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5 badass moments in space history you should know about
In honor of John Glenn, here are some of the most badass things that happened in space that you might not know about -- but totally should.
John Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. He was also the oldest man to go into space at age 77. In addition to being an astronaut, he was also a combat pilot, marine, and even a senator for his home state of Ohio. Glenn passed away at age 95 on December 8, 2016, leaving a legacy of courage, bravery, and supreme badassery.
As a tribute to Glenn's legacy, here are 5 other badass firsts from space history you should know about. Onward and upward!
1.) First astronaut to survive in space outside a ship: Alexei Leonov
Image source: Science Photo Library
Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space, but Alexei Leonov was the first person to do it outside of a shuttle. Leonov and fellow cosmonaut Pavel Belyayev rode the Voskhod 2 shuttle into Low-Earth orbit, and then Leonov opened the hatch. He undertook the very first spacewalk, floating solo in space for 12 minutes just to see what would happen. “Back then the world's rocket scientists didn't even know what space would do to spacesuits," Cracked explains, courtesy of physics PhD Luke McKinney. “The only scientific function of this spacewalk was to see if he'd survive it." And Leonov did.
But before Leonov could get inside the shuttle and get the information back to Russia, his oxygen supply inflated his suit so much he couldn't get back inside. So he decided to turn off his oxygen supply until the suit deflated enough to fit back into the capsule. Naturally, in true badass fashion, “he didn't bother telling mission control what he was doing," McKinney explains. “He didn't want to worry them."
2.) First astronauts to smuggle porn into space: David Scott, James Irwin, Alfred Worden
Apollo 12 EVA Checklist with Playboy spread, with censor bar added. Credit: Popular Mechanics/NASA
Scott, Irwin, and Worden were the backup crew for the Apollo 12 mission. Apollo 12 was the second manned moon mission, and its goal was to oversee the lunar module, scout new sites for future missions, and and deploy the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) “to gather seismic, scientific and engineering data," according to NASA. In order to accomplish all of those things, astronauts kept a checklist strapped to their wrists as they explored the surface. That when the main crew discovered the porn. Tucked into the pages of their checklists were four spreads from Playboy magazine, courtesy of the backup crew. They even had cheeky captions like “Seen any interesting hills and valleys?" Naturally, the main crew recognized the badassery of sneaking porn into an official government document and reacted accordingly -- which you can read in the mission notes.
3.) First person to have a space burial: Gene Roddenberry
Image source: Letters of Note
Gene Roddenberry is mainly remembered as the creator of the television series Star Trek, but he was also a badass. Before making television, Roddenberry flew missions with the Army Air Corps during WWII and earned multiple medals for his bravery. After that, he was a commercial pilot for Pan Am, surviving 3 crashes and saving the lives of 22 passengers after one in the Syrian desert, according to his authorized biography (and illustrated by The Oatmeal).
For a man that badass, it's only fitting that he was the first person to have his cremated remains sent into space. “On April 21, 1997, the Pegasus rocket," carried “a portion of Gene Roddenberry's cremated remains" into space, courtesy of space burial company Celestis. It was such a fitting burial that Celestis did the same thing for Roddenberry's wife in 2012.
4.) First astronaut to sucker punch a heckler: Buzz Aldrin
Bill Burr - Buzz Aldrin Punches Guy www.youtube.com
Edwin “Buzz" Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon. Before he did that, he was a fighter pilot. He is not a man to mess with — as moon landing denier Bart Sibrel learned in this video. If you didn't see it: Buzz punched a guy who called him a coward. Do not call Buzz Aldrin a coward.
5.) First astronauts to survive on a dead space station: Vasily Tsibliev, Aleksandr Lazutkin, and Mike Foale
Image source: NASA
Mir was the very first space station ever built. Unfortunately it was built by the USSR and outlived it, meaning that its supply missions were a complete mess. “The crew was made to manually dock resupply ships, because the country making their automatic docking system was no longer a part of Russia," McKinney explains. That meant that the astronauts piloting the supply ship had to “turn off the radar system and guide the speeding supply capsule with handheld rangefinders by looking out the window." Naturally that caused a collision which opened the vacuum seal in the station, ruined the solar power panels, caused an electrical fire, and depleted the emergency battery that had been running the entire time. And then? “The entire station died," McKinney writes. He continues:
Three men spent the next 30 hours awake orbiting Earth in a dead aluminum box. They passed the time working out how to reorient the station and not die with their Soyuz capsule's rocket motors. This involved waving lots of paper: Not to show off the numbers, but to make sure the carbon dioxide they were breathing out didn't build up and kill them.
After 48 hours they got the toilets working again -- and took the most heroically earned bathroom break in history.
With President Obama and Elon Musk pushing for manned Mars missions in the next 15 years, hopefully we'll see more stories like these. Until then, let's honor our badass astronauts while we still have them.
Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.
- The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
- Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
The value of forecasting<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTA0Njk2OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzM2NDQzOH0.rid9regiDaKczCCKBsu7wrHkNQ64Vz_XcOEZIzAhzgM/img.jpg?width=980" id="2bb93" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="31345afbdf2bd408fd3e9f31520c445a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1546" data-height="1056" />
Northwell emergency departments use the dashboard to monitor in real time.
Credit: Northwell Health<p>One unique benefit of forecasting COVID-19 hospitalizations is that it allows health systems to better prepare, manage and allocate resources. For example, if the tool forecasted a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in two weeks, Northwell Health could begin:</p><ul><li>Making space for an influx of patients</li><li>Moving personal protective equipment to where it's most needed</li><li>Strategically allocating staff during the predicted surge</li><li>Increasing the number of tests offered to asymptomatic patients</li></ul><p>The health-care field is increasingly using machine learning. It's already helping doctors develop <a href="https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2020/06/09/dc19-1870" target="_blank">personalized care plans for diabetes patients</a>, improving cancer screening techniques, and enabling mental health professionals to better predict which patients are at <a href="https://healthitanalytics.com/news/ehr-data-fuels-accurate-predictive-analytics-for-suicide-risk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">elevated risk of suicide</a>, to name a few applications.</p><p>Health systems around the world have already begun exploring how <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315944/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">machine learning can help battle the pandemic</a>, including better COVID-19 screening, diagnosis, contact tracing, and drug and vaccine development.</p><p>Cruzen said these kinds of tools represent a shift in how health systems can tackle a wide variety of problems.</p><p>"Health care has always used the past to predict the future, but not in this mathematical way," Cruzen said. "I think [Northwell Health's new predictive tool] really is a great first example of how we should be attacking a lot of things as we go forward."</p>
Making machine-learning tools openly accessible<p>Northwell Health has made its predictive tool <a href="https://github.com/northwell-health/covid-web-data-predictor" target="_blank">available for free</a> to any health system that wishes to utilize it.</p><p>"COVID is everybody's problem, and I think developing tools that can be used to help others is sort of why people go into health care," Dr. Cruzen said. "It was really consistent with our mission."</p><p>Open collaboration is something the world's governments and health systems should be striving for during the pandemic, said Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's president and CEO.</p><p>"Whenever you develop anything and somebody else gets it, they improve it and they continue to make it better," Dowling said. "As a country, we lack data. I believe very, very strongly that we should have been and should be now working with other countries, including China, including the European Union, including England and others to figure out how to develop a health surveillance system so you can anticipate way in advance when these things are going to occur."</p><p>In all, Northwell Health has treated more than 112,000 COVID patients. During the pandemic, Dowling said he's seen an outpouring of goodwill, collaboration, and sacrifice from the community and the tens of thousands of staff who work across Northwell.</p><p>"COVID has changed our perspective on everything—and not just those of us in health care, because it has disrupted everybody's life," Dowling said. "It has demonstrated the value of community, how we help one another."</p>
"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.
- The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
- It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
- Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We had to be really careful," Schmidt told St. Louis Public Radio. "We couldn't disturb anything at all, because at that point, it was under law enforcement investigation. They were telling us, 'Don't even make footprints,' and I was thinking, 'How are we supposed to do that?'"</p><p>Another difficulty was the mammoth size of the skull: about 7 feet long and more than 3,000 pounds. (For context, the largest triceratops skull ever unearthed was about <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.2010.483632" target="_blank">8.2 feet long</a>.) The skull of Schmidt's dinosaur was likely a <em>Triceratops prorsus, </em>one of two species of triceratops that roamed what's now North America about 66 million years ago.</p>
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p>The triceratops was an herbivore, but it was also a favorite meal of the T<em>yrannosaurus rex</em>. That probably explains why the Dakotas contain many scattered triceratops bone fragments, and, less commonly, complete bones and skulls. In summer 2019, for example, a separate team on a dig in North Dakota made <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">headlines</a> after unearthing a complete triceratops skull that measured five feet in length.</p><p>Michael Kjelland, a biology professor who participated in that excavation, said digging up the dinosaur was like completing a "multi-piece, 3-D jigsaw puzzle" that required "engineering that rivaled SpaceX," he jokingly told the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</p>
Morrison Formation in Colorado
James St. John via Flickr
|Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons|
Archaeologists discover a cave painting of a wild pig that is now the world's oldest dated work of representational art.
- Archaeologists find a cave painting of a wild pig that is at least 45,500 years old.
- The painting is the earliest known work of representational art.
- The discovery was made in a remote valley on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Oldest Cave Art Found in Sulawesi<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a9734e306f0914bfdcbe79a1e317a7f0"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/b-wAYtBxn7E?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Persian polymath and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age teaches us about self-awareness.