50 Ways to Space Out

Looking for ways to celebrate a half century of spaceflight? Here’s fifty of ‘em.

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30 STREAM HISTORIC SPACE FILMS from the National Archives to your desktop for free, courtesy of Google Video: Orson Welles, and 1962’s The John Glenn Story. Or check out the Johnson Space Center’s compilation of 40 titles at Space Movies Cinema, jsc.nasa.gov/er/seh/movies.html, with titles from Mooncar Motoring to Woodpecker Attack on Shuttle.

31 VISIT MARS (or its beta test site, which compares Earth and Mars atmospheres) on the AtmosModeler Simulator at the Glenn Research Center, www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/BGH/atmosi.html. Calculate how Mars’ atmosphere would affect aerodynamics by inputting variables into the site’s calculator.

32 SEARCH NASA’S IMAGE EXCHANGE at nix.nasa.gov for any image, moving or still, from the past 50 years of space exploration, including the one above, of the Spirit Mars rover’s landing site. Go to NASA’s gallery of human spaceflight to look up audio or images from shuttle missions, International Space Station missions, and others at spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/.

33 HEAR PATTI LABELLE sing “Way Up There” through the downloadable audio and video file at LaBelle got a Grammy nomination, was written by Tena R. Clark for the seven astronauts who died in the space shuttle Columbia and was performed at the Washington, D.C. National Cathedral and at opening day 2003 for the Houston Astros.

34 LEARN THE ORIGINS of phrases like “It’s not rocket science.” A dozen language forums spar about that expression and many others at Web sites like Phrase Finder, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

35 TASTE ASTRONAUT FOOD developed by Pillsbury, shaped and textured to squeeze through a port on an astronaut’s helmet. Pillsbury later added flavors and spun the products off commercially, but the fad faded after the 1970s space station Skylab was decommissioned. Last fall, the Space Food Sticks Preservation Society revived the sticks in classic peanut butter or chocolate; the society sells them for $34.95 for a case of 24 sticks. Go to spacefoodsticks.com.

36 SALUTE NEIL at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio—the first moonwalker’s hometown. The museum presents not only Armstrong’s story but all of Ohio’s participation in spaceflight as well. Call (800) 860-0142 or go to ohiohistory.org/places/armstron. That’s right; zero “G” in armstron.

37 READ SPACE POLITICS, the Space Age’s version of the Drudge Report, because “sometimes the most important orbit is the Beltway.” Visit spacepolitics.com.

38 JOIN THE CUBESAT PROJECT, an international collaboration among schools and private companies developing picosatellites (miniature satellites), which carry scientific, private, and government payloads. Build your own picosatellite with the CubeSat kit. Find plans at Lockheed Martin Space Systems; katysat.org.

39 BUILD YOUR OWN SATELLITE with the Satellite Construction Set from the Tech Museum of Innovation, thetech.org/exhibits/online/satellite. Construct one of three kinds of satellites—direct and broadcast TV, remote sensing, or scientific research—then choose a power supply, communications set, mission payload, and thermal protection.

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