I'll begin by telling you a little about National Astronaut Day. This observance celebrate astronauts as true heroes with a mission to inspire all to "reach for the stars." On may 5, 1962 Alan Shepard became the American in space aboard the Freedom Seven Space Capsule. His brief suborbital flight, which lasted only 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles (186.684 km) into the atmosphere, was a milestone achievement and thus the exploration of space in earnest. This example of heroic bravery and sense of adventure is what national Astronaut Day is all about. By sharing their incredible stories with us, they inspire each of us to follow our dreams and reach for new heights...whether it's in outer space or right here with both flippers (or feet) firmly planted on the ground. You can celebrate by learning more about the astronauts and their missions, visiting a space museum, and just by using #NationalAstronautDay on all your social media.
National Space Day is the first Friday in May annually. It's a day dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities in the exploration and use of space. The goal of this day is to promote math, science, engineering, and technology education for young people and to inspire them to pursue a career in science, especially ones in space-related jobs.
When you look up at the stars, what do you see? Do you wonder about life or do you like to ponder the vastness of of it all? Space has a way of putting things into perspective. So, in honor of Space Day, I thought it might be kind of fun to look at some "mind-blowing" facts about space. I have to admit, my knowledge of space isn't great and this was kind a nice "quickie" refresher course.
1. Neutron stars can spin at a rate of 600 rotations per second!
2. All of space (and there's a lot of it) is completely silent.
3. There is an uncountable number of starts in the known universe.
4. The Apollo Astronauts' footprints on the moon will probably stay there for at least 100 million years. (Talk about making a lasting impression!)
5. 99% of our solar system's mass is the sun.
6. More energy from the sun hits Earth every hour than the planet uses in a year.
7. If two pieces of the same type of metal touch in space, they will bond and be permanently stuck together. This phenomenon is called cold welding and happens because the atoms of the individual pieces of metal have no way of knowing that they are different pieces of metal so the lumps join together. This wouldn't happen on Earth because there is air and water separating the pieces. The effect has a lot of implication for spacecraft construction and the future of metal-based construction in vacuums.
8. The largest asteroid ever recorded is a mammoth piece of space rock named Ceres. The asteroid is almost 600 miles (965.606 km) in diameter. The surface area is approximately equal to the land area of India or Argentina! It's so big there there is actually a debate as to whether or not to refer to it as a dwarf planet instead of an asteroid, even though it has mostly asteroid-like qualities.
National Space Day was originally started by the Lockheed Martin Corporation as a one-day event. In 2001, due to its extreme popularity, former Astronaut and Senator John Glenn expanded Space Day. It has grown so fast in recent years, the day is now celebrated as International Space Day. How to celebrate? You might want to visit an observatory or planetarium. Your local library, too, is filled with books on the subject of space. And don't forget to use #NationalSpaceDay on your social media.
Have a great weekend everyone and I hope to see you all back here on Monday. Whatever your plans are, please just don't get "Lost in Space..."