Posts tagged with "Space"

Dog illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding is Here to Stay

Backyarding is Here to Stay & It Has a Purpose. What’s Yours? 

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

What once only happened indoors now happens outdoors. It’s called “backyarding,” and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. From office work to working out, from eating to entertaining, if these activities were once typically held inside a home or office, they are now being brought to the great outdoors.

Simply think back over the last year and recount the number of times your backyard has taken center stage in your everyday life. The family yard became the safe and purposeful space where we could gather and recharge. Spending time outdoors is great for your physical and mental health, and our backyards are the bridge between indoor and outdoor living.

The backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and you can get really creative in how you expand and enjoy your yard. But before you get to work in your yard, you must first identity what type of “backyarder” you are. Then, you can keep that idea in mind to create a more purposeful outdoor space that is customized to your family’s needs.

Here are just a few of the backyarding personality types. Which one(s) are you?

Entertainer Extraordinaire
Your backyard was the neighborhood hot spot long before the pandemic made that trend posh. Family milestones, birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially distanced BBQs – your yard is *the* place to gather. Your yard is set up for success with patio furniture, fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating, string lights, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.  The family yard and community park are five-star event spaces that are always easy to book!  

Environmentalist
You know that nature starts in your own backyard and that taking small steps in your yard can make a big impact on climate change. As the proverbial Robin to your yard’s Batman, you embrace your role in supporting the superhero powers of your living landscape. Those include capturing and filtering rainwater, producing oxygen, and absorbing carbon, just to name a few. 

Expert Landscaper
Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy living landscape all year long, and you have the latest outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. Your idea of a good time? Spending the weekend doing yardwork. You love the sense of accomplishment that comes from working in your yard, and friends can count on you for advice about their own living landscapes.

Horticulturist
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is bookmarked on your browser because putting the right plant in the right place is the living landscape Golden Rule you live by. You consider location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements, as well as your climate zone and lifestyle needs, before you even think about sticking your shovel in the dirt.

Kid Zone Creator
You know the safest place for your kids to be is in your own backyard, and you work hard to create an outdoor fun zone they will never want to leave. A flat area of sturdy turfgrass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse? Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden where kids can help grow the family’s meals? Check. Natural playscapes, like a patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check. “Fun” is your middle name, and you are winning at this game.

Nature Lover
No binging Netflix for you. You subscribe to “Nature TV” and prefer to spend your free time watching the birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife that count on your yard for food and shelter. You cultivate a living landscape that supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water sources, and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.  

Pet Pamperer
Your focus is on Fido, and you take cues from your four-legged friends about how to purpose your backyard. You’ve planted sturdy turfgrass like Buffalo or Bermuda that can stand up to pet play, and you’ve used soft foliage to create a natural barricade between “off limits” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees and shrubs are strategically planted for shade, and you’ve even set up a shallow water feature to help your pup cool off on hot days. For you, planting with purpose means keeping toxic plants out of the picture. (For a complete list, visit ASPCA’s list of non-toxic and toxic plants.

Work (and learn!) from Home Warrior 
You don’t need to turn to technology to create a virtual backdrop for your video calls. The natural setting created by your yard’s trees, flowers, bushes and other plants is your go-to video call background. Your kids aren’t doing in-person school? No problem. Your backyard or neighborhood park is a living laboratory for learning that supports outdoor learning, even when school isn’t in session. Your kids take online classes under the shade of a tree. Do homework at a patio or picnic table. Brush up on STEM education by planting and studying flowers, bug hunting, and weather watching.

Zen Master
Enjoying your morning coffee on the balcony as songbirds serenade you. Meditating under the shade of a tree. De-stressing by swinging in a backyard hammock. Taking a break from your busy day to feel the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair. Your backyard is your sacred space for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It’s the best “green spa” in town. You know that spending time outside is good for your health and well-being and that, thanks to your yard, these benefits are only steps away.

Setting the stage for backyarding. One final and important note to backyarders of all kinds. Creating a yard that supports all of the aspects of your family’s outdoor lifestyle means taking stock of what you might need to care for your lawn. Take an inventory of your outdoor power equipment to make sure you are prepared. Then, get out there and create your canvas for even more backyard memory-making.

To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.

Technology illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cityzenith Futuristic Sky Mapping

Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith predicts futuristic 3D sky mapping will launch low carbon city flight revolution

Science fiction fans can tick off one more prediction turned to reality as NASA aims to optimize local travel and commuting by air above cities.

A key enabler is Digital Twin technology, a ‘real-world SimCity’ software able to aggregate vast quantities of data on buildings, roads, infrastructure, vehicles, and even the space above into an interactive 3D virtual model of a city.

It is the potential to manage integrated drone and ‘new age’ air taxi routes in the air space that attracted a nationwide NASA search, leading Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith to be 1 of just 10 tech companies presenting to senior NASA officials at the prestigious ‘Ignite the Night: Aeronautics’* NASA iTech virtual event on April 13, 2021.

NASA iTech identifies and searches for cutting-edge technologies being developed outside of NASA that solve problems on Earth, but also having the potential to address challenges facing exploration of the Moon and Mars. 

The high-profile panel of judges includes:

  • David VoracekCenter Chief Technologist, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

Julie Williams-ByrdDeputy Chief Technologist, NASA Langley Research Center NASA’s vision for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aims to help develop air transportation to safely move people and cargo between places previously not served or underserved by aviation – local, regional, intra-regional, and urban – using revolutionary new aircraft only now becoming possible.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Chicago-based Cityzenith, said: “This will be the second presentation to NASA by my company and its SmartWorldOS software platform within weeks, and we are very honored and excited to be the only Digital Twin company at this prestigious gathering.

“It highlights yet another application for Digital Twin technology and growing interest in flight above our cities, a dream dating back to the ground-breaking 1927 movie ‘Metropolis’ and many sci-fi classics since then, but now set to happen as we move to delivery by flying drones and then human travel by zero-carbon air vehicles using electric propulsion.

“It will open a whole new dimension to city life; no longer will high-rise living and working mean people must literally come down to earth to go elsewhere.

“But there is a real pressure to act, too: The World Economic Forum has reported that ground level delivery vehicles in the world’s 100 largest cities will increase 36% by 2030, carbon emissions from all urban delivery traffic will rise 32% and congestion will be up by 21%, adding 11 minutes to an average daily commute.

“NASA introduced the air taxi concept in 2001 and the race is now on to create the first viable electric machines in a market tipped to grow 26.2% annually to $6.63 billion by 2030**.

“This new air mobility can also significantly reduce greenhouse gases in cities, a goal of our Clean Cities – Clean Future mission to drive down urban carbon emissions. Cities produce more than 70% of global carbon emissions (source: UN) and that’s why we pledged to donate SmartWorldOS to key cities around the world, one at a time, to help the most polluted become carbon neutral.

“We are also expanding to meet demand for our Digital Twin capability as the post-COVID-19 ‘Build Back better’ initiative grows; we have just passed a $2.5 million milestone en route to a $10 million Regulation A+ crowdfunding investment raise.”

Provided by:

World Digital Foundation

Allied Market Research

Room Makeover illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Spruce Up Your Space

By: Carly Cohen × Vaughn Lowery

It’s time to spruce up your space. Giving your home a makeover is all about being resourceful and strategic. Let’s take a look at a handful of makeover tips to get you pointed in the right direction. We’ve listed the top efficient tips to give your space the ultimate makeover!

Get Organized

Being organized is key to having a well-put-together space. Waking up every morning and before going to bed every night, look around and pick up anything or everything that isn’t where it is supposed to be and put it in its designated spot. Purchasing storage organizers and matching bins are an easy and effective way to keep the space clean. There are so many shops with affordable and aesthetically pleasing organizers such as Marshalls, HomeGoods, Target, Amazon, and any home stores that they can think of. Designate a time out of the day to a particular spot in the space and focus on that space until it looks brand new. Once it reaches that clean and organized look, all that needs to be done is make it a habit to keep it that way.

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Some clothes haven’t been worn in 3 years, or a kitchen filled with appliances that will never be needed or will never be used can be hard to get rid of sometimes. But please do get rid of it. Make a rule to his or herself while decluttering: “if I haven’t touched it in a few years, I need to get rid of it.” Getting rid of unnecessary products or appliances can help space feel ten times better. Getting rid of things can be challenging for some people, but once it is accomplished, they won’t look back. It will be refreshing to look around the space and only see things that are constantly needed and used and not having to worry about excess items.

Figure Out Your Style

There is no need to rush the process when changing the home or moving into a new space. It’s exciting, so sometimes people buy the first items they see without thinking about it for a little bit. It’s key to figure out his or her style because when they are surrounded by things that make them calm, happy, excited, the energy will radiate off of the environment they are in. If they love color and bright settings, but the place is dark and grey, they will feel that energy without realizing it. If they feel calmer in a spa-like environment with whites and plants, but the home is dark wood and blacks, the same thing happens, it will radiate the energy they are surrounded by. This is why it is so essential figuring out what spaces that give that calm and happy feeling. There are budget-friendly and not-so-budget-friendly ways to provide him or her what they are looking for. Either way, it is possible and crucial if this is the place where they go to bed at night and wake up in the morning.

Accessories

Accessorizing is the best part of updating a space. Accessorizing can be so fun and customizable. A popular way of accessorizing is candles and plants. There are so many candles out there that are incredible decorations and smell amazing, and who wouldn’t want their house to smell amazing? Places to look at for unique and lasting candles could be Anthropology, Nest, Le Labo Santal, and Chester Candle Company. Having plants (real or fake) bring in calming nature and awakens space. If they are into the music, they can create a section for the records and wall art of favorite artists. If they are into statement pieces of art, they can purchase beautiful pieces from the Pastel Paradise line through Desenio. If they are into fashion, they can purchase a clothing rack and place favorite pieces on display. If they love to host, make a bar cart and decorate it with sleek bottles and vintage glass wear. There are so many unique ways to accessorize to his or her liking.

Make it luxury without breaking the bank

Celebrities always have the most unique, modern, and fascinating homes, but it can be costly to get them how they are. There are so many other ways to make the space look luxurious without spending too much. Going neutral and accessorizing with exciting and unique things is key. Making the walls, light fixtures, and furniture neutral and simple can allow them to have so much fun in other ways. They can add texture and patterns to spice it up.

Make those ceilings tall

A lot of homes and apartments have shorter ceilings which can make space feel smaller. When it comes to windows, a trick to know hang the drapes close to the wall rather than directly above the window. Doing this creates an illusion that the window is taller than it is.

Bring in sunlight

Whenever I get the chance, I open up my shades every morning and open a window to let the sunshine in and listen to the outdoor sounds. This makes my space feel so calming and always makes me feel better to breathe in some fresh air every day without going outside. Even on a rainy day, listening to the rain as background noise while sitting at home is always fantastic. This is a great and extremely easy trick that everyone can manage.

Make the space perfect with:

Nairy Baghramian, "Jumbled Alphabet" shot by Nick Ash, Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, for 360 Magazine

NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN – MISFITS

FURLA SERIES #03
NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN. Misfits
Curated by Bruna Roccasalva

Promoted by Fondazione Furla and GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan

GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan
NEW DATES: May 26 – September 26, 2021

From May 26 to September 26, 2021, Fondazione Furla and GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, will present Misfits, the first solo exhibition in an Italian institution by Nairy Baghramian, curated by Bruna Roccasalva.

Part of the Furla Series program, Misfits is a project conceived specifically for the GAM spaces that explores some key themes of the artist’s research: from her interest in intervening in spaces that mark a boundary to the relationship between the artwork and its institutional context.

Misfits began with the specific urban setting of the GAM, that is, a garden open to adults only when accompanied by children. A series of large-scale sculptures will inhabit both the museum’s interior and exterior spaces, combining the idea of play with a reflection on the aesthetic experience of inadequacy and imperfection.

Furla Series #03 – Nairy Baghramian. Misfits is the outgrowth of a partnership between Fondazione Furla and GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, with the generous contribution of Fondazione Henraux for the production of the works in marble.

PornHub Insights x Among Us

When originally released in 2018 by InnerSloth, the game ‘Among Us’ was not known by many people. However, this year the online game is now trending. ‘Among Us’ is a multiplayer internet game that uses internet or local wifi to connect you with users to “attempt to hold your spaceship together and return back to civilization” the InnerSloth’s website describes. 

PornHub Insights started noticing that within the last 30 days there have been 4.7 million searches for ‘Among Us.’ The game garnered mainstream recognition when well known Twitch Streamers and YouTubers began playing it. 

Kotaku reached out to PornHub so see if searches were being increased on their website as well. After reviewing their insights, they noticed that searches containing ‘Among Us’ became regular around the start of September and reached n September 16th, with nearly 700,000 searches in a single day.

With average daily searches of 115,000, ‘Among Us’ currently rivals Pornhub’s most searched games such as Fortnite.

It seems the public’s interests in online gaming has been reinvigorated since the start of COVID-19 and scouring the internet for articles for ideas to pass time seemed to be a top priority. 

The 360 MAGAZINE wrote an article recently, describing ways to not let boredom overcome you this fall. It references how playing online games is a way to pass the time, but the fall can bring on other new opportunities such as baking cookies or honing a new skill. 

While some are taking time to perfect skills, its no secret that online traffic and gaming has been increased. Some are going back to childhood games such as Club Penguin and ToonTown while others are exploring new games such as the ones InnerSloth are releasing. 

InnerSloth currently hosts three online gaming platforms all with different themes to peak the consumers interest.

Challenger: The Final Flight

By Cassandra Yany

On Wednesday, Netflix released “Challenger: The Final Flight,” a four-episode docuseries about the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The doc was directed by Daniel Junge and Steven Leckart, and executive produced by JJ Abrams and Glenn Zipper. It provides a complete look at the events leading up to the takeoff and includes interviews with family members of the seven astronauts who died in the explosion.

According to CNN, the series uses archival footage and home videos, along with interviews from officials and crew members to shed light on the poor decision-making and systemic failures that led up to the disaster, as well as the aftermath that followed.

Challenger took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on January 28, 1986. Just 73 seconds after it launched, the shuttle began breaking apart, due to malfunctioning O-rings in the rocket boosters, which hardened as the temperature decreased. NASA had reportedly known about this damaged hardware for months prior, according to Vanity Fair.

The purpose of mission STS-51-L was to deploy a satellite to study the approaching Halley’s Comet, but it had been delayed multiple times because of technical difficulties.

The crew was one of NASA’s most diverse to date, as reported by the New York Post. One of the astronauts was a teacher, so school children across the country watched in class as the shuttle went down, engulfed by a huge, ominous cloud of smoke. The explosion devastated the nation, especially all of the young children who had watched it live.

Nearly thirty-five years later, we remember the passengers who lost their lives on that dreadful day:

Christa McAuliffe

Christa McAuliffe was a teacher at Concord High School in New Hampshire who learned of the Teacher in Space Project— NASA’s plan to fly an educator into space. NASA had hoped that this would help increase public interest in the space shuttle program. 

Along with 11,000 others, McAuliffe applied in 1984 to be the first teacher to communicate with students from space. She was chosen as one of two finalists from New Hampshire, then was selected to be part of the STS-51-L crew by a Review Panel in Washington, D.C.

McAuliffe took a year off from teaching to train for the space shuttle mission. While in orbit, she was planning to conduct experiments in chromatography, hydroponics, magnetism and Newton’s laws. She also would have taught two 15-minute classes— one providing a tour of the spacecraft, the other about the benefits of space travel— which would have been broadcasted to students on closed-circuit TV. 

The nationwide excitement of having McAuliffe in space was a significant reason why the explosion had such a lasting impact on the country, and was especially upsetting for young students who watched the takeoff or extensive coverage in class. 

Gregory Jarvis

Gregory Jarvis was an engineer for Hughes Aircraft who served as Payload Specialist 2 on Challenger. In 1984, he was one of two employees from the company that were selected for the Space Shuttle program. 

Jarvis was originally supposed to make his shuttle flight in April 1985, but was rescheduled to early January 1986, then rescheduled again, landing him a spot on the STS-51-L crew. From space, he planned to conduct experiments on the effects of weightlessness on fluids. 

Dick Scobee

Dick Scobee earned his pilot wings in 1966 and served as a combat aviator in the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.

After the war, Scobee graduated from the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School and became an Air Force test pilot. He was the commander on Challenger and died a lieutenant colonel.

Judith Resnik

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Judith Resnik worked as a design engineer in missile and radar projects at RCA (Radio Corporation of America). There, she performed circuit design for the missile and surface radar division. She later developed electronics and software for NASA’s sounding rocket and telemetry systems programs. 

Resnik qualified as a professional aircraft pilot in 1977 and was recruited into the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1978. She was one of six women selected for the program out of 8,000 applicants. At NASA, and piloted the Northrop T-38 Talon, trained intensely, conducted research, and developed different systems and software. 

Resnik served as a mission specialist on the maiden voyage of Discovery in 1984 for her first space flight from August to September. During this flight, she operated a shuttle’s robotic arm (which she created), and deployed and conducted experiments on a solar array wing to determine if there was a way to generate additional electric power during missions. She was the second American woman in space and the first Jewish woman in space. 

Resnik was a mission specialist on Challenger. After the explosion, further examination of the cockpit shows that her Personal Egress Air Pack was activated, indicating that she may have been alive after the cockpit separated from the vehicle to activate it. Her body was the first to be recovered from the crash by Navy divers. 

Ellison Onizuka

Ellison Onizuka served as a flight test engineer and test pilot for the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970s. After attending the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School from 1974 to 1975, he became a squadron flight test engineer there and worked as a manager for engineering support in the training resources division. 

In 1978, Onizuka was selected for the astronaut program and later worked in the experimentation team, orbiter test team, and launch support screw for the STS-1 and STS-2. At NASA he also worked on the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory test and revision software team. 

Onizzuka’s first space mission was one year before the Challenger explosion, on the mission STS-51-C on the shuttle Discovery. This was the first space shuttle mission for the Department of Defense, and he became the first Asian American to reach space. 

Onizuka was a mission specialist aboard Challenger. Similar to Resnik, it is speculated that he could have been alive when the cockpit separated from the vehicle because his Personal Egress Air Pack was also activated. When he died, he held the position of lieutenant colonel, but was later promoted to the rank of colonel. 

Ronald McNair

Ronald McNair received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and became nationally recognized for his work in laser physics. After graduation, he worked as a staff physicist at the Hugh Research Lab in Malibu, CA. 

McNair was one of the ten thousand applicants to be selected in 1978 for the NASA astronaut program. He became the second African American astronaut in 1984 when he flew as a mission specialist for STS-41-B on Challenger from Feb. 3-11. 

McNair later served as a mission specialist for STS-51-L. During this flight, he had planned to record the saxophone solo for a song he had worked on with composer Jean-Michel Jarre for his upcoming album Rendez-Vous. This would have been the first original piece of music to be recorded in space. 

McNair was also supposed to participate in Jarre’s Rendez-Vous Houston concert through a live feed from Challenger. To honor McNair, Jarre dedicated the last song on the album to him and subtitled it “Ron’s Piece.”

Michael J. Smith

Michael J. Smith served in the Vietnam War, then attended U.S. naval Test Pilot School. After graduation, he was assigned to the Strike Aircraft Test Directorate at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, where he worked on the A-6E TRAM and Cruise missile guidance systems. In 1976, later returned to NTPS for 18 months as an instructor. 

Smith was selected for the astronaut program in May 1980, in which he served as a commander in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, the Deputy Chief of Aircraft Operations, the Technical Assistant to the Director, and the Flights Operations Directorate. 

Smith was the pilot for Challenger, and was set to pilot another mission the following fall. His voice was the last heard on the flight deck tape recorder with his final words being “Uh oh.”

All seven passengers were awarded with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004.

The Avalanches × The International Space Orchestra

Today, The Avalanches and The International Space Orchestra (ISO) come together to share their collaborative music video for the Australian alt-rock/electronica pioneers’ new track, “Wherever You Go” ft. Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry and CLYPSO. The video, filmed live during lockdown, is a meteorite shower of space science, planet-poking and harp-playing spacecraft operators coming together with The Avalanches’ Robbie Chater and Tony DiBlasi in the most cosmic collaboration imaginable. The clip, which marks the first time The Avalanches have appeared in a music video, can be viewed here.

Robbie Chater and Tony DiBlasi of The Avalanches say “We are forever grateful to Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian and The International Space Orchestra for a truly magical, inspiring and connective experience. During a hard lockdown, it has renewed our faith in music, humanity and the power of connection, science and love.”

“We have so much respect for all those at NASA and SETI Institute and the work they do pushing the boundaries of human exploration, in trying to find the answers to the universe, and who and what lay beyond our neighborhood.”

As part of a musical collaboration, The Avalanches also worked on developing a sonification of the Arecibo message created by SETI Institute co-founder Frank Drake, who shared the original message with the band.

“We would also like to thank Dr. Frank Marchis and Dr. Frank Drake for all their help in deciphering the Arecibo message for inclusion on our upcoming project. It’s the first time this message has been translated into music,” added Chater and DiBlasi.

Created in 2012, ISO is directed by SETI Institute Designer of Experiences Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian along with musical director Evan Price. Under Ben Hayoun-Stépanian’s leadership, ISO has performed sold-out shows on some of California’s most prestigious stages, including San Francisco Symphony Hall, The Fillmore and the Hollywood Bowl with world-renowned, Grammy award-winning artists such as Bobby Womack, Damon Albarn, Beck, Sigur Rós, Maywa Denki and Savages.

Of the collaboration, Ben Hayoun-Stépanian says, “The Avalanches have been working on a space inspired album for a few years now. Researching sounds coming from space, they came across the brilliant work developed by our scientists at the SETI Institute and by the International Space Orchestra. Very quickly, it became apparent that our musical collaboration should focus on further inspiring new perspectives and desires to understand the universe. In the current context we could not make our performance happen in real life, but we decided to make it happen regardless and this performance is the result of our online meetups. We hope that our performance will allow for further curiosity and interest to research further galaxies and extraterrestrial intelligence and life. Working with The Avalanches has been our greatest honour, one of the most cosmic experiences we have encountered. Robbie and Tony are truly inspiring, kind, caring and just too brilliantly talented. Thank you to them for having us at the International Space Orchestra and the SETI Institute a part of their outer-space musical journey.”

Released in July 2020 by Astralwerks, “Wherever You Go” ft. Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry and CLYPSO is an epic track that begins with greetings from planet Earth, sampled from The Voyager Golden Record, a gold-plated copper disk launched into space by Voyager 1 and 2 in 1977. The New York Times said,  “The track moves from buzzy, beeping, tinkling abstraction to a thumping dance floor,” while PASTE Magazine hailed “Wherever You Go” as one of the “Best Songs Of The Week.”

FOLLOW THE AVALANCHES: Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

FOLLOW THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE ORCHESTRA: Website

FOLLOW THE SETI INSTITUTE: Website | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter

FOLLOW NELLY BEN HAYOUN-STÉPANIAN: Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter

Mars illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

NASA Webinar 

By Andrew de Naray, Multimedia Content Writer & Editor, Space Foundation

Seventh grader Alex Mather, who won the contest to name NASA’s new Mars rover on March 5, could not have had any idea how truly appropriate his submission of the name Perseverance would come to be. Yet, true to that name, and despite COVID-19-related setbacks to NASA and affiliated teams, the scheduled launch of the rover has stayed on track, currently slated for July 30.

On July 20, in the second episode of its new webinar series, “Space Foundation Presents,” Space Foundation hosted an exclusive conversation with NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) leadership to discuss America’s next mission to Mars.

The hour-long discussion, “Roving the Red Planet: Perseverance, Ingenuity, and the Next Generation of Explorers,” featured a distinguished panel including: the Honorable Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator; Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate; Dr. Michael M. Watkins, Director of NASA JPL; and MiMi Aung, Project Manager at NASA JPL.

Opening comments by Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor, contrasted the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing that had occurred 51 years to the day before, with the fact that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, and the U.S. have all recently launched Mars probes. “While this is a source of great national pride for each of these nations, globally we can celebrate what we can learn and achieve when we invest in people, curiosity, and the pursuit of bold, challenging frontiers,” he said. “At no other time in our history have we seen anything like what is unfolding with these three unique missions to Mars. Each of them is a science and engineering marvel.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine started off by citing his long relationship with the Space Foundation and its, “great scholarly work and studies, and the great committees put together with regard to space,” before passing the virtual podium to Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. Zurbuchen started by congratulating the UAE for the successful launch of their Hope orbiter, saying that, “Together, Hope and Perseverance are essential ingredients of exploration.”

Moving on to Perseverance, Zurbuchen said, “Next week, the United States returns to Mars. It’s the next step in putting together a puzzle we’ve been working on for centuries.” After a brief recap of past Mars missions, he set apart Perseverance by its impressive capabilities that will provide essential research into whether Mars has the elements required to sustain human life. Perseverance — the ninth U.S. mission to Mars and the fifth rover to land there — he described as, “the most capable robotic scientist ever sent to the surface of another planet.” He touted the rover’s capability to detect, collect, and return Martian samples to Earth so researchers can better understand the weather and atmosphere on the planet.

Zurbuchen said that the rover would be the first to bring “all human senses” to Mars, with a suite of tools to analyze the weather, determine if the atmosphere contains elements that can be converted into breathable air, probes to access ice beneath the surface, various cameras to provide never-before-seen images, and microphones to hear sounds from the Red Planet for the very first time.

Among those components, and perhaps most eagerly anticipated is the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, providing “powered flight on another planet for the first time.” He also mentioned how this mission unites and sustains international space agency relations, saying, “Perseverance carries the goodwill of the entire space community… It reinforces NASA’s commitment to working with our international partners to accomplish stunning achievements in science, technology, and exploration. So, when Perseverance launches — it takes us all. Every one of us will have a chance to learn from and be inspired by this mission.”

The next guest in the webinar was Dr. Michael M. Watkins, Director of NASA JPL, who starting by expressing how proud he was of the 1,000-plus team members who built and will operate the rover. He explained that COVID-19 struck at possibly the most critical juncture of the project and heralded the perseverance of the United Launch Alliance (ULA), JPL, and NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) teams through pandemic lockdowns.

Watkins shared that the rover would land in February 2021, and that the teams had done exhaustive analysis of data from previous probes to pinpoint the Jezero Crater as being the best location to base the rover, given it had the greatest likelihood of containing biosignatures indicative of past habitability and prior life on the planet.

“Really, this mission, we’re out there trying to find something we’ve never found before on another planet, and then we’re trying to capture it, and isolate it, and bring those samples back to take a close look at them,” he said. Watkins added further that some of Perseverance’s tasks will be “technical demonstration experiments” designed to push the limits of current technology and test capabilities that can be implemented for future missions.

The conversation then moved to MiMi Aung, Project Manager at NASA JPL, who described the Mars Ingenuity helicopter component of the rover as a “Wright Brothers moment,” as it will be the first aircraft to be flown on another planet. Although one might think that helicopters would be relatively simple aircraft to NASA scientists, it turns out building one light enough (under 2 kilograms) and propelled fast enough to take flight in Mars’ thin atmosphere (about 1% that of Earth) was no simple task.

Aung described how the helicopter was tested in a simulated Martian environment, but added that the true test now awaits its deployment. She expounded on the high risk/high reward first-time nature of many of the rover’s functions, adding how their experiences operating these functions in situ, “will be feeding into future, much more capable, rotorcraft that we envision, and really add that aerial dimension to space exploration.”

Returning to the topic of the Red Planet itself, NASA Administrator Bridenstine explained that two-thirds of the northern hemisphere of Mars had historically been covered with water, and that the planet once had a thick atmosphere protecting it from the radiation of space. With those characteristics, the planet may have been previously habitable — if not necessarily inhabited — and it makes a case as to why signs of ancient life are likely to be discovered.

Bridenstine said, “the probability of finding life on another world just went up again,” and continued to describe the Jezero Crater as an area believed to contain liquid water 12 kilometers beneath the surface, of which the rover will be able to cache samples. “All of these robotic precursor missions are leading to something that I think is even more magnificent —and that is, to a day when we plant an American flag on Mars,” he said.

In the question-and-answer session that followed, an audience member asked the panel why there was a need to return to Mars with another probe, in addition to those we already have there. Zurbuchen framed that as being part of the effort to accelerate crewed missions to the planet — that much of it has to do with needing samples to be returned to Earth sooner than possible with the existing rovers. “The questions that we want to address now, are really so much different than the ones that 20 years ago we might have asked,” he said in reference to the existing rovers.

Bridenstine added that the surface area of Mars is equivalent to that of Earth (minus our oceans) and that the characteristics and potential resources of the entire planet cannot be determined based on data gathered in a single area of it.

As it turns out, 2020 is the year of perseverance in more ways than any of us could have imagined at the outset. Reflecting on why, beyond atmospheric launch windows, it was important to keep the mission on track, and how it will be internationally inspiring amid a global pandemic and geopolitical strife, Bridenstine explained, “Space exploration brings people together in a way that I think is inspirational in and of itself… I do believe, without question, we need to persevere in these challenging times.”

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the world’s premier organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, connecting, and advocating on behalf of the global space community. Through its newly established Center for Innovation and Education, Space Foundation partners with a diverse spectrum of public and private sector partners and donors to drive workforce development and economic opportunity so every generation can find their place in the space economy. Best known for its annual Space Symposium, attended by 15,000 space professionals from around the world, Space Foundation also publishes The Space Report, its quarterly authoritative guide to research and analysis of the space industry, and through its Space Certification™ and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, Space Foundation recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. At Space Foundation’s Discovery Center an array of dynamic on-site and online space-inspired educational programming is available for teachers, parents, students, and to the general public to prepare them for their own space futures. 

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J Balvin Celebrates Guess Vibras Collection

On Friday, February 8th, celebrities, musicians, social influencers and special guests came together to raise a glass and celebrate ‘GUESS Vibras,’ an exclusive collection designed by global music superstar, J Balvin.

The launch party took place at a massive warehouse in Hollywood ahead of J Balvin’s appearance in the opening segment of Sunday’s Grammy Awards broadcast, where he is also nominated for “Record of the Year” for his collaboration on Cardi B’s “I Like it”. To bring the collection’s vibrant Miami inspirations to life, the space was infused with bright, colorful moments to also reflect his mantra for the the capsule, “nice energy, nice vibras, just smile and that’s what we need, all love.”

Guests enjoyed upbeat party vibes as they were able to dance, visit a custom snow cone station or play ice hockey and basketball shot ball while sipping signature Buchanan’s whisky cocktails. Guests in attendance were also the first to get a sneak peek of J Balvin’s new unreleased Buchanan’s DeLuxe x J Balvin Limited Edition Design bottle inspired by his culture and the good vibras around him.

The 42-piece ‘GUESS Vibras’ collection, which is inspired by Balvin’s chart-topping “VIBRAS” album, includes a selection of ready-to-wear and accessories for both men and women.  Balvin’s personal style and colorful, risk-taking aesthetic is infused within each piece. His hands-on design input makes this collaboration for GUESS another standout, bringing with it global appeal.

Notable guests included: J Balvin, Becky G, Diplo, Ty Dolla $ign, James Kennedy, Raquel Leviss, Nicolai Marciano, Torey Lanez, Amanda Steele, Zion, Jules Goddard, Jesse Baez, Sebastian Lleget, Khalil, Manuela Fernandez, Tainy, Sofia Jamora, Xian Mikol, Amanda Cerny, Scottie Pippen, Kelvin Pena and Nathalie Paris.

Land Rover Provides Behind the Scenes Look into Galactic Flight

Land Rover have revealed a special ‘behind the scenes’ peek into
Virgin Galactic’s operation, following its historic flight into space last week.
The space line travelled 51.4 miles above Earth, a feat it wouldn’t have achieved
without undergoing thorough testing and preparation over the last few months. Land
Rover have been a relied-upon figure in the operational process for Virgin Galactic,
with Land Rover’s fleet of vehicles becoming a part of daily life for the space team.
The partnership between Land Rover and Virgin Galactic was for formed back in 2014,
with both sharing visions of pioneering spirit, technological innovation and sense of
adventure. The togetherness illustrates the commitment that both brands share to
iconic design and engineering excellence, and a desire to push the boundaries of travel
for the next generation.

Check out the link below http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zsTXsXCJRM