See the historic launch and landing of the first rocket to return from orbit in 1 piece.

Rocket science is alive and as awesome as ever.

If you've been dying for some rad space news since NASA completed its last space shuttle mission in 2011, it's finally here.


Photo by SpaceX/Flickr.

SpaceX made history on Dec. 21, launching the first rocket to reach orbit and touch back down on Earth in one piece.

Photo by SpaceX/Flickr.

Once in orbit, the SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully delivered a payload of 11 satellites for communications firm Orbcomm.

GIF from SpaceX via ShantiUniverse/YouTube.

Reaching orbit and dropping off the luggage was the easy part. The landing is what scientists were most worried about.

SpaceX needed a pick-me-up this year after two failed attempts to land Falcon 9 rockets after making their orbital deliveries.

The first one exploded on impact at the platform.

The second one was little clumsy on the landing and tipped over into the ocean before also exploding into a scatter of pricey debris.

But the third time was the charm. The mission was flawless from start to finish.

Onlookers were ecstatic as the flares dimmed and smoke cleared to reveal the standing rocket, especially at mission control.

GIF from SpaceX via ShantiUniverse/YouTube.

And SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was obviously in a great mood.

The success of this mission has huge implications for the future of space exploration.

Launching rockets hasn't exactly been the most efficient endeavor. Right now, most rockets are one and done.

They use expendable launch systems β€” boosters break away from the rocket to lighten its load once their propulsion stages are complete, "falling back to Earth as expensive junk," wrote The New York Times.

Explosion at launch? Better luck next time. Successful launch? Great! But you're still going to have a build a new rocket because that one is hereby a museum piece.

Reusable rocket boosters can significantly reduce the costs of future space exploration missions.

Not only would they make it cheaper to send satellites into orbit, cargo shipments to the International Space Station, or rovers to other planetary bodies, but they can also open a whole new market for commercial space travel.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

According to Musk:

"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space."

"A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before" β€” until now, that is. And Musk has an ambitious vision for how this victory of rocket science can one day serve humanity.

Eventually, he hopes it can create opportunities for human settlements on Mars.

Like the debut of single-celled organisms, the emergence of multi-celled plants and animals, and the development of human consciousness, Musk sees the prospect of multi-planetary life as an important evolutionary milestone.

If (or when) that day comes, let's just hope humans have evolved to better appreciate how precious the worlds we inhabit really are.

Watch the historic Dec. 21, 2015, launch and landing of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket booster:

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."