'First to the Moon'
A new documentary that looks back at Apollo 8, the first mission to fly astronauts to the moon aims to be out by the flight's golden anniversary this December. To do so, director Paul Hildebrandt is looking to crowdfund the production expenses for his film, "First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8," which when complete will feature restored archival footage and interviews with Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders.
LEGO Moments in Space
: LEGO launched a design contest on Monday (Jan. 15) to find ideas for a space-themed promotional set to be a "gift with purchase" in 2019. The LEGO "Moments in Space" contest is open through Feb. 9 and seeks small to mid-size space models that can be "as sci-fi or realistic as you wish." The winning idea may be adapted for distribution at LEGO shops and Legoland.
'One Strange Rock'
: "I am going to tell you about the most incredible place — and you know what? You're walking on it." Will Smith hosts "One Strange Rock," a new series that looks at Earth from the unique perspective of astronauts who spent time onboard the International Space Station. The ten-part documentary, from filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, premieres March 26 on National Geographic.
SpaceX pulls patch
: SpaceX on Friday (Jan 12) pulled its Zuma mission patches from gift shop and online sales, amid reports that the secret satellite had been lost. After clarifying that its Falcon 9 rocket had done "everything correctly," the company reportedly recalled the emblems in "consideration for its customer," the U.S. government. Prior to Friday, SpaceX had only withheld its patches from sale if the mission the insignia represented was not a success.
Team Rocket or Groot?
Move over Thanos, the Guardians of the Galaxy are taking on a new challenge: space station science. Groot and Rocket are the inspiration for two teams of research opportunities in the Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge, a contest for students presented by Marvel and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. Two of the technology or plant growth investigations will be performed on the space station.
: Astronauts who flew into space with John Young and others who he inspired are sharing memories of their colleague and hero who died on Friday (Jan. 5) at 87. More than 30 space explorers took to social media to pay tribute to the late Apollo moonwalker. Bob Crippen, who flew with Young on the first space shuttle mission, said Young's memory will live on if remembered in the hearts of those who associated with the space program.
: Imagine trying to use Siri or another digital assistant to recognize speech amid random interruptions from 35 people in different locations, often speaking with Texas accents. That is just one of the technological challenges researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas faced when digitizing and transcribing NASA's Apollo audio to make the moon mission archives publicly accessible.
NASA 60th anniversary
: NASA debuted the official logo to mark its 60th anniversary year on Wednesday (Jan. 3). Created by Matthew Skeins, a NASA artist, the logo depicts "how NASA is building on its historic past to soar toward a challenging and inspiring future." The art features "60" and "NASA" in bold and tall type above Earth with the United States visible at night. Two vectors form the number "6" while representing NASA's aviation and space efforts.
Campaign for more space
: The Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma is fundraising to expand its facility, kicking off its 25th year. Named after astronaut Thomas Stafford, the museum's Legacy Campaign is seeking an initial $3 million to provide for more exhibit and event space, a restoration area and the commissioning of a full-scale replica of the Apollo 10 lunar module "Snoopy."
: Launching Monday (Jan. 1), American Girl's new doll and 2018 Girl of the Year is Luciana Vega, a Space Camp trainee who dreams of being the first person to fly to Mars. The 18-inch doll comes packaged with a nebula-patterned dress and has accessories that include a Space Camp flight suit, a NASA-inspired spacesuit and a Mars Habitat playset. The Luciana Vega doll was designed with the advice of NASA and Space Camp.
EM-1 mission patch
: The maiden launch of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket and the first flight of the Orion crew spacecraft to the vicinity of the moon (albeit, without a crew) now has a mission logo. The Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) patch depicts the SLS launch from Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, set against a red and blue vector-wrapped face of the moon.
When We Were Apollo
: A new crowdfunded film will focus on the crowd behind the moon landings. "When We Were Apollo" from Zack Weil of Contact Light Films aims to highlight the 400,000 workers who made the missions possible. Funded on Kickstarter, "When We Were Apollo" is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
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