The space community has fully embraced social media and sharing online, which is truly a treat for the world! Day-to-day life on the International Space Station is something very few people get to experience. Plus, the view from up there is simply one-of-a-kind. NASA’s flickr account is updated frequently, pulling from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other internet accounts. I’ve decided to post a few of my favorites in honor of the three space station members set to return to earth in a few days! 🚀
The three ISS crew members pictured above are scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory on Thursday, June 11, after more than six months in space performing scientific research and technology demonstrations. We will be welcoming back Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, and my girl crush, Italian born ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. For a full schedule of their anticipated departure/arrival click here.
NASA Television will air converge of their departure and return to Earth. Coverage begins at 10:40 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 10, when Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA hands over command of the space station to cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
(12/23/2014) — ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station captured this warm water image of the aquamarine and turquoise waters around the Bahamas down to the central American countries of Honduras and Nicaragua. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/02/2015) — This image of the American upper Midwest and parts of Canada was captured by NASA astronaut Terry Virts on the International Space Station on May 2, 2015. Virts made this comment with the tweet: “It’s great to see the #GreatLakes with no snow”! (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(04/09/2015) — NASA astronauts Terry Virts (bottom) and Scott Kelly (top) are seen here inside the Destiny Laboratory performing eye exams as part of ongoing studies into crew vision health. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/31/2015) — Expedition 43 Commander and NASA astronaut Terry Virts is seen here in the International Space Station’s Cupola module, a 360 degree Earth and space viewing platform. The module also contains a robotic workstation for controlling the station’s main robotic arm, Canadarm2, which is used for a variety of operations including the remote grappling of visiting cargo vehicles. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/14/2015) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule is seen here docked to the Earth facing port of the Harmony module. SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station launched on April 14th and arrived three days later. It will depart with over 3,100 pounds of research samples and equipment and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on May 21. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/08/2015) — This image of Tropical Storm Anna taken from the International Space Station displays the view looking south-southeastward from western Virginia towards storm about 200 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, Bahamas and Florida in the distance. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(04/24/2015) — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station shows off his personal living quarters in space. Scott tweeted this image out with the comment: ” My #bedroom aboard #ISS. All the comforts of #home. Well, most of them. #YearInSpace”. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/29/2015) — This nighttime image from the International Space Station shows the Soyuz TMA-15M which carried NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the station and will return them in early June. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/20/2015) — Earth observation of South America from the International Space Station on May 20, 2015. NASA astronaut Terry Virts tweeted this image with the remark of: “Farm fields in central #Brazil #SouthAmerica”. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
(05/04/2015) — ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti glides through supply containers packed onboard the International Space Station. (Flickr: nasa2explore)
Scientific American shared a list of the top 10 most interesting new species discovered last year. The fascinating list was published by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry on May 21. Explore the new creatures below!
SOLITARY BROMELIAD: Tillandsia religiosa, a solitary flowering plant with rose-colored spikes and flat green leaves, grows in rocky terrain in Morelos, Mexico. T. religiosa has long been known to native people of the region, who incorporated it into nacimientos (altar scenes depicting the birth of Christ) at Christmas. Yet scientists have only recently described it. Photograph by A. Espejo
INDONESIAN FROG: Limnonectes larvaepartus is a small fanged frog found in forests on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is unique in that the female’s eggs are fertilized internally and she gives birth to live tadpoles. Of the 6,455 known species of frogs, fewer than a dozen undergo internal fertilization. And apart from this new species, all frogs either lay eggs or give birth to froglets. Photograph by Jimmy A. McGuire
CHICKEN FROM HELL Anzu wyliei is a bird like dinosaur that inhabited North American 66 million years ago. Because its relatives are chicken-size and the fossils were discovered at the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota, A. wyliei received the nickname “chicken from hell.” Its genus name, Anzu, derives from the feathered demon “Anzû” of Babylonian mythology. Illustration by Mark A. Klingler
WHITE-SPOTTED PUFFERFISH: In 1995 scientists described an underwater phenomenon akin to crop circles on the sea floor off the coast of Japan’s Amami-Oshima Island. Marine exploration led to the discovery that these large geometric designs are actually the nests of a pufferfish known as Torquigener albomaculosus. The fact the culprits who made them eluded scientists for 10 years earned T. albomaculosus a place on the list. Male pufferfish build these intricate nests by wriggling around in the sand on the ocean floor. The nests are intended to attract females and designed to minimize ocean current at the center of the nest to protect the eggs. Photograph by Yoji Okata
CARTWHEELING SPIDER Meet the arachnid world’s top gymnast. Cebrennus rechenbergi is a hunting spider found in the deserts of Morocco. This spider is the only species to “cartwheel,” which allows it to move two times faster than running when escaping from danger. Its unique movement inspired a biomimetic robot that walks and rolls. Photograph by Ingo Rechenberg, Technical University Berlin
THE X-PHYLA: Residing on the sea floor off the coast of Australia, Dendrogramma enigmatica is notable for its tiny size and mushroomlike shape. It resembles members of the phyla Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras) and Ctenophora (comb jellies) but lacks key evolutionary traits of both. Consequently, scientists have proposed that D. enigmatica might be a member of its own new phylum. Photograph by Jørgen Oleson
BONE-HOUSE WASP: A wasp found in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve in eastern China, Deuteragenia ossarium has gained notoriety for its morbid nesting habits. It builds its nests in hollow plant stems made of cells separated by soil walls, with each cell hosting an individual egg. To prepare the nest, it kills and deposits a spider in a cell as food for the larva when it hatches, lays an egg in that cell, then repeats the process for each consecutive cell. The wasp fills the last cell with up to 13 dead ants, which serve as a chemical barrier to the nest by camouflaging it with the odor of decay. Photograph by Merten Ehmig
CORAL PLANT: Found only on the southwestern slopes of Mount Mignan in the Philippines, Balanophora coralliformis is an endangered plant that parasitizes the roots of other plants. Its rough, elongated, repeatedly branching, aboveground tubers set it apart from other species of its kind. Photograph by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona
PHOTOGENIC SEA SLUG: This gastropod, Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum, sports vivid shades of blue, red and gold. Its discovery helped scientists understand the symbiosis that occurs in members of this genus. Algae called zooxanthellae typically exist symbiotically with coral, where they exchange nutrients via cycles of respiration and photosynthesis. In sea slugs a type of tri-species symbiosis occurs when algae residing in a slug’s gut draw nutrients from coral its host consumes, in turn furnishing the slug with the nutrient products of photosynthesis. Photograph by Robert Bolland
WALKING STICK Measuring at 23 centimeters long—yes, as long as a human forearm—Phyganistria tamdaoensis is a member of the family of “giant stick” insects, the largest insects in the world. The creature’s stick like body makes it a master of camouflage, which helps explain how it eluded discovery in its habitat in Vietnam—until now. Photograph by Jonathan Brecko
Have you ever wondered what it looks like when snakes digest their prey? As humans, we tend to eat certain parts of animals… while snakes eat and digest whole animals.
Below are a series of X-Ray images that reveal just what happens when a Burmese python swallows an entire alligator.
Burmese pythons are one of the five largest snakes in the world. Their body’s response to eating such large prey is what makes them a model species for digestive physiology. After they ingest their prey, their digestive system goes into hyper-drive. Each meal triggers dramatic increases in metabolism, upregulation of tissue function and tissue growth. Their organs literally supersize themselves!
Dr. Steven Secor, Professor at the University of Alabama, is obsessed with ‘the integrative design of gastrointestinal morphology and function.’ Who isn’t, right? 😉
Dr Secor said: ‘For the Burmese python, native to southeastern Asia, the next meal could range from a monitor lizard or ground-dwelling bird to a prey as formidable as a pangolin, deer or leopard… When it does eventually capture a prey and feed, the python’s previously dormant gut rapidly resumes function to tackle the difficult task of digesting a prey that may exceed half of the python’s own body mass. Upon the completion of digestion, these postprandial responses are thrown into reverse; tissue function is collectively downregulated and tissues undergo atrophy.’
Dr. Secor and his colleagues discovered that the snake’s heart increased by 40%, it’s pancreas increased by 94%, it’s kidney’s increased by 72%, and the reptile’s liver more than doubled in size.
Her name is Rambo, she lives in New Zealand, she takes pictures, and, oh yeah… she is an octopus! In a new viral video released by Sony, you can see Rambo in action, snapping pics of excited guests in exchange for treats – using Sony’s underwater Cyber Shot TX30 camera.
Rambo, who was given the name based on the amount of destruction she caused the first few camera set-ups, lives at the Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland. Rambo may be the world’s first professional ‘octographer,’ given the fact each photo costs $1.50 a pop!
The truth is, octopuses are highly intelligent. They open jars, make daring escapes from their tanks, and even dismantle high tech equipment! Click here to watch an octopus break apart a camera.
Mark Vette, Rambo’s trainer, told Cult of Mac, “When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process. That’s faster than a dog… Actually, it’s faster than a human in some instances.”
Octopuses learn quickly and are highly motivated by food. Rambo was first taught to respond to a buzzer – which meant snack time. Then Vette had to teach her the buzzer meant to take a picture, which resulted in food.
Vette told NPR the hard part wasn’t training Rambo to shoot pictures; the hard part was creating an underwater set-up for the tank that the curious cephalopod wouldn’t destroy.
He told NPR, “She took the camera, ripped it off its hinges, ripped it off everything, smashed it to bits and spat it out.” Hence the name Rambo 🙂
Screenshot: Krystian Science
How Does the Octopus Seamlessly Co-ordinate Its Eight Arms?
Good thing octopuses don’t dance, because according to a new study, they have no rhythm.
Scientists found that the octopus moves by shortening and elongating its arms, which creates a pushing thrust. The animal does not move by bending or pulling its arms, as previously thought.
Octopuses have bilateral body symmetry, which means their left side is a mirror image of their right. Most bilateral-symmetric animals face forward when they are moving (except the crab, which walks sideways.) But, octopuses can move in ANY direction without needing to turn their bodies. They just push off a surface and propel themselves wherever they’d like.
“So the octopus only has to decide which arm to use for the pushing – it doesn’t need to decide which direction this arm will push,” explained Dr Levy. “[It has] found a very simple solution to a potentially complicated problem – it just has to pick which arm to recruit.”
While, the octopus clearly has some rad moves, researchers have not been able to spot a pattern, or rhythm to their movement. Levy believes there either is no pattern to discover, or their movement is too complicated for the studies they conducted.
The findings are published in the journal Current Biology.
The Humane Society of Utah started putting their adoptable dogs in front of the camera and the results are too cute!
The mastermind behind the photo booth project is photographer Guinnevere Shuster, who is the Social Media Coordinator at the Humane Society.
This campaign puts adoptable dogs in front of the lens, letting them show off their unique personalities. The Humane Society uses their popular Facebook page to constantly post new pics of puppies, and updates those photos once the pup has been happily adopted.
The best part about this new photo booth campaign is that it’s working! According to the Humane Society, the placement rate of dogs has reached a whopping 93.26%.
All the dogs you see below have been adopted! Click through a selection of the dog portraits and enjoy 🙂
It’s not all going to the dogs. The Human Society of Utah also has a bunch of adorable cats and other animals to adopt. They make frequent appearances on social media as well.
The full “blood moon” lunar eclipse only lasted five minutes! But, people all over the world still managed to capture the epic moment on film. Check out these beautiful photos of the ‘shortest lunar eclipse of the century,’ courtesy of TIME, Yahoo, and Flickr.
A total lunar eclipse is observed above cherry blossoms in Shiraishi city, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
Lunar eclipse in Las Vegas with stratosphere. Flickr: tslclick
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – APRIL 04: Sky-watchers got a glimpse of the Blood Moon in the shortest eclipse of the century as it sets behind Pikes Peak April 4, 2015 in Colorado Springs. The top edge of the eclipsed moon should appear much brighter than the rest of the orb.(Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The beginning of a total lunar eclipse is seen behind leaves illuminated by a street light in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
A lunar eclipse is seen from Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday, 04 April 2015. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon on its way around the Earth moves through the planet’s shadow cast by the sun in opposing position. EPA/DAVID CROSLING AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Indians watch a lunar eclipse from the banks of River Kuakhai on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 04: A blood red moon lights up the sky during a total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. The shortest total lunar eclipse, or “blood moon”, of the century will last just a few minutes. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
A lunar eclipse is seen beside a clock tower at Marina Beach in Chennai, India, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)
A partially eclipsed full moon sets behind a statue of a Kansa Indian at the Kansas Statehouse, Saturday, April 4, 2015 in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A lunar eclipse is observed above a lion-shaped statue in Urasoe city, Okinawa prefecture, southern Japan, Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
NASA has reported that a severe geomagnetic storm is underway and luckily Sebastian Saarloos captured these amazing “St. Patrick’s Day Auroras” at Donnelly Creek, Alaska on March 17, 2015.
“The auroras were amazing last night and it was the most color that I’ve ever seen. The auroras also lasted longer than usual. Often I’ll see red or purples for a few minutes but last night it lasted hours. The only reason I stopped photographing was because I was physically exhausted from walking through knee deep snow and fighting 35 mph winds. It was quite warm at 30 f, so cold wasn’t a factor, and the adrenaline kept me warm. I’m looking forward to another great night tonight, but last night will be hard to live up to. The equipment used was a Nikon D810, Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Super Wide Angle Lens, and a tripod.” – Sebastian Saarloos
NASA also celebrated St. Patty’s Day by posting a photo of Ireland. This image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the Emerald Isle in all its green glory.