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Science

Showing 21 - 30 of 37
Thu, May 14 2015

Finding Pluto With the Blink Comparator

It all started at a special public lecture at the Museum in July 2014 given by Alan Stern, the lead scientist for the New Horizons mission, which will fly past Pluto this July. Among the attendees was William Lowell Putnam IV, sole trustee of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona—the place where Pluto was found in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. It was an exciting evening, not only to learn about the impending flyby but also having a chance to speak with Putnam and the director of the Lowell Observatory, Jeff Hall.

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Blink Comparator
Sat, March 14 2015

Reflections on Pi Day, March 14

Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, has a special place in the annals of space exploration, having among its graduates 23 (and counting) astronauts, including Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, and a host of shuttle crew members, who have flown on more than 40 shuttle missions.

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Clarence A. Waldo
Fri, February 27 2015

Vance Marchbanks' Contribution to Public Health Policy on Sickle Cell Disease

Dr. Vance Marchbanks, Jr. is famous in both the black history and aerospace history communities for his accomplishments as one of the first in his field. He was one of two black MDs to complete the United States Army Air Corps School in Aerospace Medicine at the beginning of World War II. His fame continued through his association with the 99th and 301st Fighter Groups, who later became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

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Vance H. Marchbanks Jr.
Fri, January 30 2015

Remembering Milton W. Rosen

Milton Rosen was a pioneer of American rocketry development.

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Milton W. Rosen
Wed, July 2 2014

Remembering Frederick Ira Ordway, III

Fred Ordway passed away in Huntsville, Alabama, on the morning of Tuesday July 1.

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Frederick Ira Ordway, III
Mon, April 21 2014

Germs in Space

When Space X launched the Dragon Spacecraft on Friday, April 18, it was carrying nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support more than 150 science investigations planned for International Space Station (ISS) Expeditions 39 and 40.  Among these materials are some that weigh hardly anything at all—microbes—of which one type was collected right here at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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The International Space Station (ISS)
Mon, December 17 2012

Flying Low and Slow Over a Lava Flow

This September, Larry Crumpler, a research colleague at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and I were able to fly in the back seats of two weight-shifting ultralight aircraft during a two-hour flight over the McCartys lava flow in central New Mexico.

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Jim Zimbelman
Wed, March 7 2012

Climate Change in the Solar System

We are all familiar with the climate on Earth: the seasons, the range of surface temperatures that are just right for being a water world, the oxygen we breathe, the ozone layer that protects us from UV radiation. In short: habitable. So what other bodies in the Solar System might be (or might have been) habitable, and why aren’t they today? Mars probably comes to mind, and for good reason. Mars has the most similar climate to our own, with water ice caps at the poles, seasonal snow, and dust storms. This is because Mars has a similar axial tilt as the Earth, which creates similar seasonal temperature variations.

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Viking Orbiter 1 Mosaic of Mars
Fri, November 25 2011

Assessing the Spin-offs of Spaceflight

Our lives are enhanced by technologies developed through the research and development supported by the necessities of spaceflight. NASA has documented since 1976 more than 1,300 technologies that have benefited U.S. citizens, improved our quality of life, and helped to advance the nation’s economic welfare. Of course, much has been made over the years of what NASA calls “spin-offs,” commercial products that had at least some of their origins as a result of spaceflight-related research. Most years the agency puts out a book describing some of the most spectacular, and they range from laser angioplasty to body imaging for medical diagnostics to imaging and data analysis technology. Spin-offs were not Tang and Teflon, neither of which was actually developed for the Apollo program.

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Sat, July 9 2011

New Plants Blast off in the Landscape

Moonbeams, rockets, and Blue Angels are not just showcased in the National Air and Space Museum — they are in the garden too!

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Smithsonian Gardens Staffers outside the Museum

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