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NASA Will Put Rocket Raccoon And Groot On Its New Mission Patch
If there was any doubt in your heart that the people at NASA were a bunch of nerds, here’s the evidence that proves otherwise.
By Carli Velocci

If there was any doubt in your heart that the people at NASA were a bunch of nerds, here’s the evidence that proves otherwise.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy made space operas exciting again, so what better way to honor its roots than to include two of its most popular characters on a mission patch?

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) announced Friday that Groot and Rocket the Raccoon will be featured on a mission patch that will represent all payloads that will head to the national laboratory on the International Space Station.

We got our first look at the patch from director James Gunn, who tweeted the announcement from San Diego Comic-Con.

The patch was designed by Juan Doe, who has previously designed covers for Marvel. According to a press release, CASIS hopes that the patch will put more eyes on the ISS and bring hope for what people can accomplish in the future.

“A major mission for us here at CASIS is to find unique and innovative ways to bring notoriety to the ISS National Laboratory and the research that is being conducted on our orbiting laboratory,” said CASIS Director of Operations and Educational Opportunities Ken Shields.

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You probably know Neil deGrasse Tyson as an astrophysicist with a seemingly endless stream of science fun facts at his command. You might not be aware that he is also a great oenophile and lover of food.

Some 16 years ago, before I was a journalist and illustrator, I worked with Neil at the American Museum of Natural History. He would sometimes carry around a small canvas tote bag. As I recall, the bag would contain one of two things: either a weighty, mango-sized meteorite to show to guests of the museum, or a bottle of wine to gift to a colleague.

It was pretty symbolic of his twin passions – the heavens, and wine. (By extension, that includes cuisine.) I recently talked with NdGT about how these all collide in the kitchen.

Astrophysicist, Wine Lover, Foodie: The Neil deGrasse Tyson You Didn’t Know

Illustrations: Beth Lebwohl

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

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SIRIUS is the brightest star in the night sky. It is found in the constellation Canis Major and is located 8.6 light years from Earth. It is part of a star system consisting of Sirius A and Sirius B. The Sirius star system is one of Earth’s near neighbours and is sometimes referred to as the “Dog Star”.

Sirius A is a main sequence star and Sirius B is a white dwarf. The distance separating the two stars is between 8.2 to 31.5 Astronomical Units (AU). The distance between the Sun and the Earth is 1 AU.

Sirius is about twice as massive as the Sun and is about 25 times more luminous. The system started off as two bright blue stars. The brighter of the two (Sirius B), consumed its resources faster, became a red giant, and shed it’s outer layers to become the current white dwarf that it is today.

Sirius is gradually moving towards the Solar System so over time it’ll slightly increase in brightness (over the next 60 000 years). Once it reaches a certain distance from the Solar System, it’ll begin to move away, becoming fainter. It will remain the brightest star in the sky for the next 210 000 years.

Got any other questions/facts about Sirius? Send me a message and we can talk about it!

TOMORROW marks the final week, WEEK 4 of Space Month! Can anyone guess what the last theme will be?