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Tue, August 15 2017

Road Trip to Totality

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse is sweeping the nation. All of North America will be able to see at least a partial eclipse, but 14 states across the U.S. will have the unique opportunity to see a total solar eclipse, called the path of totality. There are approximately 12.5 million people living in the path of totality—an occurrence that happens only once where you live every 375 years! On the day of the eclipse, STEM in 30, a TV show we produce at the National Air and Space Museum for middle school students, will be broadcasting live from the path of totality in Liberty, Missouri, starting at 1:30 pm EST.

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Space Acorn
Tue, August 15 2017

Seeing the Solar Eclipse from Orbit

On Monday, August 21, Astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik will have an unbelievable view of the solar eclipse, set to pass across the United States. Bresnik will watch the solar eclipse from the International Space Station (ISS)—he should be in orbit over the U.S. at exactly the right moment. 

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Path of Totality
Thu, August 10 2017

Hidden Figures Inspiring Girls in STEM

Throughout history, women have often received less credit for similar work as their male counterparts. This includes the inventions of the computer and the internet, both of which can be attributed to female innovators. In order to shed further light on these women, we wanted to introduce to you just a few of those who were pivotal to the way we live today, but were “erased” from history books:

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Header for Women in STEM Visual Essay
Tue, August 8 2017

Viewing A Solar Eclipse Safely through an Artist’s Eye

In this Van Dyke Brown photographic print from the from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum art collection, Jim Leisy (1950 – 2014) shows us one way to safely view a solar eclipse.  On first glance we see an unidentified person wandering aimlessly in a dreamy atmosphere with a box over their head. As the title Solar Eclipse suggests, the cosmic observer is actually catching a glimpse of the fleeting phenomenon with a pinhole projector.

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Solar Eclipse by Jim Leisy
Fri, August 4 2017

The Tomahawk and U.S. Cruise Missile Technology

For the past 30 years, the Tomahawk hung from the ceiling just a few dozen feet from the German V-1 flying bomb, or “buzz bomb,” that saw action in Europe during World War II. The V-1 and the Tomahawk, variants of which are still in service in the Navy, frame an important episode in the history of missile development in the United States. The recent deinstallation of the Tomahawk provides an opportunity to recount some of the highlights of this fascinating story of technological evolution.

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 Launching a Regulus I
Tue, August 1 2017

The Rise and Fall of Vengeance Weapon 2

The V-2 missile was the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket, ballistic missile, and the first object to go into space. It was designed in Nazi Germany, and assembled underground by concentration camp prisoners. Though more than 3,000 V-2s were launched, more people were killed building the rocket than those hit by it. The V-2 was not a successful weapon for Germany, however, it marked a breakthrough in technology that propelled the Soviet Union and U.S. into an arms race and into space. 

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V-2 Missile
Fri, July 28 2017

How the World Explores Space Together

You’ve probably heard of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but have you heard of the Italian Space Agency or the European Space Agency? NASA works with these groups, among others, to explore the frontiers of space together. It wasn’t always this way; Russia and the United States both devoted countless resources to beating each other to space in the 1960s. But today, through shared missions and space stations, we work cooperatively to explore the final frontier.

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Final Configuration of the ISS
Tue, July 25 2017

Learn How to Launch Your Own Rocket, Then See the Real Thing

It’s unusual to know someone whose job includes sitting on top of a rocket awaiting launch into low Earth orbit. But on the morning of July 28, 2017, my colleague Marty Kelsey and I will watch a live broadcast of Randy “Komrade” Bresnik’s launch into space for the second time in his career. We met Bresnik earlier this year while he was training in Houston.

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Soyuz Rocket
Fri, July 21 2017

Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s latest movie, Dunkirk, will premiere in theaters this upcoming Friday, July 21. And although you may know it stars actors such as Tom Hardy, Harry Styles, and Cillian Murphy, you may not know that the National Air and Space Museum houses examples of two of the main airplanes featured in the film. We have a Royal Air Force (RAF) Supermarine Spitfire and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 of the Luftwaffe, although the Museum’s aircraft are slightly younger than those that participated in Operation Dynamo.

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Five Things to Know About the Spitfire, the Legend of Dunkirk
Tue, July 18 2017

How to Shower in Space

Showers, baths, swimming: these are all experiences most of us take for granted on Earth. There's nothing quite like experiencing the cool touch of water from the shower or jumping into a pool on a hot day. Gravity is what makes all of these experiences possible—it pushes that cool and refreshing water off your back and into the drain. But all that changes in space. The lack of gravity causes water and soapsuds to stick to everything.

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Washing Hair in Space

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