Leland Melvin Went From Football Star To Inspirational NASA Astronaut

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Leland Melvin Went From Football Star To Inspirational NASA Astronaut

Leland Melvin took a uniquely adorable photo for his official NASA portrait—he snuck his two dogs into the studio with him. Though this image has made its rounds on the internet, Melvin has much more to offer than his heartwarming headshot. His story is a truly inspirational one.

These Three Men Have Been Farther Away From Earth Than Anyone Else

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These Three Men Have Been Farther Away From Earth Than Anyone Else

The Apollo 13 mission was supposed to land on the moon, but the explosion of an oxygen tank kept the crew from doing so and threatened their lives. Mission Control had to work fast to invent solutions to the problem while the astronauts rapidly lost oxygen and power inside their module. The crew ultimately swung around the far side of the moon on their way back to Earth, which placed them at the farthest distance any humans have ever been from our home planet.

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Key Facts to Know

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    On April 14, 1970, an oxygen tank exploded on the Apollo 13 mission. 0:01

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    When disaster struck the Apollo 13 mission, Mission Control had to work on solving the problem back on Earth, all while the crew was losing oxygen and power. 1:15

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    Mission Control used duct tape, cardboard, plastic, and an old sock to create an "adaptor" that would fit the lunar module's square carbon scrubber into round spare canisters. 2:32

The Most Isolated Human Being Ever

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The Most Isolated Human Being Ever

Al Worden really knows how to get away from it all. He was a pilot in the Air Force, then made a major career change in becoming an astronaut. Colonel Worden was the command module pilot on NASA'a Apollo 11 that landed on the moon on July 26, 1971. Worden returned from this historic mission on August 7, 1971. During this time, he became the record holder for the most isolated human being ever. While his companions were roaming around the lunar surface, Worden was floating in lunar orbit. The nearest human beings to Worden at that time were his companions, and they were 2,235 miles (3,600 km) away.

Zero Gravity Doesn't Exist In Space

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Zero Gravity Doesn't Exist In Space

Gravity is ever-present in space, pulling objects into orbits around planets and the sun. It may be weaker at certain points of space, such as those that are far away from the sun, but it doesn't ever disappear entirely. The phenomenon of "weightlessness" experienced by astronauts is actually just a constant state of free fall. The astronauts are indeed being pulled towards Earth, but the high speed of the their spacecraft, which is moving sideways relative to Earth, opposes the gravitational force.

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from Veritasium

Key Facts to Know

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    The moon orbits the Earth due to gravitational attractions. 0:37

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    The ISS orbits about 400 kilometers above Earth. 1:43

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    The high sideways velocity of astronauts orbiting the Earth causes them to "float" in a constant state of free fall. 2:38

Dr. Mae Jemison: The First African American Woman In Space

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Dr. Mae Jemison: The First African American Woman In Space

Among her many other accomplishments, Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to enter orbit. When just was just 16, she received a scholarship to Stanford University where she studied chemical engineering and African and Afro-American studies. She also had a strong talent and passion for dance, and almost became a professional dancer. She took an Alvin Ailey Dance Company poster with her on her trip to space.

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from BIO

Key Facts to Know

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    Dr. Mae C. Jemison believed it was her destiny to enter space. 0:25

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    In her senior year of college, Dr. Mae C. Jemison debated between becoming a doctor or professional dancer. 0:46

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    Dr. Mae C. Jemison became the first black female to travel into orbit in 1992. 1:28