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Thu, January 28 2021

Challenger: A Moment in our Personal and Shared Memories

Seventy-three seconds after launch, Challenger was destroyed on live TV. We did not understand what we saw: Our teachers could not explain it, our parents were unlikely to have better answers, and few of us probably spent time paying attention to what transpired afterwards in terms of the official investigation. The Challenger disaster symbolizes a moment in our personal and shared memories when we felt great sorrow together.

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Challenger: A Moment in our Personal and Shared Memories

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Challenger STS 51-L Launch
Thu, January 28 2021

Bonus! To Gaze

Over the summer we collaborated with the artist Diplo on a companion album to his new record MMXX. It’s called Under Ancient Skies and it’s available wherever you stream music. But we also created an audio tour of the night sky for a series of small, outdoor concerts Diplo performed.

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Bonus! To Gaze

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Logo for AirSpace Podcast 2020
Thu, January 28 2021

Commemorating the 35th Anniversary of Challenger

On January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger was set to launch on STS-51-L, on a mission to observe and track Halley’s Comet—73 seconds after launch, the shuttle disintegrated, ending the lives of all seven crew members. The disaster was most heavily felt in the space community and even in the realm of the cultural arts. Particularly, famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and astronaut Sally K. Ride had their own respective responses to this tragedy.

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Commemorating the 35th Anniversary of Challenger

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Sally Ride's Rogers Commission Notebook
Wed, January 27 2021

Imagining Faster-Than-Light Travel

After the 1950s, fictional depictions of space travel needed to suggest conceivable ways to cross interstellar distances to seem plausible. Some authors suggested faster-than-light drives, hyper drives, jump drives, worm holes, and black holes.

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"Star Trek" Starship "Enterprise" Studio Model
Fri, January 22 2021

Mars Project: Wernher von Braun as a Science-Fiction Writer

Wernher von Braun was a superb engineering manager, an excellent pilot, and a decent pianist. In the U.S., he became a national celebrity while speaking and writing about spaceflight. But we don’t think him as a science-fiction writer.

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Mars Project: Wernher von Braun as a Science-Fiction Writer

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Chesley Bonestell - Mars
Tue, January 19 2021

AirSpace Presents
Voyages to Mars: Searching

The search for life is a pillar of Mars exploration. But our search isn’t only confined to the planets of our solar system. Radio telescopes search for signals of intelligent life from far away planets, orbiting other stars. In his story, “The Great Silence,” science fiction author Ted Chiang features the Arecibo telescope as he considers the significance of the animal life that surrounds it.

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AirSpace Presents
Voyages to Mars: Searching

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Voyages to Mars
Thu, January 14 2021

Mercury, The Not So Shrunken Planet

Based on my research, which include image composites of two flyby views of Mercury from the MESSENGER spacecraft, I conclude that Mercury has not cooled and shrunken as much as previously thought.

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Color Composite of Mercury Flyby
Thu, January 14 2021

Bonus! AirSpace Presents NOVA Now

Satellites from NASA and private companies are making headlines. What’s their history and how might their future affect space and life here on Earth?

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Bonus! AirSpace Presents NOVA Now

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Logo for AirSpace Podcast 2020
Fri, January 8 2021

George Robert Carruthers: Astronautical Engineer and Astronomer

Astronautical engineer and astronomer George Robert Carruthers, a name well-known and dearly regarded in the space science community, and a good friend of the National Air and Space Museum, passed away on Saturday, December 26 after a long illness.

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Carruthers - Film Cassettes
Thu, December 31 2020

Celebrating the Holidays with Arthur C. Clarke

As I have been scanning the correspondence that science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke received over his lifetime, a constant staple of correspondence always crops up near the end of a year. These being the abundant number of Christmas cards Clarke would get around the holidays.

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Christmas Card, Arthur C. Clarke

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