Science at the Oscars! #IfScientistsWereLikeStars

YAY Oscars! Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony did not disappoint- political commentary mixed with some humor, beautiful dresses (and people), some maaajor drama, and even some science! Pretty sure there was more mention of science during the Oscar’s than there has been during any of Trumps speeches ever (someone fact check me on that). Here are the highlights:

Hidden Figures nominated for several Oscars: While it didn’t take home any awards, Hidden Figures was nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay.This film is the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. This is a major shoutout to both women and minorities in science, and it’s always great when a science film makes it to the awards show. Not to mention, our favorite scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson was live tweeting about the film throughout the Oscars.

GE wins “Best Commercial” with it’s ad geared towards hiring more women scientists: YAAAS. This was one of the best commercials I’ve ever seen. Huge kudos to GE for dedicating efforts to hiring more women in STEM and advertising this initiative in a well-done commercial. It’s beautiful.

Shoutout to Science and Tech awards: While they unfortunately have their own separate event, it’s nice that the Oscars took the time to highlight some of the innovation made from the science and technology sectors and their contribution to film making. Some of these awards went to facial-performance-capture technology, animation technology, and improvements in digital camera systems.

 

NASA media call on activity on Jupiter’s moon, Europa

NASA will host a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. (Details here)

Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Participants in the teleconference will be:

  • Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • William Sparks, astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
  • Britney Schmidt, assistant professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
  • Jennifer Wiseman, senior Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

To participate by phone, media must contact Dwayne Brown at 202-358-1726 or dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov and provide their media affiliation no later than noon Monday.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live on NASA’s website at:

http://www.nasa.gov/live

For information about NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

COOL! What happens to your DNA after a year in space?

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13 Reasons to have an Out of this World Friday (the 13th) #NASA

From NASA

1. Know that not all of humanity is bound to the ground

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Since 2000, the International Space Station has been continuously occupied by humans. There, crew members live and work while conducting important research that benefits life on Earth.

2. Smart people are up all night working in control rooms all over NASA to ensure that data keeps flowing from our satellites

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Our satellites help scientists study Earth and space. Satellites looking toward Earth provide information about clouds, oceans, land and ice. They also measure gases in the atmosphere, such as ozone and carbon dioxide, and the amount of energy that Earth absorbs and emits. And satellites monitor wildfires, volcanoes and their smoke.

Satellites that face toward space have a variety of jobs. Some watch for dangerous rays coming from the sun. Others explore asteroids and comets, the history of stars, and the origin of planets. Some satellites fly near or orbit other planets. These spacecraft may look for evidence of water on Mars or capture close-up pictures of Saturn’s rings.

3. When we are ready to send humans to Mars, they’ll have the most high tech space suits ever made

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Our Z-2 Spacesuit is the newest prototype in its next-generation platform, the Z-series. Each iteration of the Z-series will advance new technologies that one day will be used in a suit worn by the first humans to step foot on the red planet.

4. When we need more space in space, it could be just like expanding a big high-tech balloon

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The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, leverages key innovations in lightweight and compact materials, departing from a traditional rigid metallic structure. Once attached to the International Space Station, the module would result in an additional 565 cubic feet of volume, which is about the size of a large family camping tent.

5. Even astronauts eat their VEGGIE’s

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The Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) is a deployable plant growth unit capable of producing salad-type crops in space. Earlier this year, Expedition 44 crew members, sampled the red romaine lettuce from the VEGGIE plant growth system. This technology will provide future pioneers with a sustainable food supplement during long-duration exploration missions.

6. When you feel far away from home, you can think of the New Horizons spacecraft as it heads toward the Kuiper Belt…billions of miles away

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Our New Horizons spacecraft completed its Pluto flyby on July 14, and has continued on its way toward the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft continues to send back important data as it travels toward deeper space at more than 32,000 miles per hour, and is nearly 3.2 billion miles from Earth.

7. Earth has a magnetic field that largely protects it from the solar wind stripping away our atmosphere…unlike Mars

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Recently announced findings from our MAVEN mission have identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment to the cold, arid planet Mars is today. MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. Luckily, Earth has a magnetic field that largely protects it from this process.

8. Water bubbles look REALLY cool in space

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Astronauts on the International Space Station dissolved an effervescent tablet in a floating ball of water, and captured images using a camera capable of recording four times the resolution of normal high-definition cameras. The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station. This footage is one of the first of its kind.

9. Americans will launch from U.S. soil again with the Commercial Crew Program

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Our Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

10. You can see a global image of your home planet…EVERY DAY

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Once a day, we will post at least a dozen new color images of Earth acquired from 12 to 36 hours earlier. These images are taken by our EPIC camera from one million miles away on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Take a look HERE.

11. Over 18,000 people wanted to be astronauts and join us on the journey to Mars

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More than 18,300 people applied to join our 2017 astronaut class, almost three times the number of applications received in 2012 for the most recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978. Among this group are humanities next great explorers!

12. A lot of NASA-developed tech has been transferred for use to the public

Our Technology Transfer Program highlights technologies that were originally designed for our mission needs, but have since been introduced to the public market. HERE are a few spinoff technologies that you might not know about.

13. If all else fails, there’s this image of Psychedelic Pluto

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This false color image of Pluto was created using a technique called principal component analysis. This effect highlights the many subtle color differences between Pluto’s distinct regions.

SpaceX Dragon to depart Space Station- follow LIVE! #OutOfThisWorld

NASA will be live-streaming the departure of SpaceX Dragon from the ISS on NASAtv starting at 9am EST.

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The SpaceX Dragon cargo spaceship is grappled by the International Space Station’s Canadaarm2. Credits: NASA

After delivering almost 7,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is set to leave the orbital laboratory with valuable science research and return to Earth on Wednesday, May 11. NASA Television will provide live coverage of Dragon’s departure beginning at 9 a.m. EDT.

The Dragon capsule, which arrived at the station April 10, will be detached from the Earth-facing side of the station’s Harmony module using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, operated by ground controllers. Robotics controllers will maneuver Dragon into place and Expedition 47 robotic arm operator Tim Peake of ESA (European Space Agency) will execute the command for its 9:18 a.m. release.

Dragon will fire its thrusters three times to move to a safe distance from the station before being commanded to begin its deorbit burn about 2 p.m. The capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean about 2:55 p.m. The deorbit burn and splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

A recovery team will retrieve the capsule and its more than 3,700 pounds of return cargo, including samples from ongoing space station research, which ultimately will be shipped to laboratories for further study. This cargo includes samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station. The spacecraft also will return the final batch of human research samples from the one-year crew mission.

In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is Saturday, May 14.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched April 8 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for the company’s eighth NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission to the station.

 

More details on how to watch the Mercury Transit

Check out this Slate article for more details on how to watch the Mercury Transit today!

For those who can’t watch it live, here are all the live streams:

Mercury Transit!

Follow the Mercury Transit LIVE from NASA! Today from 7:12am-2:42pm EST, as Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system (sorry Pluto), transits the sun!

NASA is inviting media and viewers around the world to see a relatively rare celestial event, with coverage of the Monday, May 9 transit of the sun by the planet Mercury. Media may view the event at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Agency scientists will be available at the Goddard viewing event for live media interviews from 6 to 11:30 a.m. EDT. To attend, media must contact Michelle Handleman at michelle.z.handleman@nasa.gov. To schedule an interview with a NASA scientist at the event, contact Claire Saravia,claire.g.desaravia@nasa.gov.

Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, its last trek taking place in 2006. Due to its diminutive size, viewing this event safely requires a telescope or high-powered binoculars fitted with solar filters made of specially-coated glass or Mylar.

NASA is offering several avenues for the public to view the event without specialized and costly equipment, including images on NASA.gov, a one-hour NASA Television special, and social media coverage.

Mercury will appear as a small black dot as it crosses the edge of the sun and into view at 7:12 a.m. The planet will make a leisurely journey across the face of the sun, reaching mid-point at approximately 10:47 a.m., and exiting the golden disk at 2:42 p.m. The entire 7.5-hour path across the sun will be visible across the Eastern United States – with magnification and proper solar filters – while those in the West can observe the transit in progress after sunrise.