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A Goodbye To Neil Armstrong, The Most Important Man Who Ever Lived

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On July 21, 1969 a man named Neil Armstrong achieved something so big, so monumental, that more than forty years later humanity hasn’t come close to accomplishing anything which might eclipse it.

Yet even a man who has escaped the pull of Earth’s gravity can’t escape the inevitable doom of old age. This weekend on August 25th Neil Armstrong, the first human being to walk on the moon, died following complications from a heart bypass surgery he underwent on August 7th. He was 82 years old. His family released a statement announcing his passing and letting the rest of the world know that we’ve lost the most important man on Earth, or off it.

There have been other great achievements in the history of our species. Other men have been part of important firsts, made amazing discoveries. But it’s hard to think of any bigger than this one, an achievement so big it couldn’t even happen on our planet. It’s one thing to build a boat out of wood and sail to unknown lands, it’s another to launch yourself into the sky in an attempt to touch the lights above.

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Betelgeuse Looks Like A Star On The Verge Of Exploding

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If you’ve ever had an interest in astronomy, then you’ve probably seen an artist’s interpretation of a red supergiant star before. The ancient stars are usually depicted as giant red orbs that may be shown in the act of baking an alien planet or even eating one. They may be an angry shade of red and have some fancy set dressing, but for the most part, depictions of red supergiants are pretty similar to the look of our own Sun. Now, a new perspective on the red supergiant star Betelgeuse makes it look every bit the part of a star ready to explode.

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Singer Sarah Brightman May Be Russia’s Next Space Tourist

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Way back in 2001, Russia found out the best way to irritate management at NASA was to sell seats aboard their Soyuz spacecraft and let tourists float around on the International Space Station. Since that time, only seven space tourists have gotten the chance to see what the interior of a $100 billion dollar space station smells like. That number may now get a bump to eight with the help of British soprano and actress Sarah Brightman.

Today Reuters reported that an unnamed source inside the Russian space industry has said that Brightman will be the next tourist to make the journey to the ISS, sometime during 2015. This will make the 52-year-old star of The Phantom of the Opera and…ugh…Repo the Genetic Opera the first space tourist to make the trip since 2009. This won’t be Brightman’s first brush with the space tourism industry, as she partnered with Virgin Galactic to start the Brightman STEM scholarship program. The program will help women in the U.S. pursue their education in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) throughout a four-year college term. I guess this means she decided she wouldn’t be satisfied with the short little suborbital hop that Virgin Galactic could provide.

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Mysterious Geological Structure Photographed From The ISS

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There’s something strange lurking in the depths of the Sahara desert. Dubbed the Richat structure (or the far-cooler nickname, “The Eye of the Sahara”), the circular structure is massive, with a diameter of 40 km. Since most of us will never get the chance to fly over the top of the sucker, check out this gorgeous shot of the Richat structure, photographed by Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers from the ISS this past March.

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California Governor Declares Today Space Day

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Space is big news over the last couple of years. Virgin Galactic is on the cusp of offering up “affordable” space tourist flights, SpaceX became the first commercial company to dock with the international space station, and most recently NASA JPL proved that we could land space probes the size of small cars on another planet. Now the governor of California has decided to celebrate mankind’s achievements in space by declaring August 22 “Space Day”. If you don’t live in Cali, then don’t worry, we’ll let you celebrate too.

It may sound like one of those weird things that gets declared on the internet, but believe it or not yesterday California Gov. Ed Brown issued an official proclamation naming today the day to declare California’s love of spacey goodness. This is not quite as unwarranted as it sounds at first. California Is home to 3 NASA centers, more than any other state in the U.S. On top of that, it’s also home to several private space companies, most notably SpaceX, Scaled Composites, Masten Space Systems and Xcor Aerospace. Add that all together with the Mojave Air and Space Port and you pretty much can’t get a much spaceier state than California, even if they don’t launch space shuttles. Here is Gov. Brown’s official proclamation…

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Yo-Yos Are More Fun In Space

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Pretty much everything is better when you add “in space” to it. It’s like the old “in my pants” game, except, you know, you’re in space and probably not a junior high boy. In a video recently posted to YouTube, astronaut Don Pettit demonstrated that yo-yos are definitely no exception to the “in space” rule. Thanks to the microgravity environment aboard the International Space Station, Pettit has managed to make yo-yoing at least 300% more awesome than it has ever been down here on the surface. Let ‘er rip, Don…