To Infinity and Beyond
To Infinity and Beyond
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has overcome a number of harrowing obstacles along the road toward accomplishing out-of-this-world feats—the Apollo missions, followed by the space shuttle, and now the development of Commercial Crew vehicles—but there remains one roadblock of sorts that it is still trying to navigate its way around: How do we get these darned kids to think we’re hip?
NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. is well aware that his current audience remains much the same as it was during the space race; a lot of older people follow NASA closely because of intense nostalgia for space-related memories like gathering around a black-and-white TV set with their entire extended family and watching something special like, say, the moon landing. Today’s youth, on the other hand, hasn’t grown up with these scientific breakthroughs occupying an abundance of airtime or attention, and these major events are pretty much known to them from what they’ve read in school textbooks or heard at family gatherings—when grandpa has had one too many bourbons.
But now, NASA is launching initiatives to bring the agency better remembered from monochrome boob tubes into the present, aligning itself with pop culture trends.
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Susan Marenoff, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, is quick to warn us that she is not an expert on education. But still, she told The Observer at this morning’s opening of the museum’s new space shuttle pavilion, in her estimation of today’s youth, “The interest in math and science is not great.”
There we were—a young journalist—standing on the viewing deck of the recently erected bubble pavilion on the top level of the museum . From our elevated post we were eye-to-eye with the cockpit of the Enterprise, the shuttle that will be housed in this temporary structure until it finds a more permanent home on the premises. Just inches away from the craft’s enormous nose, Ms. Marenoff continued, “If the Intrepid can play a role in stimulating minds and getting them excited about science again by having the Enterprise here, that’s important to us.”
When The Observer arrived at the Intrepid for the pavilion’s ribbon cutting ceremony earlier today, the clouds were nearly as gray as the body of the massive boat.
“The old paradigm that I’m trying to get rid of is that space is for governments and the super-rich, and it takes years, and it costs millions of dollars, and I say this is just wrong” said Peter Platzer, an Austrian-born former CERN physicist and hedge fund quant who was in town to promote his Read More
Tonight the moon will come 15,000 miles closer to the Earth and will be full. This combination of proximity and brightness results in a phenomenon known as the supermoon–by far the brightest and largest full moon we’ll see all year. As we are still primitive beasts loping madly across the plains and will surely be at each others’ throats as soon as the moon is closest to us (11:35 p.m. E.T.), the Associated Press has taken it upon themselves to soothe the cresting tides of madness to come–with science!
Foursquare has been growing rapidly over the last few months. But today the location based service broke a different kind of milestone.
According to Foursquare’s official blog:
Commander Douglas H. Wheelock became the first human to ever use a location-based service from space. Doug checked in from the International Space Station and unlocked Read More
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong bounded off their NASA shuttle, and today the Internet is celebrating their “giant leap” with new interactive features, never-before-seen videos on YouTube and photo slideshows galore. Here are a few suggested links to land on Read More
HOUSTON—Hillary Clinton contrasted herself with Barack Obama last night in a new way: she claimed to be more progressive on space exploration.
Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center, where NASA’s manned spaceflight programs are based. And Clinton urged a large, fervent crowd at Delmar Fieldhouse to “be sure we have a president who Read More
I admire Jim Carrey for always trying to break out of his own cage, the career-challenging attempts to remain rich and famous without boring himself to death and still having self-respect. Handsome, versatile and fearless, he thumps along in a constant battle between the moronic roles he’s famous for—the idiot farces like Dumb & Dumber Read More
Shortly after my husband and I acquired new upstairs neighbors, we noticed water damage on our daughter’s bathroom ceiling.
I had an awkward phone conversation with the missus above. She deftly stated that if the problem were indeed caused by their renovation, then their contractor would repair it. I was feeling edgy. The ceiling had Read More
Myrtle Cagle, astronaut trainee, circa 1961.
The other day, when Hillary’s claim that she wrote to NASA and was told in a responding letter that the space agency “didn’t take girls” struck us as implausible and poorly calculated because obviously checkable, our interest waned at the prospect of FOILing the correspondence.
First Lady Read More