for years and drank it when I had allergies. It’s veryseems to last more than a few months. 
effective, plus it tastes good.Drying and freezing are the two ways in which I

It is probably common knowledge that nettlesextend the natural season of nettle into the later part ofprovided food for Europeans during WWII whenthe year.
normal food supplies were not there. Nettles grewAlso, as most survival skills practitioners know,
everywhere and many good recipes were developedthe stalk of nettle makes a good fibre for such thingsduring that cordage, netting, snares, sandals, and baskets. You 

On the Wild Food Outings that I conduct, we usuallygather the mature stalks and let them rot in water forfind patches of the nettle which are best collected ina few weeks. Then you gently pound them to get thelate winter and spring. One participant, Carlos Hall,fibre, which you then twine into cordage of your desiredwould always be sure to collect a large bag of the nettlethickness and length. Of course, if you cannot wait atops whenever we encountered some. Then we’d make few weeks, you simply take the stalks to the river andour fire and cook the tender greens in a large pot. Thisbegin the gentle pounding to extract the fibre.
was Carlos’ favorite dish, and it was because of Carlos’ Nettles are found growing best near streams, ininsistence that I began to collect and eat nettles onmoist soil, in rich soil, and often near raspberries anda more regular basis. As Carlos often pointed out,blackberry vines. I also find it growing sparsely in thethe nettle greens, simply boiled and served with nopoorest soil, so its distribution is pretty widespread.Ifseasonings at all, was always delicious and had a flavoryou cannot yet recognize the wild nettle plant, mostsimilar to buttered greens.gardeners or landscapers should be able to show you

Once we’d all eaten the greens, we began to use theone. Or go to a nursery, where nettles are often growingwater that they’d been boiled in. Again, with nothing in the pots. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


An incident happened this past week in which I not lay a glove on them. Of course it is not her 
am still scratching my head. Have you ever known glove I am worried about, it is her evil eye that 
you had something, but for the life of you could not goes through a person, me in particular, like a 
find it? I will accede to the fact that occasionally, laser beam. 
I do have a streak of absent-mindedness running My wife always knows when I’m lying. My lips 
through me. At times, I wish it would just walk.are moving.

I was fairly certain I had an extra $20 in one Coming back to the missing $20. I could offer 
of my pant’s pockets. It was what I affectionately to split it with her if she would help me find it, 
refer to as my “mad Money.” My wife would be which would leave me with $10. $10 in the hand is 
mad if she knew I had it. I do not remember where worth more than $20 that I do not know where it 
it came from but my real problem was, I could not is. 
find those pants.Then, I would have to explain what I needed 

Usually, if I find money in my pants pocket there $10 for at the time. Christmas is over and her 
is only one explanation. I’m wearing somebody’s birthday and our anniversary are a long way off, 
pants, but not mine. The truth is, my pants rarely so I cannot tell her I want to buy her a present.
see any extra money. If there is an occasion when I did have plans for that $20. Now, I cannot 
I do have money in my pocket, my pants get all even remember what those plans were. Maybe, if 
excited and wrinkly.I knew what I planned to do with the $20 I might 

Only this was different. I distinctly remember remember what I did with the $20. 
putting a $20 bill in one of my pants pockets While I was musing on this situation, I 
and thinking what I could do with it. But now, discovered a correlation between money and love. 
I cannot find it. I knew I had an extra $20. I Without love, you end up with a broken heart. 
distinctly remember putting it somewhere. I’ve Without money, you just end up broke.
looked everywhere... maybe I should have looked Then out of nowhere, and I mean nowhere, an 
somewhere. idea entered my head. I remembered wearing my 

With the aimless look on my face, more aimless brown suit when I got $20. I went to my closet, but 
than normal, I wandered the house in search of the suit was not there. 
the missing $20. I tried to act inconspicuous so “Have you seen my brown suit?” I asked my 
the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage would not wife. 
discover what I was doing.“Yes,” she said rather absent-mindedly, “I sent it 

Obviously, no Emmy award will come my way to the dry cleaner. Why do you ask?”
because my acting inconspicuous was a complete Then, with a little smirk dancing on her face, 
failure. she asked, “You weren’t looking for $20, were 

“What are you looking for?” My wife”
“Nothing,” I stammered.The only thing I hope is that I do not remember 
“When you find it, let me know. I really don’t where the $20 came from or what I planned to do 

know what nothing looks like.” with it. I guess a freshly dry cleaned suit is worth 

Ha. Ha. Ha. Sometimes she thinks she is a $20. 
comedian. However, I was not laughing. If I find Seeking that money reminded me of a verse of 
that money, the joke will be on her. Then we will Scripture. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
see who is laughing.and his righteousness; and all these things shall be 

I had two fears facing me at this point. First, she added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the 
could have found the money and was waiting for morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the 
me to admit that I actually had some extra money. things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
This would invite a great deal of grief on top of my thereof ” (Matthew 6:33-34).
balding head.Then another verse. “Seek ye the LORD while 

Second, if I told her I was looking for money he may be found, call ye upon him while he is 
she would want to know where I got extra money. near” (Isaiah 55:6).
If I cannot remember where the money is, how in No matter how hard you search for something, 
the world am I going to remember where it came if it is not there, you will never find it. But with 
from? God it is a different story. When we truly seek 

Then, she would want to know how much more him, we always find him. 
money I had misplaced somewhere in the house. 
Actually, I want to know that myself.Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God 

Such interrogation from her borders on Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife 
waterboarding. If the FBI wants to learn a thing in Silver Springs Shores. Phone 352-687-4240 oror two about torturing people, they could learn an e-mail The church web site 
awful lot from her. She can torture a person and is 

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