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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NASA countdown clock finally retired

A news story today talks about the retiring and replacement of the original NASA countdown clock --- the "second-most watched clock in the world,"
after the clock in London's Elizabeth Tower (the tower that houses the "Great Bell," nicknamed Big Ben).

I'm sure you've seen the clock:

AP Photo:
 


I saw it in person in 2011, when I was a guest of NASA to attend the launch of the Mars Science Lab, and its rover, Curiosity.

My Pix:

Fellow attendees goofing in front of the clock:   

45 years of salt air had taken its toll:





I was surprised --- aside from the general hoopty quality of the clock --- that the numerals were made up of ordinary, and mismatched, incandescent bulbs.


Most were 40-watt; some frosted, some not; clearly whatever was available from the local Wal-Mart or Home Depot.



The new clock is LED and all-electronic, although it will look much the same on the outside. It should be ready for the launch of the first (uncrewed) flight of Orion, scheduled for next week.

The original clock will be cleaned, and displayed in a museum. :)