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 — 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" — 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:

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Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

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Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

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Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
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