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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 large stellar association cataloged as NGC 206 is nestled within the dusty arms of the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. Also known as M31, the spiral galaxy is a mere 2.5 million light-years away. NGC 206 is seen in this gorgeous close-up of the southwestern extent of Andromeda’s disk, a remarkable composite of data from space and ground-based observatories. The bright, blue stars of NGC 206 indicate its youth. In fact, its youngest massive stars are less than 10 million years old. Much larger than the open or galactic clusters of young stars in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy, NGC 206 spans about 4,000 light-years. That’s comparable in size to the giant stellar nurseries NGC 604 in nearby spiral M33 and the Tarantula Nebula, in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Star forming sites within Andromeda are revealed by the telltale reddish emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen gas.

Object Names: M31, NGC 206

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Local Group Galaxy Survey (Phil Massey PI), Mayall 4-Meter, Robert Gendler

Time And Spce