Media Day on Mauna Kea With NASA Developers and the Moon Rover

Today (originally posted 11/13/08) I had the privilege of taking part in the “Media Day” up top Mauna Kea.

I mentioned the SCARAB tests that would be happening on my blog here.

…NASA’s In Situ Resource Utilization project focuses on developing methods for astronauts to take advantage of lunar resources at landing sites on the moon. During two weeks of field tests, NASA will demonstrate prototype systems that could enable a sustainable and affordable lunar outpost by minimizing the amount of water and oxygen that must be supplied from Earth. The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, headquartered at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, will host the tests.

Reporters will be able to observe and photograph various tests of a prototype moon rover designed to prospect for ice in lunar craters, and two systems to manufacture oxygen from the lunar soil. Engineers involved in the development of these systems will be available for interviews…

There was about 30 – 40 people from the general media there.  People from Japan, Canada, the Mainland, as well as Hawaii.

NASA workers were from all over the place.

I arrived at the staging area about 8:30 and we all got debriefed.

We moved our cars to just below the staging area and then boarded 4X4’s to take us up the mountain to where the demonstrations were taking place.

About 2 miles off the main access road we finally descended into this valley on Mauna Kea:valley

It was really kind of a weird sensation.  I felt like I was in the movie “Close Encounters” at the end of the movie when they discovered the hidden military base.


It was very interesting, and VERY COLD.

I happened to be in the carpool with AP Writer Karin Stanton so it was kind of cool being able to feed off each others questions.  The person that was driving us… was one of the Big Wigs of the project and he was telling us the reasons behind Mauna Kea being selected as the test site.

The primary reasons were, the soil on Mauna Kea is similar to that of the Moon, the location and proximity of the site to other experiments being done, and the fact that the conditions over all on Mauna Kea were similar to that of the Moon.

There were official looking people that had Red Jump Suits on that were standing around ready to answer questions that anyone had:


There are three things that are being field tested up there right now:

1. The Scarab:


Look real close at the tires


There was a  gentlemen that was from Michelin tires on hand to answer questions.  Michelin is providing the tires for the Moon Rover.  He actually told me that these tires were more then a Million Dollars!


Close up of tire:


2. We then got to look at a piece of the equipment that the SCARAB will carry on the moon.  This was known as RESOLVE: Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction, which basically can create water from Soil… or Moon dust:



3. They also had on hand their “CRATOS” which is a robotic excavator that will collect soil, however, this was not working at the time:


In total, we spent about 2 hours up there.  My wife was fortunate enough to be able to take vacation pay today so she was able to join me on this excursion.  Besides that, she’s the smart one in the family.

We got back into a Harpers 4×4 Rental Van.  William Ing and Peter Sur from the Hawaii Tribune Herald rode back to the staging area with us.  They informed me that it did not appear that the West Hawaii Today had sent anyone.

I’m sure the Tribune Herald will have more on this in the next day or two.

There will be a public demonstration on Saturday at the Imiloa Center in Hilo.

But the real footage that you are going to want to catch… Is Big Island Video News Footage of the story as soon as Mr. Corrigan is through Digitizing his footage and adding it to his site… that is where you are gonna see the action as well as video responses from those that were actually giving the tour.

A great day at the mountain… although it was stormy in Puna… it was a beautiful day up top Mauna Kea.

* I see Karin wrote up her piece for the Honolulu Advertiser here.

** More on these tires that the rover had here.

***UPDATE – Photo Gallery Added (Click Picture for Larger Picture)

First Earthdome Built in Hawaii… The Video and Explanation

Dave Corrigan and I were talking about this Earthdome House that we saw on a flyer at the Pahoa Parade.

Wikipedia picture of an Earthdome

Wikipedia picture of an Earthdome

I just saw this video of Mark Hansen talking about the construction of this Earthdome that someone posted on youtube today.

Using Cal-Earth design technology Mark Hansen builds first ever home using all local materials from the Big Island of Hawaii:


Damon Dollars Now Being Sold… “Pimp My Blog”

If you have been following my blog, you know by now that I’m looking for a job.

I’ve had some good leads and things look to be on the upside.   I recently got fingerprinted by the FBI for a “Subbing” position with the DOE.

I figured I’d try and be creative and give people a chance at their own little piece of advertisement on what I will coin “Damon Dollars”.

Here’s the deal.  You get to write a message on a dollar and then send it to me.  I’ll post it on my website for the world to see your message.

You get your message posted at the top of this site under “DAMON DOLLARS”… I get a “Damon Dollar”!

I can tell you now… I’ll proceeds will go directly into my pocket.  Well then back into the community as I spend them.

So I’m now investing my first one dollar into this:


And hey… if even if you don’t want to post a message… you can still send a brother a dollar!

Damon Tucker, P.O. Box 1982, Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

P.S. Business cards look good on Lincolns.

More From Inside Pahoa’s New Museum

A couple weeks ago I posted some pictures and a small snippet about Pahoa’s new community museum that is going to open in February.

I went by today and was able to get some more pictures:


No the following picture is not upside down.  This is a large map of the Big Island that has been hung upside down on the ceiling.   I asked the person (Sandre) that was inside about the map, but he didn’t have that much information.  He did mention that the map maker was someone who designs the larger maps in the world…(or something to that effect):

Notice Ceiling Fan on Left for an Idea of the Scale of the Map

Notice Ceiling Fan on Left for an Idea of the Scale of the Size of the Map

Of course what museum wouldn’t be complete without it’s share of Hollywood memorabilia and other collectibles from the ages:

Other collectibles from the Olden Days of Pahoa

Other Collectibles from the Olden Days of Pahoa

They are still shooting for a February grand opening.

More pictures on my previous blog here.

I don’t want to give away all the secrets of this place.  :cool:

Emily’s Office… or OUR Office? A Visit to the Pahoa County Office – Pictures

I got a chance to finally look for our Council District 5 office that the Puna district recently got funding for. I heard it was in the Malama Shopping center, but I wasn’t exactly sure where.

Approaching the shopping center I found this cute little “Burial Marker” at the front of Malama Shopping center:


Nice that it’s called “Emily’s Office” and Not the County District 5 Office

I pull into the Subway there and go around to the back of the shopping center and tucked in the back I found her office behind the garbage dumpsters (coincidence?):


Of course it was a weekend so I didn’t expect it to be open, however, I was hoping to see some sort of office hours, phone number, or just something in general that would let me know when someone would be in the office.


The relief to know that it is Pahoa’s Office and Not Emily’s

I appreciate all the hard work that went into getting this office for our district.

I just wonder how busy they are inside the office if they are having to make signs like the one above in order to get people in the door.

idea I might just stop in sometime this week to see what goes on during the week in a “County Office”.

Now that I know where it is. :roll:

Superplume Beneath Hawaii May Have Shaped the Earth

I love the word… Superplume!

The two superplumes, one beneath Hawaii and the other beneath Africa, have likely existed for at least 200 million years, explained Wendy Panero, assistant professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University.

The giant plumes — or “superpiles” as Panero calls them — rise from the bottom of Earth’s mantle, just above our planet’s core. Each is larger than the continental United States. And each is surrounded by a wall of plates from Earth’s crust that have sunk into the mantle…

superplume1More Here

Local Media Picks Up on PGV Admission… Why Weren’t We Told About This 3 Years Ago?

Yesterday, Andrew Cooper sent me an email telling me to check out his recent blog about PGV Drills Into Magma.  I posted a small blip about it here.

The story has taken off… but why has it taken 3 years to do so?

Peter Sur from the Hawaii Tribune followed up today here:

“…Plant manager Michael Kaleikini said workers noticed the drill bit was experiencing some torque, which often indicates loose rock was gettting stuck in the well. So the drill team backed up about 30 or 40 feet and tried again — but they found that the well had become shallow by 20 feet. They repeated the procedure, but found that the well had lost 20 feet again…”

PGV Plant Manager Mike Kalehihi

PGV Plant Manager Mike Kaleikini (I love it... I can actually say "Photo by DamonTucker")

Big Island Video News posted a link here along with a clip of the PGV plant when Dave and I  had a chance to visit the site last week.  (I wish we had known about this story now!)

Nature Magazine has picked up the story 4 hours ago.

And of course the Advertiser will have it on it’s breaking news soon enough. ;)

My question… why weren’t any of us alerted to this earlier?


My wife has been drinking Tazo Chai Tea for a few years now.  I really didn’t like the taste of it when I first tried .

This past weekend as I was sick… I started drinking it in hopes that my stomach bug would get better.

It really helped a lot… and now I find myself just drinking it for the hell of it.

I’ve never been much of a Tea Drinker… so I find myself amazed that I actually dig this stuff.

If you ever see it in the store… try it out!  It’s a bit more expensive then some other teas… but they always say….”You get what you pay for”.


Hawaii Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Anthony Marzi handed me some literature at the recent PAR workshop held at the public library on a new program sponsored by OHA,  called the Hawaii Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

I didn’t really have much of a chance to view the literature during the meeting but I have since checked out their web site.

Its an organization that is set up to provide a wide range of services to small start up businesses such as: Counseling, Bid Matching, Market Research, Assisting in Bid Preparation, and Securing Registration  & Certification.

Their mission:

Is to help small businesses better understand how to successfuly market goods & services to the government (at the federal, state, and county levels) that can result in job creation, income generation, and business retention.

More about this unique opportunity here.

Report From Informed Citizen Workshop… Pictures

I just got back from the “Informed Citizen Workshop” that was presented by the State Legislatures Public Access Room.

About 13 – 15 people were in attendance.

It was a pleasure to see someone from the Public Access Room that I had worked with previously at the Legislature, Ms. Suzanne Marinelli.

Most of the information at the meeting was about how to read the legislatures website.

Something that struck me… was that 92% of the bills that are introduced to the legislature, end up failing.

Suzanne Marinelli explains what it takes to get a bill introduced

Suzanne Marinelli explains what it takes to get a bill introduced

A key phrase that Ms. Marinelli emphasized, was that “We are all Lobbyist.”  Another thing she mentioned, was that the Representatives themselved don’t write the bills… they only introduce them most of the time on behalf of others.

Anthony Marzi, Frankie (Gotcha) Stapleton and others listen closely

Anthony Marzi, Frankie (Gotcha) Stapleton and others listen closely

There will be two more meetings like the one held tonight.

  • Tuesday 12/16/08, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Waimea Thelma Parker Library

  • Wednesday 12/17/08, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Kona Liquor Control Conference Room  (75-5722 Hanama Place, #1107, Kailua-Kona)

You can view my original post on this here to learn more about what was talked about in the meeting.

Questions About Atmospheric Pressure Answered on Big Island

My ears pop all the time when I’m driving around Hawaii. I can get my ears to pop at least once driving from Hilo to Pahoa.

My mom lives about 3 miles up Waianuenue… and my ears can pop just from driving from Bayfront, up to her house.

I’m curious if atmospheric pressure has anything to do with it?  When I lived on the mainland, it hardly seems like I can remember my ears popping.

For over two centuries, meteorologists were puzzled by the observation that atmospheric pressure in the tropics peaks at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m…
…The waves, called solar tides, propagate to the ground as they travel around the globe. Strong support for this theory has now been presented in a study by a US-Japan team of scientists spearheaded by University of Hawai’i (UH) Professor Kevin Hamilton, Interim Director of the UH climate research center, the International Pacific Research Center…
…Hamilton reasoned that if the proposed explanation was correct, then the pressure variations should be affected systematically by topography. Since mountains cast a kind of shadow for the atmospheric wave as it propagates westward (following the sun) and downward, he predicted that the pressure variations should be weaker on the west than the east side of steep mountains…
One of the most dramatic examples of the shadow effect in the computer model results occurs with the tall mountains of the Big Island of Hawaii

More Here

East Hawaii Cultural Center Putting Performances and Workshops on Youtube

The East Hawaii Cultural Center has joined the digital era by putting youtube clips of some of the workshops and performances that happen at the place online.


This is great for many people who are not able to attend the events.

Check them out Here.

Here is one of the more recent performances:


Maureen Freehill, who has studied with Butoh masters, including Kazuo Ohno, performs to live music with the influence of 2-dimensional artwork by Sudha Achar Freehill…

Hunter Bishop’s Official Job Title: “Public Relations Specialist”

I’m sure most of us were just as surprised as Hunter Bishop was when he was selected by Mayor-Elect Billy Kenoi to work on his “Team”.

On Bishop’s last blog, he mentioned his new job title would be:

“Public Information Officer”

In a recent media release, he signed his name:

Hunter Bishop – Public Relations Specialist

I asked Mr. Bishop what his official title was, and he confirmed that it is:


I’m not sure what the real difference is or if there even is a difference.  I just thought I’d put it out there that his new job title is different then what he originally posted on his “Swan Song”.


Update – NOW OPEN: The Pahoa Village Cafe


I just took a cruise through Pahoa and I noticed across from Luquins Restaurant that another restaurant is “Returning” to business.  The Pahoa Village Cafe will be opening it’s doors soon for business which will give Pahoa residents one more choice to choose from a limited amount of restaurants that are here.

Opening Soon

A Door Plastered with Notices

Honeyeaters in Hawaii Different then Honeyeaters Elsewheres

Just read this interesting article about the Hawaiian Honeyeater Birds:
…”Everybody assumed Hawaii’s honeyeaters were the same as the ones in Australia and New Guinea,” said Robert Fleischer of the Smithsonian Institution. “In fact, nobody had a clue who their relatives really were…”
…They now reveal that the Hawaiian honeyeaters don’t fit anywhere near the Australasian honeyeaters. Instead, their closest relatives are waxwings, silky flycatchers, and palm chats, mostly fruit and insect feeders that do not resemble honeyeaters in any apparent way…
More Here

Jim Morrison of the “Doors”… His Brother Andrew Lives in Pahoa???

I was just reading this blog and I was stunned to read the following:

…George S. Morrison, who commanded the fleet during the Gulf of Tonkin incident that led to an escalation of the Vietnam War and whose son Jim was the lead singer of the Doors, died Nov. 17 in Coronado, Calif. He was 89 and lived in Coronado…

…His wife, Clara Clarke, died in 2005. Besides his daughter, Anne, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., he is survived by his son Andrew, of Pahoa, Hawaii. Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971…


I’m a pretty big fan of the “Doors”… so if anyone knows how to get a hold of this Mr. Andrew Morrison, I’d love to sit down and treat him to lunch sometime!

“FCC in the House”

I urge all of you who are interested in the digital tv switchover to check out Leslie Wilcox’s Blog today.

… Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and other FCC staffers will visit PBS Hawaii in Honolulu this afternoon, to tape a television program about Hawaii’s digital transition January 15…

…Under the direction of PBS Hawaii’s  VP/Creative Services Robert Pennybacker, we’ll tape and produce a digital TV informational program which will be aired multiple times by most if not all full-power broadcasters in the state.

There’s basic information to convey and there are important points to make…

I’m looking forward to viewing these upcoming specials.  I’m not sure why I’m so interested in it now, as I’m no longer working in a TV studio.

Continental Jet to Lift Off with Fuel Based from Hawaii Algae and Jatropha From Africa

Late in the morning on Jan. 7, a Continental Airlines jet is scheduled to lift off powered in part by algae from Hawaii and a tough shrub from Africa called jatropha.

The historic flight, from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, will mark the first time a commercial aircraft of a U.S. carrier has flown on biodiesel fuel. Airlines hope biofuels can reduce their dependence on jet fuel and lower global carbon emissions…

More Here

Moondog Outside Right Now

I just heard that there was a “Moondog” tonight.  Sure enough, I looked out and it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

I can’t get my camera to work… and it’s starting to fade, but if you read my blog in the next few minutes go out and check out the moon.

Following picture by Andrew Cooper:

December 8th "Halo" - Picture by Andrew Cooper (The Darker Side)

December 8th "Halo" - Picture by Andrew Cooper (The Darker Side)

If anyone catches a picture of tonights Moondog here in Hawaii… I’d love to see it…

Can you hear me Mr. Cooper or Tom?

Ulupono Center – Questions Answered From the Developer… Is Puna Getting a THIRD Longs?

I noticed that the Ulupono Center website was no longer running and I was curious if that meant anything like there was a stoppage in work on the place or something.

I fired off  the following  quick question to the developer last week:

To: Generalinfo
Subject: Question on Hawaii Property Ulupono Town Center?

I was curious about the Hawaii property listed on your website but the
link doesn’t work on the following page:  (The Ulupono Hawaii Property)

Any information you can provide would be very much appreciated.

Thank you,

Damon Tucker
Pahoa, Hawaii

I just received the following from the developer:

Mr. Tucker-

Thank you for your interest in Ulupono Center.  We are currently working on the website, and it should be back up in the coming days.

There are 10 finished, fee-simple lots for sale at Ulupono ranging in size from about half an acre to one acre.  Prices are $16 per square foot.  Long’s Drugs has already purchased the two largest lots in the project.

If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to let me

Dan Jones
Foster Enterprises

So we know about the Longs that is coming to Pahoa by Burger King and KFC near Woodland center from this blog posting.

There is already a Longs in the Keaau Shopping Center.

Does this future Ulupono one make 3 Longs Stores?  I can only assume that they would probably close down the one that is in the Keaau Market Place since that one is primarily just a prescription outlet.

Also interesting that no other lots have been purchased as of yet.

I’m not a realtor and I won’t pretend to be one… so maybe someone can answer my question.

Is $16.00 per square feet a good price for this location?