The Jews Are In Space

The Center for Jewish History in New York is holding an exhibit called “Jews In Space,” opening on February 26. Although the focus of the exhibit is on Jewish astronauts and astronomy, it will also include science fiction magazines and works in Yiddish, Polish, Russian, and English. Events during its run will include family programming and a chance to meet astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, who brought a dreidel, Torah, and tallis with him on his shuttle missions.
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Obituary: John Young

Astronaut John Young (b.1930) died on January 5. Young flew the first Gemini mission with Gus Grissom, flew on Apollo 10, landed on the moon during Apollo 16, and later flew the inaugural flight of the space shuttle Columbia. He is the only man to fly four different classes of spacecraft. He holds the record for astronaut with the longest active service with NASA: 42 years. With Young’s death, only five moonwalkers survive.

Obituary: Dick Gordon

Astronaut Dick Gordon (b.1929) died on November 6. Gordon made his first flight as pilot on Gemini 11 with Pete Conrad and performed an EVA that lasted nearly three hours. He later flew as the Command Module Pilot on Apollo 12 with Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. Prior to joining NASA, Gordon served as a Navy pilot. After leaving NASA, he served as an Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints and on a variety of boards. He also served as President of the Astro Science Corporation.

Obituary: Bill Dana

Comedian Bill Dana (b.William Szathmary, 1924) died on June 15. Dana was known for his astronaut routine in the early 1960s in which he claimed to be an astronaut named José Jimenez who was ambivalent about the idea of going into space. The Jimenez character was also interviewed about his other careers, as a baseball player, a judo expert, a politician, an Olympic skier, and other jobs. Bill Dana appeared in the José Jimenez character as one of the actors who popped his head out the window watching Batman and Robin climb a building on Batman.

SFWA Announced Toastmaster Lindgren

SFWA has announced that astronaut Kjell Lindgren will serve as toastmaster at the 2017 SFWA Nebula Award Conference, to be held from May 18-21 in Pittsburgh, PA. IN addition to emceeing the awards ceremony on the evening of Saturday, May 20, Lindgren will also participate in a panel on Friday, the mass autographing, and give a solo presentation on Sunday. The mass autographing is open to the public. Lindgren served on ISS Expeditions 44 and 45 in 2015 and was an astronaut Guest of Honor for that year’s Worldcon, Sasquan, participating in panels remotely from the ISS.
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Woman Wins Moon Dust

A Chicgao area woman who purchased a bag of Moon dust that was put up for auction inadvertently by the US government has won the right to own the artifacts. The bag was stolen by Max Ary, former president of a space museum in Kansas and was seized by the government. The back was accidentally put up for auction by the US Marshal service and Nancy Carlson purchased it. NASA tried to reclaim it when she sought their assistance in verifying the bag and dust.
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SpaceX Targets Moon Launch 2018

Elon Musk has announced plans to put two humans into orbit around the Moon in 2018. Two private citizens have already placed a significant deposit for the flight, which will be the furthest any humans have traveled from Earth since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Musk hasn’t announced the names of the astronauts who will fly to the moon aboard a Falcon Heavy.
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Apollo 11 Goes on Tour

The Smithsonian Institute is sending the Apollo 11 on a tour of four museums in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing. The command module Columbia, along with other artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission, will visit Space Center Houston (October 14, 2017-March 18, 2018), the Saint Louis Science center (April 14-September 3, 2018), the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh (September 29, 2018-February 18, 2019) and Seattle’s Museum of Flight (March 16-September 2, 2019).

Initial Twin Study Released

NASA has released preliminary results from their Twin Study comparing identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly following Scott Kelly’s long-duration mission on the International Space Station. Results unexpected showed changes in gene expression, DNA methylation and other biological markers. The caps on the ends of Scott Kelly’s telomeres grew longer during his space flight (returning to normal after landing), which was the opposite of the expected results. Full results of the study are expected to be released over the next few years.
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Obtuary: Eugene Cernan

Astronaut Eugene Cernan (b.1934) died on January 16. Cernan was known as the last man on the moon since he was the Commander of Apollo 17 and re-entered the Lunar Module after Harrison Schmitt. His first flight into space was on Gemini 9A, in which he flew with Tom Stafford. He also flew on Apollo 10, piloting the Lunar Module to within 15.6 km of the lunar surface. Cernan retired from NASA and the Navy in 1976 and published his memoirs, Last Man on the Moon in 1999. His book was turned into a documentary in 2016. With Cernan’s death 6 of the 12 Moonwalkers have died.