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Charles Haasch
The New Frontier
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NASA Remembers Dr. Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking was a brilliant cosmologist who has changed our view of the universe with his remarkable theories and outreach. He also inspired generations around the world, making some of the most complicated physics of our time accessible to the masses.

“Today, the world lost a giant among men, whose impact cannot be overstated," acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot‌ said in a statement. "Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Stephen Hawking.

“Along with groundbreaking and inspiring work came another attribute that made Stephen a hero not just to younger generations, but also to his peers. A longtime friend to NASA, Stephen was a passionate communicator who wanted to share the excitement of discovery with all."

“His loss is felt around the world by all he inspired with his work and his personal story of perseverance.”

Video: Stephen Hawking on the importance of space exploration

Hawking’s best known work found that black holes should glow, emitting what is now known as Hawking radiation. Hawking’s theories have unlocked a universe of possibilities that NASA and the world are exploring today.

“Although humanity has lost one of the most prominent cosmologists and astrophysicists of our time, his work and vision will last forever, “ said Thomas Zurbuchen associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “His ability to communicate to the general public about the importance to study the universe and move science forward is a legacy that will endure to achieve greater heights to explore the solar system and beyond.”

On Twitter: Tributes to Stephen Hawking.

Hawking's relationship with NASA spanned years.

In 2007, Hawking took his first flight in microgravity from NASA's Kennedy Spaceflight Center. On April 21, 2008, Hawking and his daughter Lucy delivered a lecture as part of NASA's 50th anniversary. Speaking of the importance of human spaceflight, Hawking concluded, "If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before."

Read Prof. Hawking's 2008 lecture: Why We Should Go Into Space (PDF)

Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata aboard the International Space Station spoke with Hawking during their 2014 mission. A year later, he made a video congratulating the New Horizons team for their successful flyby of Pluto.

“We explore because we are human, and we want to know,” he said in the video.

The British Royal Society awarded Professor Hawking its prestigious Copley Medal on Nov. 30, 2006, for his contributions to theoretical physics and theoretical cosmology. The silver gilt medal flew on space shuttle Discovery's July 2006 mission to the International Space Station, at the initiative of crew member Piers Sellers, a native of Britain.
Thanks to his monumental contributions, the pioneer in all of us is ever the closer to reaching new destinations beyond our planet.

The Image

Stephen Hawking, a professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, delivers a speech entitled "Why we should go into space" during a lecture that is part of a series honoring NASA's 50th Anniversary, Monday, April 21, 2008, at George Washington University's Morton Auditorium in Washington.

Credits: NASA/Paul Alers

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The Crab from Space
Image Credit: NASA - X-ray: CXC, Optical: STSCI, Infrared: JPL-Caltech,

Explanation: The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier's famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, expanding debris from the death explosion of a massive star. This intriguing false-color image combines data from space-based observatories, Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer, to explore the debris cloud in X-rays (blue-white), optical (purple), and infrared (pink) light. One of the most exotic objects known to modern astronomers, the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star spinning 30 times a second, is the bright spot near picture center. Like a cosmic dynamo, this collapsed remnant of the stellar core powers the Crab's emission across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spanning about 12 light-years, the Crab Nebula is 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus.
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Great story about space travel in 2017!
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