NASA opened an official channel on Giphy and uploaded 462 GIFs. They range from historical moments in space exploration, fascinating views of our planet from space, to newer ones from International Space Station and first images of other planets in our system.
You can find funny GIFs or even learn something while browsing through hundreds of GIFs.
NASA also uploaded a bunch of photos from their archive to Pinterest, so you might want to check that too.
Former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn died today, December 8th, at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. He was 95.
Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space in 1962 when he flew with the Friendship 7 mission, a part of Project Mercury. His flight made him an instant hero. He received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 and was inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.
Glenn is also the oldest person to fly in space so far, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. He was 77 when he flew on Discovery mission in 1998. The purpose of his flight was to study the effects of spaceflight on the elderly. NASA doctors have followed Glenn's health since he first became an astronaut.
He also holds the record for the longest time any astronaut had gone between two spaceflights.
SpaceX grounded its rockets for more than three months after September's Falcon 9 explosion, but they were supposed to end this year with a new launch on December 16th.
However, that launch has now been canceled, and SpaceX is looking at a new launch date in early January. On a blog posted on their website, SpaceX stated that they are completing the final steps necessary to safely return to flight.
We are finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1. This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch.
After more than 12 years studying Saturn, its rings, and moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has entered the final year of its epic voyage. The conclusion of the historic scientific odyssey is planned for September 2017.
Now, the Cassini spacecraft has sent its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere.
This collage of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Saturn's northern hemisphere and rings as viewed with four different spectral filters. Each filter is sensitive to different wavelengths of light and reveals clouds and hazes at different altitudes. Clockwise from top left, the filters used are sensitive to violet (420 nanometers), red (648 nanometers), near-infrared (728 nanometers) and infrared (939 nanometers) light. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 2, 2016, at a distance of about 400,000 miles (640,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 95 miles (153 kilometers) per pixel.
The ESA concluded a two-day Council meeting at the ministerial level in Lucerne, Switzerland and ministers in charge of space matters from ESA's 22 member states plus Slovenia and Canada have allocated 10.3 billion euros (roughly around $11 billion) for space activities and programs based on the vision of a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0.
The members also approved the commitment to extend European participation in the International Space Station program to 2024. Funding for the ESA's extension will amount to about 807 million euros ($861 million) on usage and 153 million euros ($163 million) for science projects involving the Space Station.
NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden expressed his excitement about the decision on NASA's official blog.
The European Space Agency (ESA) member nations have approved an additional $425 million dollars to complete the ExoMars mission, a two-part multi-year Martian astrobiology life searching project and joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). ESA asked for the additional funds after their Schiaparelli lander crashed onto the surface of Mars in October.
The member nations held a two-day meeting in Switzerland where it has been announced that they will provide extra funds.
The European-Russian ExoMars project have sent an orbiter and a test lander to Mars, which were supposed to lay groundwork for the next part of the mission scheduled in 2020 when they planned to send a rover to Mars.
However, while the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) successfully entered orbit around Mars, contact was lost with the Schiaparelli lander, and it has later been confirmed that it crashed.
"The Christmas tree is filled with flowers. I swear it's Christmas Eve", might not sound like a typical Christmas carol, it certainly won't make it to the top of the charts, but this is how an AI-generated song sounds.
The song, if we can call it that, was created with a program named "neural karaoke." Scientists uploaded a Christmasy image to the program and let it do its magic. The program then analyzed the photo and came up with words and a melody. The result is...unique.
After three and a half months, SpaceX could launch a new rocket this December. SpaceX grounded its rockets for more than three months after September's Falcon 9 explosion. The company struggled to determine the cause of the accident with Elon Musk stating that the explosion was caused by a "really surprising problem that's never been encountered before in the history of rocketry."
Musk later said that the cause of the accident was "a combination of liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites, and solid oxygen." He also expressed his hope that SpaceX will launch their next Falcon 9 rocket in December.
It seems that might happen on December 16th when SpaceX should launch satellites for Iridium Communications, a company that provides communications services through a constellation of more than 60 satellites.
The second day of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) was dedicated to one of the most interesting technology topics and breakthroughs in recent years - artificial intelligence. The main speaker was IBM's Peter Hedges, one of the main experts in charge of the development of the famous Watson and head of IBM's cognitive computing in Europe.
Hedges started his keynote by saying that they started the Watson project ten years ago because they wanted to develop a system that can understand natural language. Just five years later, Watson has beaten the best players in Jeopardy.
"That was just the beginning. We later went on to teach Watson about medicine, finance, law...not so it could replace doctors or lawyers, but because it could be a great help to them", said Hedges, who has worked at IBM for over thirty years and still talks with the same enthusiasm like it's his first day at work.
I can only imagine those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are reading news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of MDMA (ecstasy) in large-scale trials.
The new Phase 3 research will see 230 patients involved, funded by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization that pushes for the medical use of marijuana, LSD, and MDMA. MAPS funded the Phase 2 studies of MDMA with 130 PTSD patients. One study showed that out of 19 patients, 56% said that their PTSD symptoms weren't as strong after taking ecstasy with just three doses of MDMA - by the end of the study, two-thirds of them no longer met the criteria required for having PTSD - impressive.
Andrew Parrott, a psychologist at Swansea University in Wales said: "It sends the message that this drug will help you solve your problems, when often it just creates problems. This is a messy drug we know can do damage". But it's not as cut and dry as that, with a C.J. Hardin - a veteran who did three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, said: "I just felt hopeless and in the dark. But the MDMA sessions showed me a light I could move toward. Now I'm out of the darkness and the world is all around me".