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Exploration

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Wed, November 29 2017

Hydrogen-Powered Cars Hitting the Road

Sustainable energy has been at the heart of modern innovations large and small, from efficient light bulbs in living rooms to solar panels powering buildings. One of the newest breakthroughs in energy technology can often be found zipping around the streets in front of the Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, DC—a car powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

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A fuel cell car being filled at a hydrogen pump.
Fri, November 24 2017

Planet Hunting with the Kepler Space Telescope

Thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope, we now know the answer to a longstanding question in astronomy: how common are planetary systems around stars? Quite common, it turns out. In the relatively small patch of sky that Kepler studied, most of the stars had planets orbiting them. Scientists now believe that there are more planets than stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

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The Kepler Mission
Tue, November 14 2017

Microgravity Science Experiments

Just like you conduct experiments in your science class, astronauts do experiments while in space. The microgravity of space allows astronauts to carry out experiments that would not be possible in the gravity of Earth. There are more than 300 experiments currently happening aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

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Astronaut Kate Rubins
Fri, October 20 2017

5 Things to Know About the Orionid Meteor Shower

Hoping to catch a view of the Orionid meteor shower tonight? Here are the five things you need to know from the astronomy team at the Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory.

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Telescopic observing draws young visitors
Mon, October 16 2017

Gravity and Light: When Neutron Stars Collide

For the first time ever, on August 17, 2017, astronomers detected the collision of two neutron stars. Not satisfied with that, they caught the cosmic smashup using both gravitational waves and light – another breakthrough.

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Illustration of merging neutron stars.
Tue, October 3 2017

Sputnik and the Space Age at 60

Sputnik, the world’s first human-made satellite of the Earth, was launched on October 4, 1957, marking the beginning of the Space Age and the modern world in which we live today.

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Sputnik Model in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall
Fri, September 15 2017

Our Favorite Saturn Discoveries from Cassini 

At the end of the NASA Cassini spacecraft's 13-year mission, National Air and Space Museum scientists and educators are reflecting on what this mission has meant to them.

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Our Favorite Saturn Discoveries from Cassini 

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Cassini Grand Finale
Thu, September 14 2017

Saying Goodbye to the Saturn-Exploring Cassini

I think it surprises a lot of people that a mission as successful as the Cassini-Huygens Mission would be terminated on purpose. Not just shutting the spacecraft off, but terminated with such style by sending it on a destructive dive into Saturn’s atmosphere. Cassini will burn up and be destroyed in a similar way that a meteorite is broken up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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Saturn Captured by the Cassini Spacecraft
Thu, August 17 2017

Beyond Totality: Appreciating the Partial Eclipse

Here we are, less than one week until a total solar eclipse crosses the United States. For the past three years, my excitement has been building, and all of my eclipse-chaser friends have been saying, “You HAVE to go see totality!” The path of totality (the narrow region where the Sun will appear totally blocked) is relatively convenient for North Americans, but many people won’t be able to travel and witness the total phase of the eclipse.

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Partial Eclipse
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

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