Comet PanSTARRS in the Southern Fish : Now approaching our fair planet this Comet PanSTARRS , will be affected by the light of a nearly Full Moon, though. Still the comets pretty green coma is about the apparent size of the Full Moon in this telescopic portrait, captured on June 12 from the southern hemispheres Siding Spring Observatory. The deep image also follows a broad, whitish dust tail up and toward the left in the frame, sweeping away from the Sun and trailing behind the comets orbit. Buffeted by the solar wind, a fainter, narrow ion tail extends horizontally toward the right. On the left edge, the brightest star is bluish Iota Piscis Austrini. Shining at about fourth magnitude, that star is visible to the unaided eye in the constellation of the Southern Fish. via NASA


Inclusivity Win: SpaceX Has Successfully Launched A Handicap-Accessible Ramp Into Orbit

Well, it looks like the possibilities of outer space just opened up for a whole lot more people. After years without any options for the disabled, SpaceX stepped up to the challenge, and they delivered in a huge way. As of Tuesday, they have now successfully launched a handicap-accessible ramp into orbit.

Awesome! Read more


Ham the Chimp, often viewed as a hero at the same time as being viewed an unwitting victim in the infamous space race, was the first hominid launched into space on 31 January, 1961. Ham was one of the number of experimental animals enrolled into NASA’s Project Mercury. Originally called subject 65 due to the reluctance to send a named chimp into space if anything were to go wrong, Ham was used as “a first test of the functioning of the life support system during an appreciable period – nearly five minutes – of zero gravity.” His trainer described the moment he was recovered from his capsule following the project -  “I have never seen such terror on a chimp’s face.” Following his flight, he spent the next 20 years alone in the National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. before being moved to North Carolina Zoo where he was able to mingle with other chimps. He passed away at the young age of 25. After his death, his remains were buried at the International Space Hall of Fame and his skeleton was put on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

So I want to create a xxxxx-official family : people who post funny, educational posts related to their blog title. It could be a science organization, or a historical figure. Whatever you know about.

Currently I have buddies running mitochondria-official and area51-official.  I have the URL ‘noaa-official’ and I’ll give it to someone who wants to post ocean and climate related things.

Anyone interested? Any blog ideas?


For everyone who wished they could be at Comic-Con this past weekend… including me

Northern Lights above Lofoten : The Aurora Borealis or northern lights are familiar visitors to night skies above the village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands, Norway, planet Earth. In this scene, captured from a mountaintop camp site, the auroral curtains do seem to create an eerie tension with the coastal lights though. A modern perspective on the world at night, the stunning image was chosen as the over all winner in The World at Night’s 2016 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. Selections were made from over 900 entries highlighting the beauty of the night sky and its battle with light pollution. via NASA

Kirk vs. Spock: NASA Trivia Time!

Star Trek has inspired generations of NASA employees to boldly go exploring strange new worlds and develop the technologies for making science fiction become science reality. We recently caught up with Star Trek Beyond actors Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock) and quizzed them on some NASA trivia. Before you take a look at their answers (video at bottom of post), take a stab at answering them yourself! See how well you do: 

1. What does the first “A” in NASA stand for? 
A) Adventure
B) Aeronautics

2. On July 4 this year, we sent a spacecraft into orbit around what planet?
B) Pluto

3. What do scientists call a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system?
B) Nebula

4. Although it never flew in space, what was the name of the first space shuttle?
B) Enterprise

5. What is a light-year a measurement of?
B) Distance

6. When looking for habitable worlds around other stars, we want to find planets that are what?
Goldilocks zone planets
B) Class M Planets

7. Olympus Mons is the largest known volcano in our solar system. What planet is it on?
A) Mars
B) Earth

8. Which NASA satellite made an appearance in Star Trek the Motion Picture?
B) Galileo

9. Who was the first American woman in space?
Sally Ride
B) Janice Lester

10. While developing life support for Mars missions, what NASA Spinoff was developed?
Enriched baby food
B) Anti-gravity boots

11. What technology makes replication of spare parts a reality on the International Space Station?
Closed-Loop System
B) 3-D Printer

12. What two companies are contracted by NASA to carry astronauts to and from the space station?
Boeing and SpaceX
B) Amazon and Virgin Galactic

1:B, 2:A, 3:A, 4:B, 5:B, 6:A, 7:A, 8:A, 9:A, 10:A, 11:B, 12:A

Now that you’ve tested your own space knowledge, find out how Zachary and Chris did at NASA Trivia: 

Learn more about NASA + Star Trek at:

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Take aways from this video

1) Zachary Quinto knows his stuff

2) Chris Pine hasn’t taken a test since college

3) Zach totally yells “SPIRK” at the end of this video

The North America and Pelican Nebulas : Here lie familiar shapes in unfamiliar locations. On the left is an emission nebula cataloged as NGC 7000, famous partly because it resembles our fair planet’s continent of North America. The emission region to the right of the North America Nebula is IC 5070, also known for its suggestive outlines as the Pelican Nebula. Separated by a dark cloud of obscuring dust, the two bright nebulae are about 1,500 light-years away. At that distance, the 4 degree wide field of view spans 100 light-years. This spectacular cosmic portrait combines narrow band images to highlight bright ionization fronts with fine details of dark, dusty forms in silhouette. Emission from atomic hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen is captured in the narrow band image in scientifically assigned colors. These nebulae can be seen with binoculars from a dark location. via NASA