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NASA Remembers Trailblazing Astronaut, Scientist Mary Cleave

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NASA Astronaut Mary L. Cleave. April 8, 1985
NASA

Retired NASA astronaut Mary Cleave, a veteran of two NASA spaceflights, died Nov. 27. She was 76. A scientist with training in civil and environmental engineering, as well as biological sciences and microbial ecology, Cleave was the first woman to serve as an associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Born in Southampton, New York, Cleave received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, in 1969, and Master of Science in microbial ecology and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering, both from Utah State University, Logan, in 1975 and 1979, respectively.

“I’m sad we’ve lost trail blazer Dr. Mary Cleave, shuttle astronaut, veteran of two spaceflights, and first woman to lead the Science Mission Directorate as associate administrator,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana. “Mary was a force of nature with a passion for science, exploration, and caring for our home planet. She will be missed.”

Cleave was selected as an astronaut in May 1980. Her technical assignments included flight software verification in the SAIL (Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory), spacecraft communicator on five space shuttle flights, and malfunctions procedures book and crew equipment design.

Cleave launched on her first mission, STS-61B, aboard space shuttle Atlantis on Nov. 26,1985. During the flight, the crew deployed communications satellites, conducted two six-hour spacewalks to demonstrate space station construction techniques, operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis experiment for McDonnell Douglas and a Getaway Special container for Telesat and tested the Orbiter Experiments Digital Autopilot.

Cleave’s second mission, STS-30, which also was on Atlantis, launched May 4, 1989. It was a four-day flight during which the crew successfully deployed the Magellan Venus exploration spacecraft, the first planetary probe to be deployed from a space shuttle. Magellan arrived at Venus in August 1990 and mapped more than 95% of the surface. In addition, the crew also worked on secondary payloads involving indium crystal growth, electrical storms, and Earth observation studies.

Cleave transferred from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland in May 1991. There, she worked in the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes as the project manager for SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing, Wide-Field-of-view-Sensor), an ocean color sensor which monitored vegetation globally.

In March 2000, she went to serve as deputy associate administrator for advanced planning in the Office of Earth Science at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington. From August 2005 to February 2007, Cleave was the associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate where she guided an array of research and scientific exploration programs for planet Earth, space weather, the solar system, and the universe. She also oversaw an assortment of grant-based research programs and a diverse constellation of spacecraft, from small, principal investigator-led missions to large flagship missions.

Cleave’s awards included: two NASA Space Flight medals; two NASA Exceptional Service medals; an American Astronautical Society Flight Achievement Award; a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal; and NASA Engineer of the Year.

Cleave retired from NASA in February 2007.

https://go.nasa.gov/3uDCykl

Source: NASA

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Unlocking the Next Frontier: Odysseus Lunar Lander’s Historic Mission

“Odysseus lunar lander aims to make history with first U.S. spacecraft touchdown on moon in 50 years. A testament to human ambition and innovation.”

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In the vast expanse of space, where dreams of exploration meet the harsh realities of technology and finance, Thursday marks a potential landmark moment in the annals of space exploration. The Odysseus lunar lander, a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, stands on the precipice of making history as it aims to achieve what no U.S.-made spacecraft has done in five decades: a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines-1 Lunar Landing (Official NASA Broadcast)

After a breathtaking lift-off from Florida, Odysseus embarked on its journey towards the moon, capturing awe-inspiring images of our planet Earth along the way. Now, as it hurtles closer to its destination, the anticipation mounts for what could be the most perilous test yet – a soft landing on the moon’s surface.

Intuitive Machines, the pioneering force behind Odysseus, dares to tread where no private company has ventured before. If successful, this endeavor would mark the resurgence of American-made spacecraft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

However, the road to lunar exploration is fraught with challenges, both technical and financial. While the Apollo program once commanded a budget exceeding 4% of all U.S. government spending, today’s NASA operates on a fraction of that, a mere 0.4%. To stretch resources further, NASA has turned to outsourcing robotic lunar landings to commercial entities like Intuitive Machines, aiming to achieve ambitious goals like the Artemis program’s lunar return with reduced costs.

But cost isn’t the only hurdle. The technical feat of landing a spacecraft precisely on a celestial body a quarter of a million miles away is akin to hitting a golf ball from New York to Los Angeles and landing it in a specific hole – a daunting task even with today’s advanced technology. Compounding the challenge is the time delay of roughly three seconds for signals to travel between Earth and the moon, leaving little room for error during critical maneuvers.

Moreover, the legacy of Apollo-era expertise has waned over the decades, leaving a gap that new technology alone cannot bridge. As Dr. Scott Pace of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute aptly notes, “These are people doing it for the first time, and there’s no substitute for that experience.”

Yet, amidst these challenges, there’s an undeniable sense of optimism and determination. As Lisa Altemus of Intuitive Machines emphasizes, success in lunar exploration requires collective resilience, collaboration, and a willingness to learn from failures. It heralds not just a scientific achievement but the dawn of a new era – an emerging lunar economy where the moon’s resources could unlock boundless opportunities for humanity.

If Odysseus achieves its mission, it will not only mark the first U.S. spacecraft landing on the moon in half a century but also pave the way for future lunar endeavors, including the exploration of the moon’s south pole, a region rich in potential resources like ice and water.

As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let us marvel at the audacity of human ambition, the tenacity of scientific endeavor, and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond Earth’s confines. The journey to the moon may be fraught with challenges, but with each step, we inch closer to unlocking the mysteries of our celestial neighbor and forging a new chapter in the saga of space exploration.

https://www.azfamily.com/app/2024/02/22/us-company-attempts-first-moon-landing-thursday-since-1972/

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The Unseen Power of Nature: Los Angeles River’s Dramatic Display

“Los Angeles River’s recent surge reminds us of nature’s might and the remarkable bravery of those who protect and serve.”

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Los Angeles, known for its bustling urban landscape and iconic landmarks, is also home to a hidden natural wonder—the Los Angeles River. While often overlooked, this river, meandering through concrete channels, reveals its formidable force during the rainy season, as recently witnessed in a remarkable turn of events.

By User2004 – Own work by the original uploader, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=855785

In a city where the river’s presence can be overshadowed by the urban sprawl, the recent events served as a powerful reminder of nature’s might. Fueled by an atmospheric river, the usually tranquil waterway transformed into a raging torrent, posing a threat to the flood-control infrastructure and prompting a dramatic rescue.

Amidst this dramatic transformation, a heartwarming yet perilous river rescue unfolded. A man, driven by instinctive bravery, leaped into the churning waters to save his beloved pet. Fortunately, the LA Fire Department swiftly intervened, showcasing the courage and skill of their helicopter crew as they executed a daring rescue, ultimately saving both the man and his loyal companion.

As the river surged, concerns mounted for the vulnerable homeless population residing along its banks. With encampments nestled among its shores, the deluge raised urgent alarms for their safety. First responders and swift-water rescue teams stood ready, highlighting the unwavering commitment to safeguarding every individual impacted by the river’s unpredictable temperament.

This recent episode serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate relationship between urban life and the forces of nature. It underscores the need for continued vigilance and preparedness, especially in a city where the convergence of urban living and natural elements can yield unexpected challenges.

The Los Angeles River’s surge, though brief, illuminates the significance of acknowledging and respecting the inherent power of nature. It also underscores the remarkable bravery and dedication of those who stand ready to protect and serve, even amidst the most formidable circumstances.

In the heart of a bustling metropolis, the Los Angeles River quietly flows, reminding us of the unseen forces that shape our world and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of nature’s awesome power.

Source: Associated Press

https://apnews.com/article/california-storms-los-angeles-river-atmospheric-94e6ad39870432fedb5d0a2464ecc3c1

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actors & performers

Remembering Carl Weathers: A Legend in Film, Television, and Sports

Remembering Carl Weathers: A multifaceted talent whose legacy as a true legend will continue to inspire audiences worldwide.

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The entertainment industry mourns the loss of a true legend, Carl Weathers, who passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 76. Known for his iconic role as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” movies and more recently as Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian,” Weathers’ impact transcended generations.


Weathers’ family described him as an exceptional human being who lived an extraordinary life, leaving an indelible mark through his contributions to film, television, the arts, and sports. From his breakout role in “Rocky” to his appearances in “Predator,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “Toy Story 4,” Weathers showcased his versatility as an actor.

Beyond his acting career, Weathers’ journey to stardom was unique. Before gracing the silver screen, he excelled as a football player at San Diego State University and professionally for the Oakland Raiders. His transition to acting in the 1970s set the stage for a successful career that spanned decades.

Weathers’ talents extended to the small screen, with memorable roles in “Arrested Development,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and more. His Emmy nomination in 2021 for his role in “The Mandalorian” as Greef Karga highlighted his enduring impact on television.

Colleagues and friends, including Adam Sandler, paid tribute to Weathers, remembering him as a great man, actor, and athlete. Sandler’s heartfelt words reflected the sentiment shared by many who had the privilege of knowing and working with Weathers.

As we reflect on Carl Weathers’ legacy, we remember a multifaceted talent whose charisma, talent, and dedication enriched the entertainment landscape. His work will continue to inspire and entertain audiences for years to come, ensuring that his memory as a true legend endures.

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