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On August 30, 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African American in space with the launch of STS-8.

"My desire was to make a contribution to the program," Bluford said in a interview for NASA in 2013, commemorating the 30th year anniversary of the milestone.

"People came from all over to watch this launch because I was flying," added Bluford. "I imagined them, all standing out there at one o'clock in the morning with their umbrellas, all asking the same question, 'Why am I standing here?'"

Bluford was part of NASA's barrier-breaking 1978 class of astronauts. Of the 35 astronauts selected that year, three were African-Americans, and six were women, including Sally Ride -- who later became the first American woman in space.

Charles Bolden, who became NASA's first black administrator in 2009, released a video to coincide with the 30th year anniversary of STS-8.

"What was so good about Sally and what was so good about Guy was the fact that they were good," Bolden stated. "They didn't need to explain why they were there. Guy was the first person of color to fly and that was absolutely incredible, but it was would have been empty had he been the first and only."

1. 30 Years Ago: First African-American Launches into Space
2. NASA Chief Remembers Guy Bluford, First African American in Space | Video

#NASA #Space #History #OnThisDay
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Pluto Was Demoted From Planetary Status 9 Years Ago Today

On August 24th, 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially defined what constitutes a planet. For a celestial body in our solar system to be defined as a planet, it must:

1. Be in orbit of the Sun
2. Have sufficient mass to assume a nearly round shape (officially known as hydrostatic equilibrium)
3. “Clear the neighborhood” around its orbit

This designation meant that Pluto – first discovered in 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh – was no different than any of the other 70,000 icy objects that comprise the Kuiper Belt, a region that extends from the orbit of Neptune out to 55 astronomical units (55 times the distance of the Earth to the Sun).

After decades of observation, astronomers have continued to discover other large Kuiper Belt objects, such as Eris in 2005, which was determined to be larger than Pluto itself. The discovery of Eris – which has approximately 25% more mass than Pluto – posed an interesting question to the scientific community: would this object be the 10th planet in our solar system? 

“If Neptune were analogized with a Chevy Impala in mass, then how big is Pluto compared to that? Pluto would be a matchbox car sitting on the curb.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Based upon the IAU’s definition above, any object that doesn’t meet the third criteria is classified as a dwarf planet – including Pluto, Eris, and many of the other objects located in the distant reaches of the Kuiper Belt. In spite of this new designation, Pluto still holds a special spot in the hearts of scientists and astronomers, as NASA sent their New Horizons spacecraft to observe it closely. On July 14th, 2015, New Horizons captured the first close-up images of Pluto’s surface.

Image Credit: PBS

1. Pluto and the Developing Landscape of Our Solar System
2. Why Pluto is No Longer a Planet

#NASA   #Penny4NASA   #Pluto  
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+Allen Waddell because Pluto was,and always will be to some. The discover's relatives don't appreciate the demotion., and neither do we.
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On this day 40 years ago, NASA's Viking 1 spacecraft launched en route to Mars.

On July 20th, 1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter and touched down at Chryse Planitia, a flat lowland region in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Immediately following touchdown, the Viking 1 lander made history by taking and transmitting the first complete photograph taken from the surface of Mars. The image ( was of the Viking 1 lander’s foot as an indication of how far it had sunk into the Martian surface. Between itself and its companion, Viking 2, this historic photograph was just the first of more than 50,000 images taken from the Martian surface, as well as from orbit, and transmitted back to Earth.

What makes Viking 1 especially noteworthy is that not only was the spacecraft the first attempt by the United States at landing on Mars, but it was also the first to successfully do so and perform its mission. While the Soviet Mars 3 mission was the first to achieve a soft landing of a spacecraft on Mars it stopped transmitting data 15 seconds after landing. During those few seconds of transmission, it sent the first partial photograph taken from the surface of Mars although nothing in it was identifiable.

During its operation on the Martian surface, Viking 1 became the record holder for longest Mars surface mission at 2307 days, until Mars Rover Opportunity took the record in 2010.

To read more about Viking 1:

#NASA #Mars #Space #Science #CarlSagan  
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Happy National Aviation Day!

On this day 76 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a presidential proclamation that established Orville Wright’s birthday as National Aviation Day. Born on August 19, 1871, Orville Wright was an aviation pioneer who, along with his brother, is credited with inventing and building the first successful airplane. Orville made the world’s first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight on December 17, 1903.

Learn more about the Wright Brothers here:

#NASA #NationalAviationDay #Aviation #Space  
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When you consider this was not that long ago in man's history .
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Exploding Perseid meteor in today's APOD! I absolutely must catch the meteor shower!!

#Perseids #meteor #APOD #GIF
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Watch Live: Rosetta Spacecraft Begins Closest Approach To Sun

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander will make their closest approach to the sun on Thursday as they follow Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko into the inner solar system. The Slooh Community Observatory will be providing a live stream of the comet as it begins its close encounter with the sun this Saturday.

Watch Live:

#NASA #ESA #Rosetta #Philae #Space  
We strive to increase NASA's funding to 1% by encouraging popular support for NASA through education and outreach.
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Have them in circles
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On this day in 2012, Neil Armstrong passed away.

Of all 12 astronauts to have stood on the lunar surface during the Apollo era, none are as popular as the first and most famous of the moon-walkers, Neil Armstrong. Described by his fellow Apollo 11 crew mate Buzz Aldrin as the “epitome of a space man”, Armstrong has served both before and after death as a cornerstone of NASA’s ethos-building force, one which has resonated since its inception 56 years ago.

On August 25, 2012, Neil Armstrong passed away as the result of complications from a cardiovascular procedure. Following his death, Neil Armstrong’s family released a statement, which reads in part:

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

On this day, join us in celebrating the accomplishments and memorable career of Neil Armstrong by taking an opportunity to #WinkAtTheMoon !

Honor Neil Armstrong's legacy by advocating for an increase in NASA's budget:

To read more about Neil Armstrong:

#NASA #NeilArmstrong #Apollo #Apollo11 #Space  
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Dear Mr. Armstrong- you are an AMERICAN
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The First Earthrise Was Captured 49 Years Ago Today

On August 23, 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft captured the first picture of Earth taken from lunar orbit. This image shows the photo as it was first seen in 1966, as well as a restored version of the photo created by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project using the original tapes and 1960s era technology.

Learn more about the restoration of this image here:

Learn more about the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project here:

#NASA #Earth #Moon #Space #Science  
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It is ridiculous to call it a fake.
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“Voyager cost each American less than a penny a year from launch to Neptune encounter.” – Carl Sagan

Today, 38 years following the launch of Voyager 2 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the probe continues to string information back to Earth via the Deep Space Network, despite being over 10 billion miles away. While its transmissions are faint, reflecting its distance from its homeport, Voyager 2 remains as the longest operating of all of NASA’s existing space probes.

While its trajectory would eventually take the space probe past Uranus and Neptune, Voyager 2’s initial funding was meant purely for the space probe’s flyby studies of Jupiter and Saturn, and not for surveying these outer planets. However, Voyager 2’s flight path was selected from 10,000 proposed trajectories to preserve the option of studying the outer solar system if funding could be attained.

Some of this celebrated space probe’s highlights include being the only probe to have visited all four outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, expanding our understanding of Saturn’s complex ring system, and discovering Neptune’s “Great Dark Spot”.

Celebrate the longevity of Voyager 2 by advocating for an increase in NASA's budget:

Where is Voyager 2 now?

To read more about Voyager 2:

#NASA #Voyager #Space #Science #CarlSagan  
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Happy Birthday Gene Kranz!

The phrase “Tough and Competent” was created by NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and became the rallying cry of NASA and the Mission Control crew after the Apollo 1 disaster. 

“Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, ‘Dammit, stop!’ I don’t know what Thompson’s committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: 'Tough’ and 'Competent.’ Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write 'Tough and Competent’ on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control.” - The Kranz Dictum 

Gene Kranz served as Flight Director for a number of NASA milestones, including Apollo 11, the “successful failure” of Apollo 13, and the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. Please be sure to checkout another great video from our friend Mike Dawson and his Assignment Universe project.

Watch “Gene Kranz - Mission Control: Tough & Competent” here:

*Celebrate Gene Kranz's birthday by advocating for an increase in NASA's budget:

#NASA #GeneKranz #Space #Science #Penny4NASA  
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Watch Live: The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to deliver one of its best shows in years thanks to the lack of moonlight to obscure the event. The meteor shower is set to peak in the late evening hours on Wednesday, offering skywatchers an excellent opportunity to catch a “shooting star.”

Watch Live:

#NASA #MeteorShower #Space #Astronomy  
We strive to increase NASA's funding to 1% by encouraging popular support for NASA through education and outreach.
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NASA Captures The Moon Photobombing Earth

NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, known as DSCOVR for short, has captured stunning images of the far side of the moon as it crosses in front of the Earth from 1 million miles away. The spacecraft captured the images from a gravitationally neutral point between the Earth and the sun.

Read more:

#NASA #Space #Moon #Earth #Photobomb  
We strive to increase NASA's funding to 1% by encouraging popular support for NASA through education and outreach.
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Awesome Pic
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NASA's annual budget is a half a penny on your tax dollar. Imagine what we could do with a full penny.
Penny4NASA was founded to uphold the importance of space exploration and science. We believe wholeheartedly that our federal funding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, at a mere 0.48% of the total, does not reflect the hugely important economic, technological and inspirational resource that this agency has been throughout its 50+ year history. With approximately $10 coming back into the economy for every $1 spent, thousands of new science and engineering students becoming inspired continuously, and the multitude of technologies that NASA research has both directly and indirectly made possible, we believe that NASA needs to be funded at a level of at least 1% of the U.S. federal budget. This isn't a partisan argument, and this isn't a fiscal budget argument, this is the American people saying that as a society our tax dollars to reflect that importance of science and space exploration. And 0.48% doesn't cut it. We are calling for NASA budget to be increased to at least 1% of the US federal budget.
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