* I’ve posted before about Galaxy Zoo. Since the last time I mentioned it on this blog, there have been some huge and exciting changes. The mission of the main Galaxy Zoo site has moved on from the images provided by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and on to images from Hubble. You can also participate in Moon Zoo, helping scientists to provide accurate crater counts from the moon’s surface.

* Send your face to space.

* Last week SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket and achieved low earth orbit. Since it looks like U.S. service to the ISS will be handled by private corporations for the near future, at any rate, this is a huge step.

* Here’s some high school students who figured out a way to take their very own pictures from space.

The cool thing about space is that it can make even the least cool topics and ideas nearly too cool for words. Case in point: on the way home, the space shuttle jettisoned some human waste. What happened next was caught on film.

Granted, it was more human waste than they usually have to dispose of because of some new rules about not performing a major toilet flush while linked with the space station. And frankly, who can blame them? I certainly wouldn’t want my space habitat to be followed in perpetuity with a trail of sewage. But if this is going to be the show that we’ll be privy to — if you’ll pardon the pun — every time the shuttle undocks from the space station, I’m going to start making it a point to try to watch it happen.

6;10pm The rumble is over and in just a few short minutes another shuttle mission will be safely in space. I wish them all a successful flight and safe return.

6:06pm The rumble from the shuttle is just now arriving here. I’ll be able to feel/hear it rumble for something like the next 5 minutes.

6:05pm It doesn’t matter how many times I see that, whether it’s outside in my yard, at the beach, or on TV, it always brings a lump to my throat. Absolutely beautiful. I live about 40 air miles from the launch pad.

The title says it all. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:02pm and a quick glance at the radar looks promising!

Watch a real time re-enactment of the Apollo 11 launch.

Families crowded around black-and-white television sets in 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong take man’s first steps on the moon.

Now, they’ll be able to watch the Apollo 11 mission recreated in real time on the Web, follow Twitter feeds of transmissions between Mission Control and the spacecraft, and even get an e-mail alert when the lunar module touches down. Those features are part of a new Web site from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum commemorating the moon mission and Kennedy’s push to land Americans there first.a href=””> (Boston Herald)

This virtual space launch is scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:32am Eastern time. The site will go “live” at 8:02am, 90 minutes before launch time. In the mean time, the virtual rocket sits on its virtual launch pad and offers photo galleries as well as listen to a pretty realistic soundtrack of birds, helicopters and pre-launch chatter.

Spend a little time while you wait listening to one of John F. Kennedy’s speeches that has gone down in history as one of the most stirring ever offered.

For CNN junkies, you’ll be pleased to know that Miles O’Brien has another gig. For the rest of you, this is probably the closest you’ll get to a shuttle launch without coming to Florida. For myself, I think I’ll be at the beach. There’s nothing quite like an almost-night launch. As the shuttle rockets off into space, the contrail rises up past the grey line and goes from a darkly clouded column of steam at its base to beautifully lit with sunset colors. I wish I had a good camera so I could try to get a picture to share of Endeavour blasting off tonight, but pictures really don’t do the sight justice.

EDIT: I removed the live stream, but you can find plenty of video coverage of the flight here:

This’ll make anyone feel humble.

Earth Rise

From the comments at YouTube

The Japanese title of this song is “Furusato.”
It means the place where one was born and grew up.

lyrics (2:45~)

I’ve got this dream and it keeps me away.
When it comes true, I’ll go back there some day.

Crystal waters, mighty mountains, blue as emerald stone,
I hear it calling me, my country home.