North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
April 19, 2021
            April 30:  Rotary Serves. 2nd Harvest project, 2-4 p.m.  Six of 12 spots still open.  Call President-elect Lenore Romney.
            Happy Buck$$:
                      Lenore and Bob Romney enjoyed their first weekend of boating at Couer d’Alene, but Lenore said it was chilly and her pillow “was like an ice cube.”
                      President Steve Bergman added $2, one for her daughter’s birthday in LaConner and one for his son, an E-3 in the Navy, for having his name affixed to a jet.
                      Ron Noble was grateful that a five-hour Zoom meeting scheduled soon was canceled.
 Who knows more stars than Joe Bruce?
            Star-gazing has been a life-long passion for Joe Bruce.
            Joe, an assistant governor for Rotary District 5080, also is an ambassador for NASA asin eastern Washington and North Idaho. 
            In his Zoom-cave basement, and wearing his blue NASA suit and NASA patch, Joe shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the stars with eight club members on Zoom.  Joe also wore his Rotary pin
            And what a day to have Joe’s talk to the club!
            Ingenuity, the small solar-powered rotor drone had just successfully launched and landed its first foray on to Mars.
            The mother ship, Perseverance launched last July 30 and reached Mars, some 300 million miles away, on February 18. (And what great names for space exploration!)
            Ingenuity thus perhaps became the first craft to launch then land on another planet anywhere.  Suitably, a swatch of the Wright Brothers’ first landing at Kitty Hawk was on board with Ingenuity.    
            Percy is described as sedan-sized.  The small drone rose about 10 feet and landed in the dust 40 seconds later.
            Titling his talk “Joe’s Greatest Hits,” Bruce detailed spaces where the skies just start begin the limit.
            It is hard to envision the times and lengths involved.
            The Milky Way – our solar system – is more than 150 light years and has some 400 billion stars.
            The Andromeda Galaxy, some 2.5 billion light years away, has more than a billion stars.
            Joe said if the two galaxies collide, say in a billion years or so, there still would be space to avoid the stars from bumping into each other.
            Asked if there is any form of life on any of those stars, Joe said simply, “Probably.”
            “Follow the water,” Joe said, saying melted ice crystals are the clearest signs of some life forms.
            Bruce talked about the gaseous rings of Saturn and the four moons of Jupiter, where Europa’s tide force may have water under its ice.   And if you think our moon is large, Bruce said one of Jupiter’s Galileo moon “would fit three Earth’s in one moon.” 
            Joe is as persistent as Perseverance in following the stars.
            Stymied by heavy clouds in Spokane, he drove to Reardon, then followed dirt trails to see a break in the clouds to stalk his stars.
            He routinely takes his camera gear and computers to corn fields in Mead and wheat fields in Freeman.  And his cameras include lens of 11 and 16 inches.  He showed clear photos of the International Space Station from 250 miles away and traveling 17,000 miles per speed.
            Joe also has a special lens to photograph sun spots.
            Bruce grew up in the apple fields of Leavenworth, where he first looked skyward in a serious manner.  He is a graduate of Central Washington University.
            Back to Mars.  Joe advised travelers to wear special space suits because the atmosphere is 99 percent lighter than Earth’s air.  And Martian air is mostly carbon dioxide.
            Joe beamed about the success of Ingenuity and Percy.  Of that morning’s drone landing, Joe said, “They had a room full of very happy scientists.”
            Count Joe in that glee – and all of the members who enjoy his galactic talk. 
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink