Archive Discoveries: NASA’s Distinguished Service Award for ‘Freedom 7’

During the early days of NASA and height of the space race in the 1960s, the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration loaned two of our staff photographers — Dean Conger and Luis Marden to NASA to document their efforts to send a man into space. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan B….

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First Person: What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission

By Jim Urquhart for National Geographic “Mars has been flown by, orbited, smacked into, radar examined, and rocketed onto, as well as bounced upon, rolled over, shoveled, drilled into, baked, and even blasted. Still to come: Mars being stepped on.”—Buzz Aldrin In a remote stretch of Utah desert, five scientific researchers and one journalist, myself, came together this month…

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Hangout With an Astronaut: Ask Your Questions

Since the year of mankind’s inaugural trip to space in 1961, 341 people have crossed the celestial borders of outer space. These new-age navigators represent the pinnacle of human achievement. What is it about their daring voyages that elicit wonderment in those watching from Earth? Becoming an astronaut is a difficult, but not impossible dream. Join us for…

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Budget Provides Blueprint for Climate, Energy Goals

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year. In it, President Obama earmarked funding for both his Climate Action Plan and Climate Resiliency Fund. The budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency that released stricter fuel standards this week—represented a $309 million decrease from the current fiscal year budget. The nearly $8 billion…

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Lopsided Supernova Blasts Uncovered

Some jumbo stars commit stellar suicide in surprisingly lumpy explosions, according to a new study in Nature. Scientists led by Caltech’s Brian Grefenstette looked at Cassiopeia A, a supernova that first appeared in nighttime skies around the year 1670. The supernova’s wispy remnants rest some 11,000 light-years away from Earth, stretched across some 59 trillion miles (95 trillion…

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5 Sky Events This Week: Red Planet, Lord of the Rings, and Space Mountain

The bright moon moves into late-night skies this week, offering backyard observers some early-evening opportunities to hunt down celestial sights ranging from a fading supernova to a giant asteroid. Last-chance supernova. For Monday, February 17, and the rest of the week, the exploding star SN 2014J will be visible in darker skies in the early evening, thanks to the…

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Intense Starburst Spotted in Nearby Galaxy

Things are rocking right now in our own galactic neighborhood. Backyard telescope users already knew about the Cigar Galaxy, or M82, located in the Great Bear constellation, Ursa Major. Now it has two new cosmic secrets to explore. Two weeks ago a supernova—a giant exploding star—was discovered by British university students within the galaxy, which is…

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Obama Doesn’t Need Congress to Move Forward on Clean Energy

A week before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, a new report says Obama could advance key measures of his Climate Action Plan with or without the cooperation of Congress. “When they believed a national situation warranted action, some past presidents interpreted their authority broadly and exercised it aggressively,” the report said. “That is the practice of presidential authority Americans…

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Spacesuit Flaw Prompts Christmas Eve Spacewalk

No place like home for the holidays? Two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be floating outside their orbiting home on Christmas Eve.   While a Saturday space walk to repair the orbiting laboratory’s faulty cooling pump was completed ahead of schedule, water leaks still plague one space-walk spacesuit. As a result,…

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Top 5 Space Station Repair Spacewalk Dangers

Tensions are high as the astronauts aboard the International Space Station ready themselves to conduct a series of emergency spacewalks that start this weekend, ones intended to correct a critical cooling system failure. Acting much like a car’s radiator, the malfunctioning cooling pump prevents overheating of electronics and science experiments aboard the ISS. With one…

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About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

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