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NASA Is Not Dead!

The word I want to spread is: NASA is not dead. It’s nowhere near dead. Just because the Shuttle program ended, NASA did not die, contrary to some’s beliefs! Since SpaceX joined the space party, there are regular rocket launches. And lots of excitement at Kennedy Space Center.

That place (the “undead” NASA) is alive and hopping with futuristic ideas, ingenious experiments, scientific data, with tricked-out test tubes, 3-D printers, and all kinds of experiments. And all led by uber, UBER intelligent engineers, scientists, physicists, rocket scientists, communications experts, program directors, thinkers, doers, the “imagineers.” That’s my type of people: living outside the box. And in their case, space!

How exciting is this place? I’ll tell you: my experience there as a NASASocial (aka “socialite”) ranks in the top three. And I live quite an exciting life – I have been all over the world – seen all kinds of wonderful things. I’m just saying that out of everything in my life, this was in the top three. What excited me? The people. Their ideas. The possibilities! Imagine printing a tool, a 3-D real tool, on demand, in space. How AWESOME is that?!?

I was one of 35 selected participants for the NASASocial held at Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX4 Dragon launch February 18-20. Many of my hubby’s friends said to him, “Why isn’t that you?” My dear hubby is quite the space fanatic, I’m only a space junkie. He’s actually built a telescope. Out of wood. And a fully-functioning remote-controlled R2D2. … but back to the story … he explained that I wasn’t just picked at random like a lottery. I had to prove that I am active in social media, that I know how to write, and I’ll be able to reach an audience. This blog was probably the top reason I was picked: it shows that I can write and that I’m a photographer, too! Anyway, even though we all were selected for our communications talents, we were all extremely lucky and blessed to participate in such a mind-blowing, knee-slapping, jaw-dropping, most awesome-ever experience!

After we all gathered in the Press Annex, a portable building right next to CBS and Reuters, we were quickly rushed to the NASA TV broadcasting room, where we attended a series of informational panel sessions – all with the head honchos of NASA and all of the program directors, top scientists, and engineers for the various experiments that were being launched on the Dragon. 3-D printers, mice, fruit flies, plating experiments, RapidScat, oh my! I? Was absolutely enthralled. This is the type of work I initially wanted to do (reporting)! We NASA “socialites” were treated just like the media, some of us asked questions, there was a lot of camera clicking and tweeting going on in that room.

So instead of telling you about everything at once (and thus making this a novel), I’ll spread out the information and photos. And I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. (You can always read the captions, too.) :D

 

What Is It?!?

2014_09_19_9999_424

Just a fun photo I captured while touring Kennedy Space Center. I figured I owed all of you at least one more “what is it?!?” mystery picture, this might be easy, but it was oh-so-fun to photograph!

Macro Monday | 09-29-14

gecko

It’s one of our resident geckos, which normally only roam around at night here at Casa Cassidy. But this one was nice enough to let me snap a few shots before crawling through the vinyl siding. Wish I had hiding places like that!

To see other Macro Monday interpretations, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

When we visited New Orleans for a week, our last night we went on a ghost tour. The night was perfect –  a full moon, cloudy sky, wind blowing, just the right combination. All of the buildings looked spooky at night, in particular, the house with the green and purple lights. I thought these pictures are perfect for this week’s Daily Post photo challenge.

To see other interpretations of Nighttime, check out the photo challenge here.

Tricked Out Test Tube

Sheila Nielsen-Preiss, Principal Investigator for NASA’s Space Biology Project at Ames, holds her “tricked-out test tube” for the Micro-8 experiment to be held on the International Space Station. Sheila talked about how the experiments will investigate how spaceflight affects potentially infectious organisms during a NASA TV broadcast on September 19th at Kennedy Space Center. (That lucky me got to attend!) The yeast strain, Candida albicans (C. albicans), was launched on SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship on September 21, 2014. Looking on is Ames scientist Sharmila Bhattacharya, who works with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Sharmila is an investigator/scientist for Heart Effect Analysis Research Team conducting FLy Investigations and Experiments in Spaceflight (HEART FLIES). This is the first experiment to use the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study the effects of spaceflight on the structure and function of the heart. To read more about these fascinating experiments, read NASA’s article here.

The fruit flies and yeast strains have since been delivered to the International Space Station, along with a 3-D printer, and mice, among other experiments and supplies weighing 2.5 tons!

During their flight, the mice and flies developed multiple funny personas on Twitter, @astrofruitflies and @astromicerule, which both continue to make hilarious posts. Considering they brought in the Big Bang Theory TV show to the discussion, how could you not love these astro mice and fruit flies?!?

I made all of my posts during my trip to NASA during my #NASASocial event through Twitter. If you want to check out all of the fun, follow me on Twitter @whatisitpic. I had such a mind-blowing experience, I’m still in awe a week later. But I suppose that’s what happens when mind-blowing things are happening all around you!

Wordless Wednesday | 09-24-14

sky

Normally I’m a “good girl” and don’t post any words with my “Wordless Wednesday” images, but this time, I have to break the rules! (After all, rules are MEANT to be broken, right?) This image I took late Wednesday evening (09/17/14) after I had arrived in Titusville, Florida, for my #NASASocial event. This beautiful sunset provided a good omen for the next three days. Except for the scrubbed launch! I still kick myself for leaving!

Oh well, such is the nature of launching vehicles into space.

Space Chronicles: 3-D Printing in Space

During my visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as a social media representative (aka “socialite”), I learned so much information that my brain felt like it would burst! (Well, no wonder, I was just coming from my software release, where I spent way too many hours in front of my laptop, so technically, my brain was already mush.) But I had the best time of my life, this was an experience in the top three! I was certainly in my element, around a bunch of space junkies, communication geeks, photographers, designers, and writers, my kind of peeps.

We all got to participate in NASA TV broadcasts, where the engineers, scientists, program managers, directors, etc. talked about the various research experiments that would take place on the International Space Station once SpaceX’s Dragon was attached. Out of all the experiments, the 3-D printing caught my attention the most. (This is what has saved my hubby from setting up his 3-D printer on our dining room table, btw.) The ability to print parts in space on demand is just mind blowing! Even though 3-D printing has been tested on the “Vomit Comet” it needs to be tested in micro-gravity, which is ideal at the ISS, right? NASA partnered with a company, Made In Space, to build this particular 3-D printer. All of the little white pieces you see in the photos were parts printed with this printer. Just imagine, if we had this capability during the Apollo 13 spaceflight, what the astronauts could have made to resolve their issues! In the first photo, Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s 3D Printing in Zero-G Project Manager, gets ready for her talk with media and social media on NASA TV.

The VAB in Black and White

As part of the #NASASocial media group, we had a rare opportunity to see the inside of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA Kennedy Space Center. There was so much to see, so much detail, that I thought the b/w images suited the subject well.

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