• Launch: What if we have a daughter and she wants to get her ears pierced?
  • Tien: Irrelevant, we’re not having a daughter.
  • Launch: Okay, what if we have a son and he wants to take dance lessons even though all his friends practice martial arts?
  • Tien: He can dance if he wants to.
  • Tien: He can leave his friends behind.
  • Tien [in tune]: Cause if his friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, then they ain't no friends of mine.
  • Tien: *walks away dancing*

STS-97 by NASA on The Commons
Nearby waters capture the brilliance of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s flames as it leaps off Launch Pad 39B toward space. Liftoff of Endeavour occurred at 10:06:01 p.m. EST. Endeavour transported the P6 Integrated Truss Structure that comprises Solar Array Wing-3 and the Integrated Electronic Assembly, to provide power to the Space Station. Image #: KSC-00PP-1805 Date: November 30, 2000


On July 7, three crew members launched from Earth; headed to their new home on the International Space Station

Crewmembers Kate Rubins of NASA, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will spend approximately four months on the orbital complex, returning to Earth in October. 

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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Five Things to Know About NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins

Among the newest crew on the International Space Station is U.S. astronaut Kate Rubins, who will assume the role of Flight Engineer for Expeditions 48 and 49. Here are five things you should know about her:

1. She was chosen from a pool of over 3,500 applicants to receive a spot on our 2009 astronaut training class.

After being selected, Rubins spent years training at Johnson Space Center to become an astronaut. She learned how to use the complex station systems, perform spacewalks, exercise in space and more. Some training even utilized virtual reality.

2. She has a degree in cancer biology.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1999, Rubins went on to receive a doctorate in Cancer Biology from Stanford University Medical School Biochemistry Department and Microbiology and Immunology Department in 2005. In other words, she’s extremely smart.

3. Her research has benefited humanity.

Rubins helped to create therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses by conducting research collaboratively with the U.S. Army. She also aided development of the first smallpox infection model with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NBD. It will be exciting to see the research come out of a mission with a world-class scientist using a world-class, out-of-this-world laboratory!

4. She is scheduled to be the first person to sequence DNA in space.

During her time at the space station, Rubins will participate in several science experiments. Along with physical science, Earth and space science and technology development work, she will conduct biological and human research investigations. Research into sequencing the first genome in microgravity and how the human body’s bone mass and cardiovascular systems are changed by living in space are just two examples of the many experiments in which Rubins may take part.

5. In her spare time, she enjoys scuba diving and triathlons…among other things.

Rubins was on the Stanford Triathlon team, and also races sprint and Olympic distance. She is involved with health care/medical supply delivery to Africa and started a non-profit organization to bring supplies to Congo. Her recent pursuits involve flying airplanes and jumping out of them – not simultaneously. 

Rubins is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station at 12:12 a.m. Saturday, July 9. After her launch on Wednesday, July 6, the three crew members traveled 2 days before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module. 

Watch live coverage of docking and their welcoming starting at 11:30 p.m. EDT Friday, July 8 on NASA Television.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Watch a Launch From Your Own Backyard

On Monday, Oct. 17, we’re launching cargo to the International Space Station, and if you live on the east coast, there’s a chance you can catch a glimpse! 

The above map shows the areas on the east coast where launch may be visible, depending on cloud conditions.

Liftoff is currently scheduled for 7:40 p.m. EDT from our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. 

The launch of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft will carry around 5,100 pounds of supplies and research materials to the crew on the space station. 

Not in the launch viewing area? No worries! Full launch coverage will be available starting at 6:45 p.m. EDT HERE

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Post-Launch Owlboy update

Hello again everyone.

Owlboy has finally launched and now, five days in, we’re all trying to gather our thoughts on everything that’s happening.

When the embargo lifted on October 27th, we had no idea what to expect, but we were in complete shock when our first two reviews were both maximum scores; Destructoid giving us their Editor’s Choice Award, and Pressfire musing we might be one of the best Norwegian games ever made. It was surreal. A lot of us cried. In fact, I think all of us cried…

Then, came launch day. We had tested the game over and over, and sat around the computer ready to push the launch button on Steam. We did, but we had no idea if it worked. We had to install the game on one of our old, barely working office PCs to check, and had to wait for 15 agonizing minutes waiting for the game to finish installing. Once it did, we read out the version number out loud to make sure it matched up. …It did.

Owlboy was complete. After nearly nine years of work, we had reached the finish line. It was a long road and none of us had really felt how long it had been until that moment.

As we now try to pick ourselves up after letting Owlboy out into the world, watching streamers, let’s players and everyone on social media experience the game for the first time, we want to share some of the incredibly humbling reviews we’ve received over the past week:

Destructoid 10/10

Gamereactor NO 10/10 (Norwegian)

Pressfire 6/6 (Norwegian)

IGN 9.3/10

Gamespot 90/100

LevelUp 9/10 (Norwegian)

The Jimquisition 9/10

Gamereactor EU 9/10

IGN SE 9/10 (Swedish)

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll try our best to make sense of all the amazing things going on. Thank you all for your patience and your kind words. Seeing so many people enjoying our game makes this all more than worth it.

To keep up to date on everything we’re doing, be sure to check http://owlboygame.com/ for directions!

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Our solar system is huge, let us break it down for you. Here are a few things you should know this week: 

1. Closeup of a King

For the first time since it entered orbit around Jupiter in July, our Juno spacecraft has flown close to the king of planets—this time with its eyes wide open. During the long, initial orbit, Juno mission managers spent time checking out the spacecraft “from stem to stern,” but the science instruments were turned off as a precaution. During this latest pass, Juno’s camera and other instruments were collecting data the whole time. Initial reports show that all went well, and the team has released a new close-up view that Juno captured of Jupiter’s north polar region. We can expect to see more close-up pictures of Jupiter and other data this week.

+Check in with Juno

2. Getting Ready to Rocket

Our OSIRIS-REx mission leaves Earth next week, the first leg of a journey that will take it out to an asteroid called Bennu. The mission will map the asteroid, study its properties in detail, then collect a physical sample to send back home to Earth. The ambitious endeavor is slated to start off on Sept. 8.

+See what it takes to prep for a deep space launch

3. New Moon Rising

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has already mapped the entire surface of Earth’s moon in brilliant detail, but the mission isn’t over yet. Lunar explorers still have questions, and LRO is poised to help answer them.

+See what’s next for the mission

4. A Mock-Eclipse Now

We don’t have to wait until next year to see the moon cross in front of the sun. From its vantage point in deep space, our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) sometimes sees just that. Such an event is expected on Sept. 1.

+See the latest sun pictures from SDO

5. Jupiter’s Cousins

Our galaxy is home to a bewildering variety of Jupiter-like worlds: hot ones, cold ones, giant versions of our own giant, pint-sized pretenders only half as big around. Astronomers say that in our galaxy alone, a billion or more such Jupiter-like worlds could be orbiting stars other than our sun. And we can use them to gain a better understanding of our solar system and our galactic environment, including the prospects for finding life.

Want to learn more? Read our full list of the 10 things to know this week about the solar system HERE

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