Monday, December 6, 2010

A very special "Why Me?" Cindi, the Android Spacegirl

Friends, I am so excited to introduce you one amazing Spacegirl! Not only that, but Cindi and I will get to meet each other this Sunday at Exploration Station in San Francisco! It's a free and very fun event for young and young at hearts, giving you a chance to learn about today's science, meet scientists, NASA people and two awesome chicks; Cindi and Camilla! Plus there is also free cool stuff to collect there. So, without any more selfish promotion about this family event - let's meet her! The one-and-only Android Spacegirl Cindi! 


Cindi, I am so happy to talk about you! Please tell my friends more about yourself and what you do?

Oh, I'm just an ordinary android spacegirl who works as a dogcatcher. It's not the most glamorous job around, but the pay is good. Plus, the view is fantastic and I get to work outside and get lots of sun!


How did you become involved in this?

Back in 2004 Dr. Marc Hairston and Dr. Mary Urquhart at the University of Texas at Dallas were trying to think of ways to let people know about NASA's CINDI mission and they needed a mascot.  I just happen to live up here in space and it turned out my dogcatching ability is a lot like what the CINDI instruments do.  And by a *really* strange coincidence, I also spell my name the same way they spell their mission's name!  They contacted me and the rest is history. My android spacegirl friends Dawn, Calipso, Mini-RF, and Sofia are very annoyed that no one from *those* NASA missions ever contacted *them* about being mascots.



You are a superhero with two comic books. What kind of adventures do you go through in your comic book and how does this relate to real life?

In the comic books I show folks what I do as a space dogcatcher.  I have these two nets, one that catches dogs with tails and one that catches dogs without tails.  Like me, the CINDI instrument has two detectors, one that catches atoms with all their electrons (neutrals) and one that catches atoms that are missing an electron (ions).  I help explain to people how these
ions in the upper atmosphere create the Earth's ionosphere. I also explain why those ions matter by sometimes interfering with radio signals between satellites and technology on the ground. Just like storms down there on Earth can mess up things in your life, space weather storms in the ionosphere can mess up your GPS navigation and other satellite communications.


A third book is coming up and I hear it's a little bit related to what Little SDO is doing up there. Can you give me some hints?

We started out explaining the ionosphere (which is the part of the atmosphere between 80 km to 1000 km) since that's the part of space that CINDI studies. But that's just part of space weather that's out there.  To understand it completely you need to see all the other parts too, and it all starts with the sun and the solar wind.  So our next book will be "Cindi in the Solar 
Wind" and we're going to put Little SDO in there.  (Would you like to be in there too,
Camilla?)  I'd love a chance to do even more comics so I can talk about the Earth's magnetosphere and about all the other planets in our solar system. Besides, it's great to see my picture in print!



Oh Cindi - I know Little will be thrilled to hear that he is going to be in a comic book. As for me, I would love to be in a comic book someday. Yes, that is for sure. But I have so much work to do before I deserve to be in one with you and Little in it! 






Where can we find more information about you and where can teachers get their hands on your book?

The neat thing about our books is that they're *free*.  You can download them to your computer by going to our website at

Cindi's Website

And of course you can always become my fan on facebook.

Cindi's Facebook Fan Page


(I love having fans, don't you Camilla? ^_^ ) I post new stuff about space and science and comic books there a couple of times a week.



So anything exciting in your future?

As far as the CINDI mission goes, I'm really excited that NASA has approved a four-year extended mission for it, so I'm excited about that.  We should be going into solar max, which means a lot more space dogs to catch for me, and a lot of good science for CINDI.  I'm hoping for some great solar storms, too!

By far the biggest excitement for me is that I'm going to be coming to visit you on Earth soon. I'll at the Exploration Station in San Francisco on December 12 and I'll finally get to meet you in person there!!




I'm so looking forward to it!  Family-friendly science demos, a rubber space chicken, and a cartoon android spacegirl.  No place but San Francisco!

And the week after that will be the *big* American Geophysical Union meeting there in San Francisco.  Over 17,000 scientist from around the world will be talking about everything from oceanography, to volcanoes, to weather and climate, to plate tectonics, to space studies, to the sun, to the latest from all the NASA missions to all the planets (and Pluto too!), to the very edge of the solar system where the solar wind stops. Mary and Marc and all the other CINDI scientists will be there giving talks and posters about all their scientific discoveries.  And NASA will actually be letting a space dogcatcher help out there!  I'll be making a guest appearance at the NASA booth during the meeting. I'll be there from 1 to 3 pm on Wednesday passing out comic books and postcards.  I bet all those scientists would just die to have an
autograph from a famous android spacegirl like me. Don't you think so?

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