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Tue, November 29 2016

Operational Logs of the Lafayette Escadrille

The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the “Escadrille Américaine” or the Lafayette Escadrille. Created on December 6, 1916, the Escadrille (or “squadron”) holds a unique place both in the history of World War I (1914-1918) and in the history of aviation overall. Most notably, the Escadrille was composed of American volunteers who chose to fight for France a year before the United States’ official entry into the Great War in April 1917.

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Operational Logs of the Lafayette Escadrille
Mon, November 28 2016

First U.S. Spacecraft on Mars

Viking 1 and 2 were the first U.S. spacecraft to successfully land on Mars. The two landers were equipped to complete Viking’s core mission: search for life on Mars. The landers were essentially laboratories, and could run tests on site. Though no evidence of Martian life was found, the wealth of planetary data and photographs the Viking spacecraft sent to back Earth made a great impact on planetary science.

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First U.S. Spacecraft on Mars

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Viking - First U.S. Spacecraft on Mars
Fri, November 25 2016

Black Hole Friday

Black Friday is upon us. If you are looking for ways to avoid being mauled and crushed at your local Mall, but you want to somehow observe the day in spirit, why not explore what it takes to discover a really massive and dense object, a black hole.

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M87 X-ray
Wed, November 23 2016

A Collector's Passion for Early Ballooning

As SpongeBob and Turkey shaped-balloons float their way down Central Park West for the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning, we’re reminded of someone from the past who had a great interest in ballooning. Evelyn Way Kendall was a prolific collector of balloon-themed objects, and had perhaps the largest collection of such items in the nation. But what inspired her to amass such a collection?

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Evelyn Way Kendall
Wed, November 23 2016

Required to Have an Art Gallery

Contrary to what people might think, the Museum has a large art collection and an art gallery. The arts and the sciences DO mix and are complementary to each other. Art helps to understand objects in a different way, encouraging visitors to think about what they see through another lens.

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Required to Have an Art Gallery

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Earth Flight Environment - Required to Have an Art Gallery
Mon, November 21 2016

Put a Balloon on It

The dream of free flight for humans was realized by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. In an age before photography, purchasing an item with a balloon on it was a way for people to take this moment with them.

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Put a Balloon on It

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Ballooning - Put a Balloon on It
Mon, November 21 2016

Balloonmania

The fascination with ballooning swept across Europe and America and became the 18th Century’s version of going viral.  Balloon-inspired hair and clothing styles were all the rage in the final years of the century. Craftsmen and merchants produced jewelry, hats, fans, snuff boxes, match and needle cases, dinnerware, wall paper, bird cages, chandeliers, clocks, furniture, and a host of other balloon-themed objects to attract the eyes of customers and open their pocketbooks. How many balloon designs can you spot in this fashionable woman’s clothing from the late 18th century?

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Balloonmania

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Illustration Showing Clothing Inspired by Ballooning
Sat, November 19 2016

Your Captions: And You Thought You Could Hide

We are at the end of our “Caption This” series. Throughout, you’ve been a tried and true caption contributor. Our last photo features a smiling woman, a clear globe, and some dramatic lighting

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WWII Black and White Frame
Thu, November 17 2016

How to View Our National Parks from Space

This week is National Geography Awareness Week, an opportunity to reflect on the significance of place and how we affect it. One fantastic way to explore geography is from above. When viewing the Earth from a high altitude or even from space, we can begin to see and record natural and man-made features and events. We can see the remains of civilizations and the aftermath of disasters.

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Grand Canyon
Wed, November 16 2016

Revealing Mercury’s Great Valley

At their core, planetary missions are about exploration, pure and simple. It’s hard to beat the excitement of discovering a new feature on the surface of a planet that’s being imaged by spacecraft for the first time. I had this experience many times during the MESSENGER mission.

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Mercury’s great valley revealed in new digital elevation model

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