Mike wasn't sure what he did to "deserve" gifts and an interview but then recalled his old saying, "The only thing you deserve is an ass whoopin', you earn everything you get." Such a quintessential motto for a man of his generation. Mike is a father, grandfather, husband, photographer, gardener, mountaineer and retired machinist- just to brush the surface.
I was impressed to hear about Mike's time as a Mechanical Technician. He started, as a kid, rebuilding old war plane engines and getting the G's knocked out of him by his pilot boss. Apparently a good way to counter a passenger's airsickness is to freefall into barrel rolls until they nearly black out....
Out of highshool, Mike took a machine trade class for a year, did well and got hired out. He moved back and forth between New Mexico and Texas before moving to Colorado to work with Ball Aerospace Technologies.
One of his (declassified) projects at Ball was building a "deep impactor" in 2002. It launched a satellite that dropped a 99.9% pure-copper impactor into a comet. This allowed them to examine the fragments and dust of the comet to see what materials it was made of.
Mike also worked on the JWST (James Webb Space Telescope). This is the telescope NASA uses today to capture the deepest ever images of outer space! He helped build all the mirror work for the telescope. The JWST has one main mirror and 18 secondary mirrors that are 3 foot hexagons, gold coated and made of incredibly fragile beryllium. Each mirror has 6 motors that can change the prescription by nanometers in order to zero in on images billions of light years away!
We reminisced on his families travels to Australia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Alaska and few other stops on the way. From the depths of the sea to the space station, Mike would most prefer to spend his time backpacking with his sons in the mountains, which he did all across Colorado's continental divide and up in Alaska. If you're at high elevation and think you hear cows mooing, make some noise and watch out! Mike and his son encountered a grizzly and her cubs which, evidentially, can impersonate our less dangerous bovine friends.
As we step into October, I will likely hop into Mike's shop to borrow some tools for creative projects. But first, I've got a handful of half finished pieces and ideas to wrap up. Of course, I'll keep you posted on when things turn out.
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for tuning in! Have a lovely time and get your butt outside to see some pretty autumn colors.