13 Reasons to Have an Out-of-This-World Friday (the 13th)
1. Not all of humanity is bound to the ground
Since 2000, the International Space Station has been continuously occupied by humans. There, crew members live and work while conducting important research that benefits life on Earth and will even help us eventually travel to deep space destinations, like Mars.
2. We’re working to develop quieter supersonic aircraft that would allow you to travel from New York to Los Angeles in 2 hours
We are working hard to make flight greener, safer and quieter – all while developing aircraft that travel faster, and building an aviation system that operates more efficiently. Seventy years after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 aircraft, we’re continuing that supersonic X-plane legacy by working to create a quieter supersonic jet with an aim toward passenger flight.
3. The spacecraft, rockets and systems developed to send astronauts to low-Earth orbit as part of our Commercial Crew Program is also helping us get to Mars
Changes to the human body during long-duration spaceflight are significant challenges to solve ahead of a mission to Mars and back. The space station allows us to perform long duration missions without leaving Earth’s orbit.
Although they are orbiting Earth, space station astronauts spend months at a time in near-zero gravity, which allows scientists to study several physiological changes and test potential solutions. The more time they spend in space, the more helpful the station crew members can be to those on Earth assembling the plans to go to Mars.
4. We’re launching a spacecraft in 2018 that will go “touch the Sun”
In the summer of 2018, we’re launching Parker Solar Probe, a spacecraft that will get closer to the Sun than any other in human history. Parker Solar Probe will fly directly through the Sun’s atmosphere, called the corona. Getting better measurements of this region is key to understanding our Sun.
For instance, the Sun releases a constant outflow of solar material, called the solar wind. We think the corona is where this solar wind is accelerated out into the solar system, and Parker Solar Probe’s measurements should help us pinpoint how that happens.
5. You can digitally fly along with spacecraft…that are actually in space…in real-time!
NASA’s Eyes are immersive, 3D simulations of real events, spacecraft locations and trajectories. Through this interactive app, you can experience Earth and our solar system, the universe and the spacecraft exploring them. Want to watch as our Juno spacecraft makes its next orbit around Juno? You can! Or relive all of the Voyager mission highlights in real-time? You can do that too! Download the free app HERE to start exploring.
6. When you feel far away from home, you can think of the New Horizons spacecraft as it heads toward the Kuiper Belt, and the Voyager spacecraft are beyond the influence of our sun…billions of miles away
Our New Horizons spacecraft completed its Pluto flyby in July 2015 and has continued on its way toward the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft continues to send back important data as it travels toward deeper space at more than 32,000 miles per hour, and is ~3.2 billion miles from Earth.
In addition to New Horizons, our twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Continuing on their more-than-37-year journey since their 1977 launches, they are each much farther away from Earth and the sun than Pluto. In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between the stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago.
7. There are humans brave enough to not only travel in space, but venture outside space station to perform important repairs and updates during spacewalks
Just this month (October 2017) we’ve already had two spacewalks on the International Space Station…with another scheduled on Oct. 20.
Spacewalks are important events where crew members repair, maintain and upgrade parts of the International Space Station. These activities can also be referred to as EVAs – Extravehicular Activities. Not only do spacewalks require an enormous amount of work to prepare for, but they are physically demanding on the astronauts. They are working in the vacuum of space in only their spacewalking suit.
8. Smart people are up all night working in control rooms all over NASA to ensure that data keeps flowing from our satellites and spacecraft
Our satellites and spacecraft help scientists study Earth and space. Missions looking toward Earth provide information about clouds, oceans, land and ice. They also measure gases in the atmosphere, such as ozone and carbon dioxide and the amount of energy that Earth absorbs and emits. And satellites monitor wildfires, volcanoes and their smoke.
9. A lot of NASA-developed tech has been transferred for use to the public
Our Technology Transfer Program highlights technologies that were originally designed for our mission needs, but have since been introduced to the public market. HERE are a few spinoff technologies that you might not know about.
10. We have a spacecraft currently traveling to an asteroid to collect a sample and bring it back to Earth
OSIRIS-REx is our first-ever mission that will travel to an asteroid and bring a sample of it back to Earth. Currently, the spacecraft is on its way to asteroid Bennu where it will survey and map the object before it “high-fives” the asteroid with its robotic arm to collect a sample, which it will send to Earth.
If everything goes according to plan, on Sept. 24, 2023, the capsule containing the asteroid sample will make a soft landing in the Utah desert.
11. There are Earth-sized planets outside our solar system that may be habitable
To date, we have confirmed 3,000+ exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system that orbit a Sun-like star. Of these 3,000, some are in the habitable zone – where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist on the surface.
In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. Over the decades, these satellites have provided invaluable information, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth.
The beauty of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to the sublime.
13. We’re building a telescope that will be able to see the first stars ever formed in the universe
Wouldn’t it be neat to see a period of the universe’s history that we’ve never seen before? That’s exactly what the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be able to do…plus more!
Specifically, Webb will see the first objects that formed as the universe cooled down after the Big Bang. We don’t know exactly when the universe made the first stars and galaxies – or how for that matter. That is what we are building Webb to help answer.
Happy Friday the 13th! We hope it’s out-of-this-world!
The Summer Triangle over the Great Wall : Have you ever seen the Summer Triangle? The bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair form a large triangle on the sky that can be seen rising in the northern spring during the morning, and rising in the northern fall during the evening. During summer months, the triangle can be found nearly overhead near midnight as three of the brightest stars on the sky. Featured here, along with the arch of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Summer Triangle asterism was captured this spring over the Great Wall of China. This part of the Great Wall, a World Culture Heritage Site, was built during the 6th century on the Yan Mountains. At the summit is Wangjinglou Tower from which, on a clear night, the lights of Beijing are visible in the distance. via NASA
Dawn pairing of Jupiter and Venus, Moon shines near star clusters, meteor activity all month long!
This month binoculars will come in handy–to view the moon, star clusters, and a close pairing of Venus and Jupiter.
You can’t miss bright Venus in the predawn sky. This month Venus pairs up with Jupiter on the morning of November 13th.
The Leonids peak on a moonless November 17th. Expect no more than 10 meteors an hour around 3:00 a.m., the height of the shower.
The Northern and Southern sub-branches of the Taurid meteor shower offer sparse counts of about 5 meteors per hour, but slow, bright meteors are common.
The nearby November Orionids peak on the 28th. In contrast to the Taurids, the Orionids are swift. But don’t expect more than 3 meteors per hour.
The moon glides by three beautiful star clusters in the morning sky this month, and a pair of binoculars will allow you to see the individual stars in the clusters. Aim your binoculars at the Pleiades and the moon on the 5th.
Then aim at the Messier or M-35 cluster and the moon on the 7th and the Beehive cluster and the moon on the 10th.
Meanwhile, at dusk, catch Saturn as it dips closer to the western horizon and pairs up with Mercury on the 24th through the 28th.
Also, Comet C/2017 O1 should still be a binocular-friendly magnitude 7 or 8 greenish object in November. Use Polaris, the North Star as a guide. Look in the East to Northeast sky in the late evening.
TV MEME ✦ three guest stars // alycia debnam carey as “commander lexa” (the 100, season 3)
“The mountain has cast a shadow over these woods for too long. They’ve hunted us, controlled us, turned us into monsters. That ends today. Thanks to our alliance with the Sky People, the mountain will fall. As Clarke said, we spare the innocent. As for the guilty … Jus dren just daun. Jus dren jus daun. Jus dren jus daun!”
Gansey knew Ronan before his father passed away. They met freshman year because they ran in the same circle of friends.
Ronan used to be a tennis player. He had curly short hair and walked around with his hands in his pockets and a sense of arrogance about him. His nose was never really turned up- it’s just that he could never be bothered to bite his tongue. He talked back, but it used to be in a way that had an obnoxious laugh as the punchline and a real air of coolness to it.
He always had sort of an attitude- after all, his father was the sort of person who dealt with dream objects and underground networks and violent people. And Ronan was a dreamer too. He was never just a normal prep school kid.
But back in the day, he could pass for it. He tucked his shirt in and participated in the sort of political jokes a typical rich boy would joke about. He showed up for class, even if he did pass notes. He even willingly participated if he had a wise crack to make at the teacher’s question.
When he first met Gansey, they clicked immediately. Gansey was something like a magnet. But what really drew Ronan in was how Gansey seemed to have his own distinct passions. On the outside, Gansey looked like the All-American prince. There was just something….more about him though that Ronan could feel humming whenever he spoke to Gansey.
When people would rag on Gansey for his Welsh King search, he responded in a way that made the person feel disrespectful for even joking about such a serious task. He didn’t do it on purpose- it was just that he was so dedicated that it was hard to make fun of anything quite that real.
Ronan liked that Gansey was real. He was not a dream object, but a real person who felt a little bit like magic anyway.
Ronan wanted to be his friend. And it wasn’t difficult because Gansey wanted to be friends with everyone. It’s just that Ronan wanted it more. It’s just that Ronan knew how to show unwavering loyalty. Which is how Ronan found himself as not just Ronan anymore. It was now Ronan and Gansey. Gansey and Ronan. Inseparable from the other. A two headed beast.
They swapped schedules and matched their classes. They ate lunch together with the same people. They played different sports, but they would hang out afterward at Monmouth. Gansey would research his king and Ronan would crack jokes the whole time. Only Ronan was allowed to pick on Gansey’s passions because only Ronan knew that the magic Gansey sought could exist. Things like that existed in Ronan’s own mind and then existed in his hands. Maybe it was because of Ronan’s belief that solidified their friendship. Ronan never doubted that what Gansey searched for was real, but only criticized the strategies he had for finding the buried king.
Everybody knew that they were best friends without having to say the words.
And then Ronan found his dad covered in his own blood.