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The "Selfie" has been quite the topic of both derision and obsession so far this year, but tomorrow should be the true test of its popularity. April 22 is typically Earth Day, and that it'll be again this year; NASA has their own plans, however, and they need you.
Take a photo of yourself showcasing the nature of wherever you are, and upload it to social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Flickr) with the hashtag #GlobalSelfie to join inyou guessed itGlobal Selfie Day.
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Heading to Florida anytime soon? If not, you may want to consider a trip since tours through NASA's massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in Titusville are ending on February 11, 2014.
The reason for discontinuing the tours is simple: "As a working spaceflight facility, NASA is preparing the VAB for the new SLS launch systems for 2017."
Now that Space Shuttles have begun their retirement as static displays in several US cities, NASA is moving on to the next stage of space exploration with the Space Launch System (SLS). In order to develop and construct what will be space vehicles designed to lift 70-130 metric tons (and astronauts!) into orbit and, perhaps, even to Mars.
Space Travel / Museum Travel / Houston Travel / NASA / Boeing / 747 / Space Shuttle / Texas Travel / → All Tags
Houston has a problem.
Or, rather, Houston had a problem, as their bitterness from being passed over when NASA handed out Space Shuttles may be staunched by the delivery of the special 747 carrier plane instead.
Okay, so the home of Mission Control will likely never heal from the pain of the Shuttle decision, but a consolation prize does mean the city's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center will have something other than laboratories, training rooms and the mission control center to show off to visitors. According to Space.com, the modified 747 "Shuttle Carrier Aircraft" will be disassembled with Boeing's help, shipped to Houston, and reassembled within a brand new, $12 million, six-story building at Space Center Houston, adjacent to Johnson Space Center.
We admit to searching for frequent flyer miles in everything we do, but it's because we know that however obscure the loyalty program points are, they might just pay off one day. So now we have Qantas to the rescue after partnering with NASA on their newest (and probably most expensive) advertising campaign.
The Australian airline has obviously called in some favors from other high-fliers and used NASA's little baby, the Mars Exploration Rover, to show that's all too easy to pad your frequent flyer account with miles. Okay, the actual rover is still over on Mars doing its thing, but the replica of the high-tech machinery shows members of Qantas' frequent flyer program how to rack up those miles without even stepping foot on a plane.
The new enclosure, in progress
It opened to the public on July 19, 2012. It closed only a few months after, in late October, when Hurricane Sandy swept through New York City and, well, huffed and puffed and blew its house down. We're speaking of the Space Shuttle Enterprise on the Intrepid aircraft carrier, of course, and the latest image showing progress on the reconstruction of the exhibit hints at exciting things to come.
Compare the construction of the new structure (above) to the old tent-like one (below). First observation? It's not a tent! Hallelujah, break out the champagne because now the exhibit may actually have a chance of surviving the next huge storm to hit NYC (knock on wood). Secondly, we notice increased space. Perhaps the single staircase to view the nose of the shuttle (through scratched plexi glass, mind you) will mercifully be replaced by an actual viewing platform? And perhaps it won't all feel like some temproary, low-budget exhibition, which is definitely is not.
So they’re not exactly launching any space shuttles out of Florida anytime soon, but the Kennedy Space Center is still plenty busy these days. In fact they’ve got so much going on that they’d love to have you swing by and check things out for yourself.
The next piece of space stuff departing earth is the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and if things stay on schedule—and the weather cooperates—it’ll blast off on Friday, March 1. Those heading over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can score a front row seat for the event, with viewing right along the NASA Causeway.
If you’re looking to set a reminder on your phone, it’s all scheduled to go
down up at 10:10am EST from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
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If you’re more bah humbug than ho, ho, ho, there are trees out there for you too: Moon Trees. These trees, located all over the U.S., don’t have sparkly lights or flashy ornaments but they have been to the moon.
Back in the 1971 Stuart Roosa brought along close to 500 seeds from five tree species on the Apollo 14 mission as part of an experiment. As Apollo 14 re-entered Earth's atmosphere the container carrying the seeds opened and the seeds all mixed together.
You can't exactly take a trip there (yet), but the International Space Station keeps on keepin' on with its outer space research even as the Space Shuttles settle into their retirement. Did you know the ISS is the third brightest thing in the sky? The Hairpin, one of our favorite blogs, even notes that the Space Station has a system where you tell it where you are on Earth and NASA will email you when the conditions are best for you to get outside and spot the floating lab far away from Earth.
It's called "Spot the Shuttle" and it's brilliant.
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If you missed the move of the Space Shuttles to their new homes in New York City and Los Angeles—don’t worry—there’s still one more NASA orbiter that has yet to reach its final resting place This time the transportation is taking place in Florida and not too far from where the astronauts and crew did their thing for decades. That means that there will be no piggyback-plane flyover, but at least you’ll have the chance to pay your respects to one of the country’s remnants of NASA space travel technology.
This time it’s the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and it's scheduled to head over to Kennedy Space Center on November 2. It only needs to travel around 10 miles or so to park and ready a new $100 million exhibit, but much of the path is through restricted areas and other limited access places.
That means you’re going to need to buy your way along the route and the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex will be happy to sell you some tickets for exactly that.
NASA has always been very eager to showcase "practical" space travel spin-offs. Voters have generally been reluctant to fund the space agency merely because it takes humanity into the stars and builds telescopes that peek into the origins of the universeeven the Apollo program had problems getting support at the timeso NASA tells people that space technology will also help scientists build better toasters or whatever. It's actually kind of depressing.
That said, and luckily, people who can land bus-sized rovers on other planets with tick-tock precision are obviously going to create some really cool stuff. And since it's already there, why not spin it off?
This last Saturday, the Space Shuttle Endeavour caused a little Los Angesles gridlock of its very own, traveling on the Over Land Transporter (OLT) for 12 miles through the city in order to reach its new home at the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion. No surprise that it was 10 hours late.
Endeavour, built as a replacement for space shuttle Challenger, completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles. The public will be able to visit the Shuttle at the CSC beginning October 30. For more images of Endeavour both on the LA streets and during her fly days, check out the Endeavour Flickr Group.
It also shouldn't come as any surprise that NASA themselves scored the best images from the entire drive, posting them to their Flickr. Hey, NASA may not have flying Space Shuttles anymore, but they do have a killer Flickr stream! From the NASA shots and a few others, we chose 10 images you just have to see:
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Houston, Texas isn't in the best mood today. After all, around sunrise this morning "Space City" lost what it should have kept: the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour, which departed for the last time from Houston's Ellington Field, en route to its final resting place in Los Angeles. The Endeavour first hit the sky in 1992, flying 25 times, with 123 million miles in space and 4,700 circles around Earth.
It won't be a direct flight to LA for the Endeavour, atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier plane; it's booked to stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, before heading to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. Then, tomorrow, the journey in the skies completes at LAX Airport before the shuttle takes to the streets in October.