This spectacular dashcam video of a meteor reminds us how close space really is.

In the wee hours of May 17, just before 1 a.m., a meteor exploded in the sky over New England.

BOOM! GIF from American Meteor Society/YouTube.


The gigantic fireball was visible all the way from Pennsylvania to Québec.

GIF from American Meteor Society/YouTube.

Nearly 700 people reported seeing it to the American Meteor Society (AMS).

Though it might look like one big flash, the AMS has received enough video footage to analyze the tapes — they think the meteor might have actually broken into two fragments either before it hit the atmosphere or during its descent.

Though we rarely get such great pictures of them, the Earth is constantly getting bombarded by meteors, like flies on our planetary windshield.

Meteor showers are more fun if you make "pew pew" noises while you watch them. Photo from Sergey Balay/AFP/Getty Images.

As the Earth plows its way through the solar system, we bump into a lot of stuff. Guessing just how much stuff is hard, but one estimate says nearly 3,000 meteors not only hit the Earth's atmosphere, but actually make it all the way to the ground.

That might sound like a lot, but most meteorites either land in really remote areas or in the ocean, so we don't often get to see them. Many meteors are pretty small and usually burn up in the atmosphere, although we do know there are some big ones out there too.

Luckily, NASA has plans to deal with anything too large hurtling to Earth from outer space.

In early 2016, NASA announced the formation of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. This is actually a combination of several pre-existing programs and will identify, track, study, and warn people about any big space rocks out there.

In the event that they see something that does look worrisome, NASA's got a couple different plans to deflect any potential problems. In fact, NASA is planning a 2020 mission that will hopefully capture part of an asteroid and serve as a proof of concept for one of these plans.


NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. Image from NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

The so-called New England Fireball was not only a spectacular galactic fireworks display, it was also a great reminder that space is all around us and part of our natural world. And that we should probably make sure NASA keeps getting funding so they can warn us if any big space rocks get a little too close.

Watch a dashcam recording of the meteor below:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.