Science

Sally Ride Rocks

If you visit Google today, the awesome woman appearing on the Google Doodle is none other than the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

Check out a Google "Behind the Doodle" video, which mentions other cool facts about Sally, such as the fact that she was a competitive college tennis player!

Animator friend of the team Nate Swinehart, and doodler Olivia Huynh team up to give you an inside look at the doodle process for Sally Ride.

Also, make sure to check out Janelle Monae's homage to Sally.

Text becomes clearer when watched in HD. Track No. 17 of The Electric Lady Song: Sally Ride Artist: Janelle Monáe All Rights Are to the Original Owner. I do not own this song. Follow Janelle Monae on Twitter @JanelleMonae

White House Science Fair 2015

It was awesome.

Don't believe me?

Just watch.


Leonard Nimoy Influenced Us All

As Spock, Leonard Nimoy played a pivotal role on the original Star Trek series and movies. Star Trek painted a picture of diversity - different races, cultures, and species working together to make things right in the universe.  It served as a great example of the power of science fiction, especially as a young African American geek that struggled to see diversity in other forms of media that I love. 

Sci-fi author Cerece Rennie Murphy had a great point about the power of sci=fi on the latest Black Girl Nerds podcast:

 "It's all about what it means to truly be human, or to truly be a part of a community. What it means to stand alone and stand together. It's all this stuff that we are grappling with - cut straight to the chase. There may be aliens and space chases, but that's all window dressing. Science fiction is all about who you are, discovering you are, finding a way to be who you are in a world that's telling you to be something else.

That's something that we can all identify with. It can be hard to truly find yourself .Nimoy's characters always excels at displaying that struggle, whether as Spock or William Bell.

Even modern astronauts are influenced by this, especially given the international cooperation required in projects such as the International Space Station.

NASA Astronaut Mike Fincke and ESA European Space Agency Astronaut Luca Parmitano reflect on the inspiration that actor Leonard Nimoy's character Mr. Spock in the television series Star Trek had on scientists, engineers, space explorers and fans around the globe. For a high-resolution version: https://archive.org/details/150227LeonardNiimoy720p

Check out some other great images shared on Twitter to celebrate the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

Round and Round: Angular Momentum

The MinutePhysics video series does an amazing job of breaking down complex ideas and adding some awesome cartooning work to be learning fun.  In their latest video, they cover the concept of angular momentum.

As the video says, angular momentum describes the "oomph" of things traveling in circles, just like regular momentum describes the "oomph" of things traveling in a straight line.

By understanding the way that rotating things move, we can understand the motion of things as small as electrons in an atom, to much larger things such as our solar system around in galaxy.

Check it out!

Apollo 14 & The Future of Astronaut Diversity

 Image Credit: NASA.  In this photo, Alan Shepard stands by the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET)

Image Credit: NASA. In this photo, Alan Shepard stands by the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET)

44 years ago, the Apollo 14 mission landed on the surface of the moon. Captain Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr, Major Stuart Allen Roosa, and Commander Edgar Dean Mitchell helped reestablish confidence in our space program after the prior mission, Apollo 13, suffered an explosion on board and had to return to Earth.

This group of brave astronauts, like most from the early NASA days, were white men.  As our astronaut pool becomes more diverse, there is more of a chance for space missions to truly reflect the diversity of our population.

 Image Credit: NASA.  Pictured clockwise, starting from top L: Mae Jemison, Jeanette Epps, Yvonnne Cagle, Stephanie Wilson, and Joan Higginbotham.

Image Credit: NASA.  Pictured clockwise, starting from top L: Mae Jemison, Jeanette Epps, Yvonnne Cagle, Stephanie Wilson, and Joan Higginbotham.

I found a great profile of these women featured at a few sites - check them out! Some excerpts

  • Mae Jemison (retired) - served as a science mission specialist during her historic flight to become the first Black woman in space in 1992 (yes, almost 30 years after we started sending people in space).
  • Jeanette J. Epps, Ph.D. has experience as a technical intelligence officer in the CIA
  • Yvonne Cagle, M.D. has served as a flight surgeon and has helped to establish astronaut medical standards and procedures 
  • Stephanie D. Wilson served a the robotic "Canada" arm  operator, flight engineer, and space walking support for three different space shuttle missions
  • Joan Higginbotham (retired) - worked on the shuttle payload bay reconfiguration for all shuttle missions and conducted electrical compatibility tests for all payloads flown aboard the shuttle.

Imagine looking at a NASA photo in the future with these women walking on the surface of another planet or moon. It will happen, and it will be as inspirational as seeing an African American US president.  Diversity matters - let's make it happen!