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Space

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Thu, February 1 2018

Reflections on Spaceflight and Memory

For those involved or interested in human spaceflight, the last week of January is a solemn time of remembrance, as we commemorate Apollo 1 and the Space Shuttle missions Challenger and Columbia. How does our Museum deal with the memory of such tragedies? 

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The Space Shuttle Challenger’s first launch, 1983
Tue, January 30 2018

Test This Supermoon Illusion Tomorrow

Tomorrow's supermoon is actually being called a “super blue blood moon,” and it’s really rare. Here's what to look for.

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The year’s first full moon is sometimes known as the Wolf Moon.
Fri, January 26 2018

The Missing History of the Explorer 1 Satellite

Sometimes, seeing isn't believing until you take something apart. On the 60th anniversary of the launch of Explorer 1 by the United States, I'm prompted to recall the most valuable lesson I ever learned about what it means to be a curator.

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Explorer 1 (backup)
Fri, January 19 2018

John W. Young, an Astronaut’s Astronaut (1930-2018)

As an astronaut, John Young (1930-2018) was one of a kind. He was the first person to fly in space six times, the first person to circle the Moon alone, the first Space Shuttle mission commander, and the first to command another Space Shuttle mission.

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Astronaut John Young, 1965
Wed, January 10 2018

Remembering Bruce McCandless II

Bruce McCandless II (1937-2017) is immortalized in this iconic photograph of an astronaut flying solo high above Earth. He was the first human being to do a spacewalk without a safety tether linked to a spacecraft.

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Astronaut Bruce McCandless II.
Mon, January 8 2018

Finding the Alphabet from Space

NASA Earth Observatory science writer Adam Voiland has searched through thousands of NASA’s satellite images and astronaut photography, looking for the entire alphabet in images taken from space.

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The letter B, found in an image of the Arkansas River and the Holla Bend Wildlife Refuge.
Fri, January 5 2018

Today, Mars is warmer than Earth. See how we compare.

The northeastern United States is experiencing record-breaking cold weather, with temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below average, according to the National Weather Service. Those are temperatures so frigid that parts of Mars—a cold, desert planet—are actually warmer than certain spots in the U.S. But how does Mars’ climate compare to that of our home planet?

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Viking Orbiter 1 Mosaic of Mars
Wed, January 3 2018

A Supersun (And Why It Doesn’t Mean Summer Weather)

If you looked up at the sky on January 1, you might have witnessed something spectacular--the Moon kicked off the year with the biggest full moon of 2018, a supermoon. But what about the Sun; did you know that it can be super, too?

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The “supersun” of January 2, 2018.
Wed, December 20 2017

Top Five Stories of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, let’s revisit some of our favorite stories of the year: stories of solar eclipses, scientific women, the Spitfire, and spacecraft.

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Solar Eclipse
Mon, December 18 2017

The Study of Flying Saucer Sightings

The phenomenon of contact with aliens has its own history. It was not always the case that those contending they had an encounter with extraterrestrials described the experiences as coercive and frightening. On the contrary, in the decade and a half after the first reports of flying saucer sightings in 1947, most prominent stories of close encounters of the third kind described the aliens as inviting, friendly, and kind.

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A hypothetical alien spacecraft for the National Air and Space Museum’s “Life in the Universe” exhibit.

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