Neil Armstrong & Dinosaur Footprints | SciByte 60

Neil Armstrong & Dinosaur Footprints | SciByte 60

We take a look at the life of Neil Armstrong, dinosaurs at NASA, musical training, an update on a Hubble contest, Curiosity update and as always take a peek back into history and up in the sky this week.

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Show Notes

Neil Armstrong

YouTube Channel NASAexplorer

  • For the famed astronaut’s funeral set on Friday, August 31, flags will be flown at half-staff as ordered by President Obama as “a mark of respect for the memory of Neil Armstrong”.
  • Before NASA
  • He was licensed to fly at 16, before he got his driver’s license
  • Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout
  • Recognized with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award
  • July 18, 1969, while flying towards the Moon inside the Columbia, he greeted the Scouts: “I’d like to say hello to all my fellow Scouts and Scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a National Jamboree there this week; and Apollo 11 would like to send them best wishes”. Houston replied: "Thank you, Apollo 11. I’m sure that, if they didn’t hear that, they’ll get the word through the news. Certainly appreciate that
  • NASA
  • He became a test pilot with what evolved into NASA, flying more than 200 kinds of aircraft from gliders to jets.
  • Gemini 8
  • Armstrong and pilot David Scott achieved the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit, linking up with an unmanned Agena target vehicle
  • The mission was a near disaster, suffering the first critical in-space failure of a U.S. spacecraft after a stuck thruster set the Gemini spacecraft spinning
  • Armstrong ultimately regained control by using their re-entry system thrusters, steadying the spacecraft and forcing an early, but safe end to the mission
  • Apollo 11
  • Armstrong privately concluded that they had a 90 percent chance of returning safely to Earth but only a 50–50 chance of pulling off a successful landing.
  • It was crucial to land without any sideways motion, lest they risk tipping over at touchdown but the blast of the descent rocket was kicking up moon dust
  • Armstrong fixed his gaze on rocks sticking up through the blowing dust; using them as reference points and guided Eagle slowly downward, about as fast as an elevator
  • In those first few moments on the moon, Armstrong stopped in what he called “a tender moment” and left a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.
  • An estimated 600 million people [a fifth of the world’s population] watched and listened to the moon landing, the largest audience for any single event in history.
  • In Wapakoneta, media and souvenir frenzy was swirling around the home of Armstrong’s parents where people were pulling grass out of their front yard.
  • After Apollo 11
  • Soon after returning from the moon, Armstrong announced he would not fly in space again.
  • Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were given ticker tape parades in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and later made a 22-nation world tour. A homecoming in Wapakoneta drew 50,000 people to the city of 9,000.
  • In 1970, Armstrong was appointed deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA but left the following year to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Words of remembrance
  • Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 lunar module pilot and second man to walk on the moon | “Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from Earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.”
  • Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins | “He was the best, and I will miss him terribly,”
  • NASA Administrator Charles Bolden | “As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.”
  • NASA Administrator Charles Bolden | “As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own. Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.”
  • U.S. President Barack Obama | “Neil was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable – that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.”
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney | “Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. The moon will miss its first son of Earth.”
  • House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) | “Neil Armstrong blazed trails not just for America, but for all of mankind. He inspired generations of boys and girls worldwide not just through his monumental feat, but with the humility and grace with which he carried himself to the end.”
  • In the words of Neil Armstrong
  • “[The moon was] simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to.”
  • “In my own view, the important achievement of Apollo was a demonstration that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.”
  • “I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” “And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.”
  • “I can honestly say—and it’s a big surprise to me—that I have never had a dream about being on the moon”
  • The space race was “the ultimate peaceful competition: USA versus U.S.S.R. It did allow both sides to take the high road, with the objectives of science and learning and exploration.”
  • From his family
  • "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.
  • Multimedia
  • Image Gallery Neil Armstrong – American Icon Remembered |
  • YouTube NASA | Highlight Reel of Partially Restored Apollo 11 Video | NASAexplorer
  • YouTube NASA | The 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 | NASAexplorer
  • YouTube NASA: Neil Armstrong Remarks from Congressional Gold Medal July 21, 2009 | tvspace
  • YouTube The Åpollo–11 Channel | TheApollo11Channel
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Neil Armstrong Info
  • Biography : Neil Armstrong |
  • The Apollo 11 Flight Journal |
  • Debunking myths about Neil Armstrong | NBCnews
  • For Neil Armstrong, the First Moon Walker, It Was All about Landing the Eagle | ScientificAmerican
  • Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dies at 82 (Update) |
  • Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at 82 |
  • Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon | Space,com
  • Neil Armstrong (1930–2012): NASA Remembers an American Icon |
  • Neil Armstrong Remembered: Tributes to 1st Man to Walk on the Moon |
  • Neil Armstrong, First Man to Walk on Moon, Dies at 82 |


NASA and Dinosaurs?

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth

  • The low down
  • Footprints of ankylosaur have been found on the property of a NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Significance
  • Ankylosaur are members of the heavily-armored ankylosaur subgroup that lacked tail clubs but often sported prominent spike’s along their sides
  • At least two, possibly a mother and child tracks of two nodosaurs have been confirmed
  • A smaller print was discovered within the first, evidence that they were made around the same time and leading researchers to suggest it may have been a mother-and-child pair.
  • The track has started to erode, and may have been damaged by a lawnmower, the roughly 112-million-year-old track still shows four toe imprints
  • The tracks were found earlier this summer and recently NASA scientists were taken out to the site to see the fossil depression at that time
  • Researchers found several more possible dinosaur tracks, the NASA facility may have been founded on a Cretaceous dinosaur stomping ground.
  • Of Note
  • Officials are already moving to protect the fossil, and they plan to bring in paleontologists to look for other dinosaur tracks
  • What happens next will depend on the laws that regulate how fossils can be removed and curated.
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Multiple Dinosaur Tracks Confirmed at NASA Center |
  • NASA’s Nodosaur Track |

Musical training as a child has a life long affect

  • A little music training in childhood goes a long way in improving how the brain function
  • The low down
  • Researchers for the first time have directly examined what happens after children stop playing a musical instrument after only a few years
  • Compared to peers with no musical training, adults with one to five years of musical training as children had enhanced brain responses to complex sounds
  • Making them more effective at pulling out the lowest frequency in sound crucial for speech and music perception, allowing recognition of sounds in complex and noisy auditory environments.
  • Significance
  • For the study, young adults with varying amounts of past musical training were tested by measuring electrical signals from the auditory brainstem in response to eight complex sounds ranging in pitch
  • Forty-five adults were grouped into three matched groups based on histories of musical instruction
  • One group had no musical instruction, another had 1 to 5 years the others had to 6 to 11 years
  • Both musically trained groups began instrumental practice around age 9
  • Musical training during childhood led to more robust neural processing of sounds later in life
  • The study suggests that short-term music lessons may enhance lifelong listening and learning
  • Of Note
  • Prior research on highly trained musicians and early bilinguals revealed that enhanced brainstem responses to sound are associated with heightened auditory perception, executive function and auditory communication skills.
  • The team believes that a few years of music lessons also confer advantages in how one perceives and attends to sounds in everyday communication situations, such as noisy restaurants
  • Further Reading / In the News
  • Practicing music for only few years in childhood helps improve adult brain: research | MedicalXPress
  • Musical Training During Childhood Shapes Brains As Adults |


Documentary : Chasing Atlantis

— Updates —

Hubble’s Hidden Treasures


Credit: JPLnews


Looking back

  • August 1971 | 41 years ago | Neil Armstrong Retires from NASA

Looking up this week

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