AidSpace Blog

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Hypersonic Flight

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The day is Thursday, February 24, 1949; the pens on the automatic plotting boards at South Station are busy tracking the altitude and course of a rocket, which just moments before had been launched from a site three miles away on the test range of the White Sands Proving Ground. The rocket is a V-2,   …Continue Reading


The Desegregation of Airports in the American South

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The fact that transportation was a segregated business in the American South for many decades of the twentieth century is well known. Many older African Americans who grew up in the South painfully remember the time when black passengers had to sit in the back of busses or use separate train compartments; and when train   …Continue Reading


Scratching Beneath the Surface

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What’s inside a planet? What instruments do scientists use to figure it out? And what clues does a planet’s surface give us? On Saturday, April 21, Lisa Walsh and I, scientists from the Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, invited visitors to the National Air and Space Museum’s Explore the Universe Family Day to   …Continue Reading


Transit of Venus on June 5th, 2012

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If you visit the Public Observatory during its daytime hours in May (1–3pm on Wednesday through Saturday, weather permitting), you can use the 16” telescope to observe an object which looks a lot like the Moon.  Hanging in a blue sky, it shines with yellowish reflected sunlight.  We can currently only see part of its   …Continue Reading


“The Day the Music Died”: A Passing Glance at Air Safety and Celebrity Air Accidents

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In spite of its many annoyances—inferior service, inedible food, lost luggage—there appears to be one positive about air travel: data show that it’s the safest form of transportation. Statistics drawn from the National Safety Council—“Lifetime Odds of Death for Selected Causes, United States, 2007”— indicate that over a lifetime, Americans have a 1 in 88   …Continue Reading