Real Science–NASA announces plans for Discovery at Smithsonian, releases spectacular view from space

NASA released some interesting information this week for fans of all things space related.

First off, the space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to fly its final mission April 17, 2012 on the back of a Boeing 747 to land at Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC.  The transfer of the shuttle’s title to the Smithsonian Institution will include a four-day celebration by the National Air and Space Museum, although the Discovery will end up not on the National Mall at the National Air and Space Museum building but instead at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia (useful to know in scheduling future vacation trips to DC).  The Udvar-Hazy Center currently houses the prototype space shuttle Enterprise, which will be flown to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City at a later date.  The Museum expects that Discovery will be available for public viewing but the final display will not be finished until approximately two weeks after arrival of the shuttle.

In the “truth is stranger than fiction” category (a maxim that usually proves not to be true if you hang around with creative people) this week NASA also released some great video footage of Earth from space.  Check out this video of Earth taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station:

Despite all the efforts in movies and TV to show what it would be like to travel in outer space, Hollywood has yet to create footage that matches the real thing seen above.  They’ve come close for sure, but think of how much it would cost to mock-up this type of visual for a motion picture.

This video is a great reminder that despite the fact that we have no current space shuttle program, thankfully scientific research continues with humans in outer space.  Check out more updates on what’s happening with research by NASA at

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