2/1.5 (but that might change as more locks are added to the gate)
It’s mid-February and love is in the air. It also happens to be locked to a gate in Antwerpen, Belgium. While this isn’t the first love lock geocache (you can see more of them here), this one is unique in that this gate was created for this specific purpose. Plus, it has a giant heart built into it and who doesn’t like that? Geocachers show their geocaching love in many ways. For some, it’s as simple as finding and hiding geocaches. Others take it a bit further with trackable stickers and other geocaching swag. And then there are some that go totally above and beyond with trackable geocaching tattoos. Some geocachers even show love to each other through geocaching. There have been a lucky few who have used geocaches to propose to their significant other. With Valentine’s Day coming up in many countries, it’s time to think about how you would show your love with a geocache.
About this geocache: “This exclusive location situated at ’t Eilandje affords a unique atmosphere with a breathtaking 360° view of the city at the MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), the river Schelde and the port. This place is the city’s new icon, ‘a bridge’ between port, river and city. This combination is what makes this place unique: it is ‘Antwerpian’ and it is global. Couples can eternalize their love by hanging a ‘Lovelock’ at the monument and throwing away the key in the Schelde. This monument is designed in scale of the Cathedral and integrated in the quay. With an eyewink to the Antwerp diamond centre, this beautiful piece of art will capture and save the love of many romantic couples!”
Regarding all of the positive logs and Favorite Points: “I Love to read them. They give me a lot of satisfaction, an appreciation for my creativity. They inspires me to make more lovely caches and do better.”
A message to the geocaching community: “Lock Up Your Love , Go Geocaching! I’m looking forward to your visit.”
“Found this one on our vacation during New Year’s Eve. Although it was freezing cold, we really enjoyed this cache! Took us a little time to solve the “puzzle”, but if you are attentive it’s easy to understand Thanks for showing us Antwerp.” — Loewenkinder
“Wow! What a great cache! Superb idea, location and actual cache container! Very clever indeed! We love Antwerp and this is one of the best caches we have found so a well deserved favourite point is heading your way! TFTC – brilliant!” — Berticusdan
“Superbe Cache! Very well done. I had to think more than twice. At the end, my muggle colleage has seen the clue…. I had the right idea, but as so often, not worked on it long enough. Worth a Favorite Point! Thanks for showing me this spot!! TFTC!” — coordinatius
Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog.
If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, leave a comment below with the name of the geocache, the GC code, and why you think we should feature it.
I had the pleasure of attending the GPS Adventures Maze Exhibit at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This exhibit has been the torque of this town (get it?). See it while you can. It will be there until May 4, 2014.
Many of us took advantage of this very rare opportunity to have a so-called “Busy Day of Geocaching” – a day in which you can find a full dozen different cache types. The eager community fastened their seatbelts to geocache across Bowling Green. Up for grabs were a CITO event, a regular event, some experimental Lab caches, a Wherigo cache, as well as the Maze Exhibit itself. At least one Bookmark List detailed the possibilities. The Middle Tennessee Geocachers Club (MTGC) came out in full force to support this Busy Day with a cheery group of volunteers clad in blue t-shirts made just for this day.
We are most grateful to Melinda of the 6Lindseys, a Bowling Green local and veteran geocacher, who was instrumental in making all of this happen—and all on her birthday! She and the MTGC secured a generous stack of door prizes that filled up an 8-foot table: boots, GPS devices, unactivated trackable items, swag for cache containers, area souvenirs and much more. Thank you to these organizations that support the geocaching community so generously.
The 10 Lab Cache containers were judiciously painted with colors relevant to that portion of Corvette design history, matching the cars displayed as each Lab Cache’s cover image. Additional decoupage treatment completed the iconic look of each one. I was tempted to take one these attractive containers back to Geocaching HQ with me. It’s a good thing that I didn’t: rumor has it that these 10 will re-appear nearby in another Corvette-related project.
And now, it’s time for some photos:
Editors Note: We’re very sorry to hear about the sinkhole that opened up in the museum. We’re incredibly glad that no one was hurt in the disaster and incredibly sad that 8 beautiful Corvettes were destroyed.
“What does your food taste like?” Students from Tinker School in Waterbury, Connecticut ask astronaut Rick Mastracchio and get the answer straight from space.
Mastracchio says: “We have all kinds of food here on the space station. Most of the food has all the air and water removed to make it smaller and lighter. Then when we want to eat it we add water to it and it returns to its original form and shape. It does not taste as good as the food you have at home but it is pretty good.”
Almost 100 days ago geocachers at more than 1100 events across the globe cheered a Travel Bug as it rocketed toward the International Space Station. Now the Travel Bug has circled the Earth many times (How many times a day? Find the answer here) and made up a mind blowing distance of more than 40 million miles. More than 1200 posts have been logged so far on the Travel Bug page, as classrooms ask questions and Mastracchhio (Geocaching name AstroRM) answers them from zero-gravity.
Also dangling in zero-gravity are hitchhikes attached to the famous Travel Bug. There’s a hitchhiker for each of the schools following Rick’s adventure from the Travel Bug page. It’s been so popular additional hitchhikers have been flown to the space station on supply missions. Each of the current schools will receive one of the Travel Bug hitchhikers once Rick returns to Earth in May of this year.
Check out the Q&A with Astronaut Rick Mastracchio here. This is a great resource for teachers to bring to their classroom and anyone interested to learn about life on the ISS, geography and science. For the visual learner, have a look at the Pinterest board or check out the gallery on the trackable details page.
Do you or your students have questions about space travel, that have not been answered yet? Post them on the Travel Bug details page! Let us know what school you are from, the grade, city, state and country!
Students ask – Astronaut Rick Mastracchio answers
On his final trip to Space on November 2013, Astronaut Rick Mastracchio packed along a Geocaching Travel Bug to the International Space Station (ISS). The little Travel Bug connected with students all over the world to teach about space travel, science and geography.
This is a collection of the question and answers that teachers can bring to their classroom and students can soak up. For the visual learner, have a look at the Pinterest board or check out the gallery on the trackable details page.
Do you or your students have questions about space travel, that have not been answered yet? Post them on the Travel Bug details page! Let us know what school you are from, the grade, city, state and country!
At what speed does the International Space Station (ISS) travel?
The ISS travels at a speed of 17,500 miles an hour.
How far above the Earth is the ISS?
The ISS is 220 miles above the Earth.
What does NASA stand for?
National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
How many times a day does the International Space Station Orbit the a Earth?
About 16 times a day.
What a Expedition is Astronaut Rick Mastracchio going to the ISS on?
What are the three countries the travel bug has gone to so far?
United States, Germany and Russia.
How far will the trackable travel during it’s 6 month on board of the ISS?
Something between 70 and 82 million miles (112 and 133 million km).
We learned that a long term effect of being in space is that our bodies begins to lose calcium and our muscles weaken. What do astronauts eat to help build calcium and muscle strength? Also, what types of physical exercise do you do when you are up there?
It is true that our muscles get weak and ours bones get thinner and weaker when we are in a weightless environment, like the space station. It is similar to what happens to a person who is in bed 24 hours a day due to illness. We eat a very balanced diet that is determined by our dieticians and doctors. We also exercise every day. We run on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike and we also lift weights. The weight machine cannot use weights, since everything is weightless, so it uses large air pistons that allow us to control the resistance. It reminds me of a large bicycle pump.
We learned that the body’s fluids shifts above your heart when in space. What does that feel like?
On the earth your heart works hard to pump blood from your legs to your head. In space it does not have to work that hard to move the blood. When you first get into space your head gets puffy, and you feel like you have a headache. After a few days or week your body readjusts and you return to normal.
How many people fit inside the of the Soyuz spaceship capsule?
The Soyuz spacecraft holds a maximum of 3 people. My mission will include a Russian Cosmonaut, a Japanese Astronaut and me.
How much training do you need to keep up with all of that technology?
We train in many different areas. We train to operate the space station, operate the Soyuz vehicle, perform experiments, control robotic arms, perform space walks and many more things. For this mission alone I have been training for 2.5 years. I also had to learn to understand and speak the Russian language while doing all of this.
How did you get those hitchikers that are attached to the travel bug?
My daughter worked at a veterinary clinic and I was trying to come up with ideas for small items to fly in space and give to the schools. So the hitchhikers are literally small dog tags from my daughter.
What does it feel like to be in space?
When you first get to space you don’t always feel great. It takes time for your body to adapt. At first a lot of your blood goes to your head since there is no gravity to pull it down. This gives you a headache and a stuffy hose. Also, your stomach feels queasy, like you just rode on a rollercoaster 10 times. Eventually your body adjusts the blood in your head and your stomach gets used to being weightless. Then you feel great and it is like you are superman. You can fly and lift thousands of pounds.
What does the Earth look like in space?
The earth is beautiful from up here. So many colors of blue in the ocean. It is like looking at a globe or a map of the planet. I should have studied my geography a little more. It is sometimes hard to identify the countries but I am getting better. (See the pictures of Earth seen from space Rick has posted on the trackable’s details page here.)
Can you see the weather from space?
We can see clouds, hurricanes and even lightning storms. Lightning is my favorite thing to watch up here. I have seen huge storms cover almost all of Africa and the lightning strikes danced all over the place. It was incredible.
Of course we can see snow covered places and If you know where to look we can see icebergs. They are difficult to tell from clouds but they have a slightly blue tint to them.
What is your favorite thing to do in Space?
I have many things that I enjoy doing here on the space station, Of course looking out the window at our Earth is fascinating. The many colors of the oceans and the snow capped mountains are beautiful. I especially like seeing lightning storms from space. It looks like the lightning is dancing all over the place.
I also enjoy working on the research and experiments we have onboard the space station. We are very busy trying to develop new medicines and new technologies to help the people of the Earth.
Can you see Utah/The Great Salt Lake from space?
Yes we can easily see Utah and The Great Salt Lake from space. I will try to take a photo of them and send it to you if I can. Sometimes it takes many days to pass over a certain part of the world or sometimes we pass over it while we are sleeping.
What Temperature do they have it set too inside the space station? Everyone seems to be in shorts.
The temperature on the station is like your house. It is very comfortable. Some rooms which we call modules are warmer than others because they have so much equipment in them. We wear shorts sometimes for comfort but we always wear them for our exercise period. We have to exercise more than 2 hours every day so that we can walk again when we return to Earth.
What is your favorite book? Why?
I cannot say that I have one favorite book since there are so many good books that I have read. However, I will never forget reading The Swiss Family Robinson story. It was great. The reason I liked it was because the family landed on a deserted island with almost nothing and built everything they needed. They were very creative in finding ways to not only survive but make their life comfortable. Talking about it makes me want to read it again someday.
Who is/was your inspiration? Why?
I cannot say any individual or group inspired me but I did have many people affect my life and its course. My father was a hard worker and that really shaped me throughout my life. I had many teachers who encouraged me and helped me to get where I am today. My wife was always willing to follow me to new job assignments around the country.
What are your favorite hobbies on the ISS and on Earth?
At home I enjoy woodworking, building furniture, and working in my garden and yard. On the space station I enjoy looking out the window and taking pictures of interesting things I see. The photography is very difficult from up here so that in itself is a hobby. We are traveling 5 miles every second! So it is easy to miss a shot of an interesting place.
We are also interested in how someone can email to and from space? How does the ISS connect to the internet?
The space station has large bandwidth capability. That means it can transmit and receive a lot of data. This data can be simple commands to the space station, like turn on a device. The data can be audio, like a phone call or even video, like a television program. At any one time we can be transmitting or receiving multiple audio and video signals plus commands. This capability also allows us to send email just like you do except it is transmitted down to NASA first and then routed to the folks we send it to. We can also call our family on the phone from up here but they cannot call us. Sometimes on the weekend they transmit television up to us. It is only one channel but it is better than no channels.
If I want to become an astronaut too, what is the most important thing you would advise?
The most important thing is to go to college to study a subject you really enjoy. Then continue your education into graduate school and get a job working in the area you enjoy. Once you have established yourself you can try to get a job at a space agency if not in Egypt then perhaps in another country or Europe. I do not know anything about Egypt’s space program or if it has anything similar.
How do you get fresh water and air on the ISS?
Here on station we recycle our air and water. In the first picture you can see the travel bug visiting our toilet. This is where the water goes into the system. In the second picture the travel bug is visiting our water dispenser. This is where the water comes out of the system. So yes that means our urine is recycled into clean drinkable water. The water in the atmosphere from our sweat and wet towels and other sources is also captured, condensed into a liquid and recycled. We try not to waste any water on the ISS.
It is interesting that the crew members release carbon dioxide (CO2) when we breath and of course urinate. The urine is used to make clean drinking water, then the water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen. We use the oxygen to breath but what should we do with the hydrogen? We combine the hydrogen with the carbon dioxide (CO2) to make water (H2O) and methane. The methane we throw out. Every system has its limitations. Even though the system is not perfect it saves NASA from having to launch oxygen and water to the ISS.
I think I will go get a drink of water now.
How does the machine that recycles water clean it again if was dirty before?
We recycle all of our water. The system uses filters and also distillation. Distillation is when the dirty water is turned into gas and then back into water. This removes a lot of the impurities in the water.
Is the water and air that you recycle good for you?
The water and air we recycle is very clean and that makes it very good for us.
What does your food taste like?
We have all kinds of food here on the space station. Most of the food has all the air and water removed to make it smaller and lighter. Then when we want to eat it we add water to it and it returns to its original form and shape. It does not taste as good as the food you have at home but it is pretty good.
How does the rocket break apart?
The rocket has 3 stages or parts to it. Each stage is like its own rocket. It takes a lot of power to reach low earth orbit. The first stage pushes us above the lower atmosphere and then it burns out and disconnects from the remaining parts. After it falls off, the second stage engine turns on or ignites and it pushes us even higher. This continues until we reach orbit. So the tall rocket that started on the launch pad is a small vehicle by time it reaches the space station.
Are the beds uncomfortable?
We sleep in sleeping bags that hang on the wall. But there is no gravity so there is no up and down. I can hang upside down all day and it does not affect me at all. Sleeping is very comfortable. It is like floating on air. Which is what I am really doing.
How does a rocket fly? How does it fly straight up?
The rocket has very powerful engines, and very complicated computers to control it. It flies up but it also flies away from the launch pad on a very specific path or trajectory. It is like shooting a basketball into a hoop. You need to aim it very carefully to get the ball into the basket. A rocket is like a big basketball, the space station is the hoop, and the computers are controlling the shot.
How does the food get fresh again when you put water in the bag?
The dehydrated food is food without the water in it. So when we add the water back it returns to its original form. Think of it like frozen food. It is not as good as fresh food but still pretty good.
The questions above have been asked by students of Rotella Interdistrict Magnet School-Waterbury, CT; Washington Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; Walsh Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; Chase Elementary School-Waterbury, CT; West Clinton Elementary School – Clinton, UT; Fairfield Middle School-Langdon, KS and Tinker School-Waterbury, CT.
The creator of a “school” for geocache hiders, an extreme geocacher with hides along mountain trails and the person who’s the glue that helps bind an entire state of geocachers together. We’re honoring each of these nominees for Geocacher of the Month for their contributions to the geocaching community. Each will receive worldwide recognition and a prize package from Geocaching HQ in Seattle, but which will be named Geocacher of the Month?
This is your opportunity to help decide who will take home the earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin (at left). Each featured Geocacher of the Month will receive the exclusive special edition Geocoin, a hat and a profile icon. They’ll also receive a certificate acknowledging their contributions, signed by two of the founders of Geocaching.com.
In December, Siig was named Geocacher of the Month.
One geocacher who commented wrote, “Hands down winner this month must be siig! There is a reason why they are by far the team in Denmark with most favourite votings (and not just 100 as hinted above….almost 2800 favourites received!). You always leave one of their hides with a silent smile or a big and noisy laugh, as they are most often very innovative and funny caches. Their caches are well kept and always an experience.”
Now it’s your turn to help us select the next Geocacher of the Month. Write a supportive comment at the bottom of this blog for the nominated geocacher that you feel should be awarded the title. A panel from Geocaching HQ will then use your comments to help guide the decision of which geocacher is awarded the Geocacher of the Month honor.
Here are your nominees for the January 2014 Geocacher of the Month. Some testimonials have been edited for length.
Tim Werbrich writes, “MikeOtt is Delaware’s Geocaching Ambassador and the Presidential leader of the Delaware Geocachers. Mike has over 16,500 finds and owns over 300 caches! Mike took the lead in creating the Delaware Geocaching Trail in conjunction with Delaware Tourism. This trail of about 70 caches takes cachers over scenic trails and to unique attractions throughout Delaware. He also created the C & D Canal Power Trail, a trail of over 150 caches that border the scenic Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Mike also began the First State Challenge, an annual challenge series of caches in each of Delaware’s 3 counties. There are a lot more things he does for geocaching.
Mike is passionate about caching, but he also promotes caching throughout the state and region. Mike is at every event and CITO. He encourages others to give back to caching as well. I think he is the glue that keeps caching alive in Delaware. Mike is the perfect example of a ambassador to geocaching. Having cached with him in Alaska and the Northwest US, I know first hand his passion for caching. It is my honor to nominate him as Geocacher of the Month!”
He is an active part of our local geocaching community. Martin owns a mixed variety of geocaches, such as night caches, really difficult mystery caches and a nice range of clever traditional hides.
What makes him a good candidate as a geocacher of the month is the fact, that he developed a “Geocaching Owner School” which he offers as part of event caches in our local region.
Goal of these school events is to make new and old cachers aware of our guidelines, do’s and don’ts, rules, and all other aspects. Attendees of his “Owner school” will learn how to do it right.
His efforts to train and make people understand the basics of our hobby makes Martin a very good candidate for the geocacher of the month.
He owns one of the best Night caches in our local area. “The Hunt @ Night”
Natalie Gray (Coralteach) writes, “I would like to nominate Cass Kalinski, otherwise known as CKayaks, for Geocacher of the Month. He not only finds all sorts of high terrain caches, etc…himself, he also places a lot of caches for others to enjoy, including an entire challenging trail in one of our largest parks. Even more than that though, is what he gives back to the geocaching community. Besides placing caches, he holds GREAT events. For two years in a row he has hosted a big event in Los Banos, CA.
He puts out 50 caches and cachers come from miles around to go out and have fun for the day. This year they were all puzzles, which was really great, and a lot of additional work for him! He had really great coins made up for both last year and this year, and it is becoming an annual event, and could even develop into a Mega Event! In addition, he hosts CITO events, and has one coming up on Jan. 18th. His caches are clever and fun, his stats are incredible, but the time and effort he goes through to host events, is incredible. His events draw cachers from all over the Bay Area, down to the Central Coast, and turns us into a community. I don’t think you’ll find a more well rounded cacher, or anyone more deserving of the award for Geocacher of the Month. He is a legend around here, and truly merits this award.”
Please inform your nominee that you have submitted them for the award. Nominations for the next Geocacher of the Month should be received by March 3. Once Geocaching HQ has received the nominations, we will choose the top candidates and post them on the blog. You will then get a chance to champion your favorite. Our goal is to involve the entire geocaching community in this process so that we might learn from each other.
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