Celestial Send-off

by Summer Ash

 

Yesterday morning, the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission was given a fond farewell as it performed the final maneuver of its programmed life - a controlled descent onto the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. I'm still consoling myself on the loss by cozying up on my couch in my Le Petite Prince sweater which is one of my most treasured possession in the world.


 

Rosetta launched in 2004, but didn't fully enter our hearts and minds when it rendezvoused with its target in mid-2014 and began sending back some of the most incredible images of this strangely beautiful rocky interloper. 

Browsing through ESA's Rosetta gallery reminds me just what an amazing time we live in. Humans banded together to create the dream, the technology, and the means to not only build and launch a spacecraft to a comet, but one that could orbit it, send down a lander, and then later descend to the surface itself.

Every single image is worth contemplating in detail if you have a quite moment, but here are just a few of my favorites.

 

October 19, 2014: As Rosetta approached the comet in the summer of 2014, scientists saw the comet had a very irregular shape, instead of one lumpy body, it looked more like two stuck together. In fact, the closer Rosetta got, the increased resolution in images revealed it to be shaped like a rubber duck. This image is looking from the "head" of the duck towards the "body." (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

 

January 22, 2015: Comet 67P from a distance of 27.9 km above the surface looking at the "neck" area of the duck. The Hathor cliffs are to the left and the Hapi region strewn with boulders are just right of center. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

 

July 26, 2015: When Rosetta first reached Comet 67P, it was far enough away from the Sun that it wasn't yet "active". But as it continued toward the inner solar system, the Sun's heat caused the ices on the comet to warm and sublimate (go directly from solid to gas). This activity is what gives comet's their characteristic comas and tails. Comet 67P was too small to produce a large observable tail in the popular sense, but Rosetta go a great look at its many outgassing events. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

 

September 30, 2016: Rosetta took a few last photos during its final approach. This is from roughly 16 km above the surface, captured overnight (at least for this New Yorker). (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

 

September 30, 2016: A collage of images of Rosetta's targeting landing site as it continued to descend. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

 

September 30, 2016: Rosetta's final photograph. Scientists estimate this is approximately 20 meters above the surface. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

There's a sign at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that reads "Dare Mighty Things". I always think of that when celebrating amazing feats like Rosetta. Go big or go home. Rosetta went big and now its at rest in its new home, riding through the Solar System on what is probably the best roller coaster ever.

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for The AtlanticScientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as @Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

 

Filed under: astronomy clothes comet cosmos exploration little prince petit atlas petit prince rosetta comet rosetta landing science science life space universe

THINX x SLOW FACTORY

by Celine Semaan Vernon

Two of your favorite conscious companies — THINX & Slow Factory have partnered together for a hyper-limited edition collaboration called Distrupting Spaces, a celebration of menstruation's ties to the moon. Slow Factory created a custom full moon print that sits on the front of THINX's Hiphugger (two tampons worth) & Cheeky (one tampon's worth) styles. The synergy between brands is cosmic — with THINX's sustainable period underwear leading the pack on eliminating pad & tampon waste, & Slow Factory's commitment to a supply chain that's 100% clean and fair trade. Both brands are also deeply entrenched in their respective giveback missions — THINX partners with AFRIPads, an on-the-ground organization in Uganda that provides reusable menstrual kits to girls in Uganda, and Slow Factory supports various environmental and humanitarian causes.


 

& $40 for the Hiphugger

Filed under: fashion activism slow saturdays universe

4/23 EARTH DAY POP-UP

by Amina Suleimamagich

It's a no brainer that Slow Factory is hosting an event for Earth day this weekend 4/23. We are known for our eco-friendly, ethically motivated production of silk scarves with printed images from NASAs space station. You will have a chance to get your hands on these silky smooth scarves at our pop-up at our new Slow Factory HQ!

Wait, There's more! Voz (Tory Burch Foundation Finalist) will be joining the pop-up and will be selling their hand crafted clothing, as well as Thinx the period underwear that everyone is talking about. There is so much to be excited about this Earth day at Slow Factory HQ! All the founders and designers will be there, so come meet the designers, support your local businesses and shop brands that have a common mission: the make the world a better place!

The event runs all day from 1-7pm at 188 Woodpoint Rd #1c 11211 Brooklyn, New York - right off the Graham L train stop. 

RSVP

We also wrote about this piece filed in Fashion Activism: Global Warming, Fashion & The Refugee Crisis.

Filed under: fashion activism inspiration universe we are home

How Humans Can Evolve to Survive In Space

by Amina Suleimamagich

"If we hope to one day leave Earth and explore the universe, our bodies are going to have to get a lot better at surviving the harsh conditions of space. Using synthetic biology, Lisa Nip hopes to harness special powers from microbes on Earth — such as the ability to withstand radiation — to make humans more fit for exploring space. "We're approaching a time during which we'll have the capacity to decide our own genetic destiny," Nip says. "Augmenting the human body with new abilities is no longer a question of how, but of when." " - TED, Lisa Nip - Synthetic Biologist

Filed under: inspiration science science life universe

What's it like in Space?

by Celine Semaan Vernon

I conducted a short interview with Ariel Waldman, author of the book "What's It Like in Space?". A book I cannot wait to read personally! Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration. You can learn more about her here and buy this amazing book here.

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Through my work in democratizing space exploration and serving on a National Academy of Sciences committee on the future of human spaceflight, I started meeting a number of astronauts. There are only ~550 humans who were ever astronauts, so it's a great privilege to meet anyone who has been in space, no less a number of them. I began realizing that people sometimes hold a very "buttoned up" view of astronauts which didn't match up to my interactions with them. I'd often come home from various trips with lots of funny stories to tell about the amusing, embarrassing and weird things that had happened to astronauts while in space. The first question most people want to ask astronauts is "what's it like in space?". I thought it'd be great to collect these short stories and share them with the world.

 

2. What did you want to be when you grow up?

Honestly? When I was a little girl, I would tell my parents that I wanted to "sew clothes for poor people" - meaning I wanted to repair clothes for the homeless. I did take sewing classes for a little while. At 14, I became very career-obsessed and was determined to become an Executive Creative Director - which I did end up spending several years of my life trying to achieve by climbing a corporate ladder before having an epiphany and becoming independent.

 

3. What's your favorite quote in your book?

I love the story of Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean when he walked on the Moon having to remind himself of what a huge experience he was having. Alan Bean revealed, "I would look down and say, 'This is the Moon, this is the Moon,' and I would look up and say, 'That's the Earth, that's the Earth,' in my head. So, it was science fiction to us even as we were doing it."

 

4. Which astronaut had the biggest impact on you the most?

I really enjoyed talking with Anousheh Ansari. Anousheh is the first Iranian in space, the first blogger in space, as well as the first self-funded ("spaceflight participant") woman in space. She is just incredibly relatable and her stories reflected the way most of us would imagine space travel to be like. For instance, she talked at length about how when she went into space that she didn't get any sleep because she'd stay up the entire time just to keep looking out the window. I think Anousheh is very much an early example of making space exploration more open so that people of all different backgrounds can participate.

 

5. We spoke briefly over the phone about fashion and science, what relationship do you see between these two fields?

I think both fashion and science are about exploring provocations about the world we live in. I grew up adoring Alexander McQueen's creations and wanting to make my own weird things someday. I ended up achieving this in the end through being a "science hacker". In fact, I've been hoping for a while that a fashion magazine would do a photoshoot feature of biohackers, spacehackers, neurohackers, etc. with their crazy contraptions because I do think they provoke in the same manner that fashion does. Nicole Kidman once said about fashion magazines, "They give us access to another world. They give us access to dreams." In this sense, science and fashion are one and the same to me.

Filed under: inspiration science life universe

Up-cycled Bags Made from Boats and Life Jackets of Syrian Refugees

by Amina Suleimamagich

Watch how this Dutch Fashion Designer went to Lesbos, Greece and developed a method to up-cycle boats and life jackets of Syrian refugees. Her method includes only 3 simple steps to make these bags and she led workshops with the refugees to teach them how to make the bags.
Bags Made From Boats and Life Jackets

From boats to backpacks: volunteers in Greece are turning discarded boats and life jackets into bags for refugees.

Posted by AJ+ on Monday, March 7, 2016

Filed under: fashion activism universe we are home

A Universe of Love

by Summer Ash

February is branded as heart month by corporations, but I say we should feel the beat all year long. 

I have a complicated relationship with my heart to say the least, but if anything, it's made me realize the importance of friendship, love, and appreciating the Universe on a daily basis. So on this last day of February, and a bonus one at that, I thought I would share some of my favorite celestial symbols of love. 

The photo at the top of this post is of the surface of Mars, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in 2009. Launched by NASA in 2005, MRO had a two-year primary mission to study the history of water on Mars. Now almost ten years later, it continues to function, still taking data while also assisting in relaying communication from other satellites and rovers on the Red Planet. 

Our other planetary neighbor, Venus, is of course named after the goddess of love herself. Venus is practically an Earth-twin in size, but an anti-twin in everything else. This image is a composite of radar data taken by the Magellan spacecraft NASA sent to Venus in 1989. The planet itself is shrouded in thick cloud layers, but NASA was able to make this image with radio waves that penetrate the atmosphere and bounce off the planet's surface, giving us a picture of the topography. While on Venus, this dense atmosphere is toxic to life, from here on Earth, it's what allows Venus to shine so bright in our morning and evening skies - and perhaps inspire our imaginations from time to time. 

Eros is a member of the asteroid belt, orbiting the Sun in an orbit similar to Mars, sometime further and sometimes closer. Fittingly, it's a member of the Amor group of asteroids. In 2000 NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR Shoemaker) mission was the first spacecraft to visit Eros and send back high resolution images like this one. Even more incredible is the fact that NEAR Shoemaker successfully landed on the asteroid's surface at the end of its mission life in February of 2001, just over fifteen years ago today. 

Hopefully this image needs no introduction, but if Pluto hadn't captured your heart before, I hope this picture seals the deal. Less than eight months ago, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft arrived at Pluto and snapped this phenomenal image - our first ever glimpse of this distant world. The heart shaped feature (aka Sputnik Planum) became an instant symbol of our love of exploration and discovery. 

Lastly, moving out into the galaxy, I leave you with these nebulae colloquially called Heart and Soul. Located over 6,000 light years away from us, these regions of gas and dust, called nebulae, are where are stars are actively being formed (or at least they were 6,000 years ago!). This image was taken with NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) which was launched into Earth orbit in 2009. WISE uses infrared light to detect emission from dust, asteroids, brown dwarfs, stars and galaxies. It captured the glow of these striking regions, IC 1848 (aka Soul Nebula) on the right and IC 1805 (aka Heart nebula) on the left, in 2010. I think it's safe to say, it also captured my heart for now and evermore. 

I hope you'll take this opportunity to look around you and realize that love is everywhere, here on Earth and throughout the Universe, not only during "heart month" but everyday. 

Summer Ash is the Director of Outreach for Columbia University’s Department of Astronomy. Having been both a rocket scientist and a radio astronomer, she’s now harnessing her powers for science communication. She is the "In-House Astrophysicist" for The Rachel Maddow Show and has written for Scientific American, Slate, and Nautilus Magazine. She tweets as @Summer_Ash and is also one-half of Startorialist.

Filed under: allthelove asteroid asteroid belt astronomy awe cosmos Eros heart heart and soul inspiration love Mars nasa nebula pluto romance science science life soul space universe Venus

Blood Moon

by Celine Semaan Vernon

I woke up today expecting that my stress might have vanished, as I have read that the Lunar Eclipse will be bringing us a lot of change. 

The Universe sent me this note today:


When fear speaks, celine, it's always wrong.

Game on,
The Universe

 

We are very excited to announce that we have refilled our stock for your favorite prints! Hurry before we run out again! It takes a lot of time to make them. Maybe that is why we are called Slow Factory, as we are slowly orbiting around the Earth, we also support the slow fashion movement, the slow everything movement as a matter of fact, and we are working towards a sustainable, environmentally friendly process that will allow us to grow very very slowly.

Back in stock!

    

    

Filed under: blood moon cosmos eclipse galaxy moon nebula prints silk star dust stars universe