My daughter, the college student -- 07/12/00

Jennifer went through freshman orientation Monday and Tuesday, got campus tours, diversity training, membership pitches by various campus organizations, and registered for classes for the fall semester. She now has a computer printout listing her courses. I guess that officially makes her a college student.

She has a pretty good schedule: only four days of classes (Wednesdays are free), first class at noon, and her latest class runs until 6:50 one day a week. That's mostly good news. There are two drawbacks: parking spaces will be hard to find when she gets to campus and three days a week she'll be finished with school just in time for maximum rush hour traffic.

After spending a night in the dorms she's convinced she would not want to live on campus (there's no room for fall anyway) but I think she would prefer to live somewhere other than home. It's not that she has problems at home, just a natural desire to be more independent. I completely understand that. Naturally I like having her at home; she is a delightful person to know and I enjoy her company very much. Also, as a parent I constantly worry about her safety... *sigh* My guess is that she will commute from home this fall semester. I make no predictions for after that.

If you've watched tv news or read your daily newspaper or visited any of the major news websites, you've no doubt heard about the Pizza Hut logo on the rocket that launched the Russion module for the space station. This space mission sponsored by Pizza Hut. Talk about commercial activity in space... Over the past few years I have heard people suggest that movie producers might want to shoot some footage in space in order to show weightlessness (and, indeed, something like this was done for Apollo 13 where some of the weightless scenes were filmed on "the vomit comet" -- in the cargo hold of a plane looping to provide a few seconds of free fall.) It has also been suggested that a significant chunk of the expedition costs of a Mars venture might be covered by selling the motion picture and video rights. And in Ben Bova's recent novel, Return to Mars, that's exactly what takes place, with a home tv audience in the billions...

But it's happening for real, folks, and I don't just mean the Pizza Hut logo (or the deal for uniforms that the Russion cosmonauts now have with Versace). LunaCorp will be landing a remote control lunar rover in 2003, selling various sponsorships and commercial tie-ins... including having a sponsor run a contest to pick a lucky winner to be the driver (via remote control) after the rover lands and begins its trip on the lunar surface (and then lots of people can experience the journey via simulators that will not only show them a rover camera view but will bounce them around just as if they were seated in a command chair aboard the rover)... and so forth... the mind boggles....

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