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A most amazing live video streaming experience

I had a most amazing live video streaming experience today.  I’m still in awe at what I was able to witness.

One of my hobbies is following news stories about astronomy.  I like to monitor what is happening with many of the current space missions that NASA and JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) administer.  Two of my favourites are the two Martian rovers, Opportunity and Spirit.  The two rovers were launched in 2003 and were designed to operate for about 90 days on the Martian surface.  As of today, this is Opportunity’s 1770th day, and Spirits 1791th day!  I find this incredibly fascinating!

But that’s not the amazing experience I had today, although it was related to these missions.

Let me digress for just a moment…..

I remember a night when I was in high school.  A classmate and good friend convinced me to attend a public lecture at my local university in Windsor ON on astronomy, given by one of the physics professors (unfortunately, I can’t remember his name).  I was absolutely spell bound by the lecture.  I thought it was absolutely amazing that a university professor would take the time to hold a talk like this for the general public on a topic that I found (and still find) absolutely fascinating.

I have heard of many more such talks that have been given by well known professors at Universities all over the world, but that I have been unable to attend.

Now for my experience…

Today, on a live streaming website called Ustream, I was able to watch, LIVE,  a one hour lecture given by the principle investigator of the Mars rover missions, Dr. Steve Squyres at Cal Tech in California. It was on the rover missions in honour of the fifth anniversary of their landing on Mars.  His presentation had me completely riveted.  By back is still sore from being hunched over my laptop screen and not moving for the entire hour!

It’s not only the content of the presentation that had such an effect on me (and it was a great lecture, I’m glad I made the time to see it).  The fact that I was able to see it LIVE on my laptop just blows me away.    It brought me right back to that first lecture I attended so many years ago (sorry, won’t say how many!  🙂   ) it makes me sit right now in wonder at what I have available at my fingertips today on my humble little laptop and my internet connection.  What I wouldn’t have given to be able to do this so many years ago!

I know that streaming video is not a new concept on the net, it’s been around for quite a few years now.  This is my first real experience with it.  I’m surprised at the effect this experience has had on me. I’m going to make a point to look for more opportunities like this in the future.

Oh yeah, by the way, in case I haven’t made it clear how much I like using Twitter: I found out about this broadcast just a few minutes before it began
through one of my Twitter contacts. Signing up for, and using Twitter,
has been one of the best technological decisions I have ever made!

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