Read With The Gringa “Annie And The Wild Animals”

Let the little ones join the gringa for 10 minutes of storybook fun on a snowy adventure feeding the wild animals of the forest.


Dynamic Duo

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) in the spring of 2016. He is one of two key components of a very special medical study NASA is conducting. His twin brother, Mark, is the other component. They are the superstars of the NASA Twin Study. While Scott is deployed for one year to the ISS, Mark is grounded here on Earth. A parallel study of two individuals who have the same genetics, but are in different environments, is underway. NASA wants to study the differing effects of identical medical events occurring to a human in orbit round the Earth and one whose feet are firmly planted on the ground.

In September both brothers were inoculated with an influenza vaccine. Before and after the injections, blood was drawn from the brothers to analyze how their immune systems responded to the vaccines. Understanding the changes the immune system undergoes is critical to keeping astronauts fit and healthy throughout a mission into space. However, maintaining spaceflight health is not the only thing doctors and scientists are working on. They also are devising methods to protect astronauts from infection while they are on Earth, prior to deployment. Success in developing such preventative measures will not only benefit astronauts. NASA’s humanitarian aim would share such data with medical professionals everywhere for the benefit of all mankind to benefit where health related issues are concerned. Patients with auto-immune diseases like diabetes and arthritis should keep their eyes turned toward NASA for possible breakthroughs in their treatment options as well as the possibility of a cure.

While on the ISS, Scott Kelly participated in radiation research with the RaDI-N2 Neutron Field Study. He collected eight detectors that had been placed throughout the station and returned them to the Russian crew who stored them until he returns with them later on in the year. Participation by the Canadian Space Agency used their bubble spectrometers to isolate and measure neutron radiation levels. Neutrons do not have an electrical charge. This makes it easier for neutron radiation to enter the body and cause damage. This study will provide NASA with data that will help develop methods that will protect future crews that participate in deep-space missions from radiation damage. All Earthlings will benefit from this technology also because it will help medical experts have a better understanding of how neutron radiation damages and mutates DNA in order to most effectively treat patients.

Once again, NASA is collaborating with many other agencies in order to gather the best talent team possible in order to gather vital information that will eventually benefit all mankind. The gringa is certain with a team of such diversity that surely there is a place for someone like me! Keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of NASA’s future missions has a need for a chatty, sassy, outspoken writer with an insatiable curiosity.

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Read with the Gringa “The Magician’s Nephew” Chapt 11

Join the gringa for a twenty minute read to see who Aslan appoints as king and queen of Narnia!

Planting Seeds of Brilliance

NASA and the United States Department of Agriculture joined students earlier this month to plant seeds from the space-grown red romaine lettuce in the People’s Garden in Washington D.C. Although it is doubtful the nation will reap a harvest that will be adequate to solve world hunger, the symbolism of this act is definitely pointing to a future humanitarian goal where NASA will play a critical role.

These two government agencies cemented their partnership by jointly signing a government memorandum which commits NASA and the USDA to endeavor to inspire American youth to seek careers in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The planting of the romaine lettuce seeds symbolizes planting the seed of such inspiration in the hearts and minds of young people.

As the media hypes the doom and gloom of the world’s future due to the “irreversible” effects of climate change, we cannot allow this to dishearten our young people. Many are so discouraged, well aware of the sick planet they will be inheriting. Society must do all it can to counteract these negative media messages being fed to the youth. I mean, really, I get really mad at the news agencies. It’s always the bad stuff. I need a happy pill after ten minutes with the evening news. No wonder depression is so rampant. Have they ever thought about reporting on the solutions? Good grief, our society needs inspiration to get us out of this desperation! Young students must be emboldened to understand they are the heroes society is looking for to rescue and restore the future of this planet.

As NASA and the USDA take a pro-active position, so must every parent, spiritual leader, teacher, counselor, aunt, uncle, anyone who knows a young person. The creative inspiration that led to the technology that grew space salad fixin’s are just the sort of ideas that can spring forth from young minds today and become a reality tomorrow.

NASA is not just about the nation’s business in outer space. Their programs are very important to solving problems right here on the blue planet. Earthling farmers have been seriously impacted worldwide by drought conditions as a result of climate change. NASA works closely with the USDA in developing technology and new farming methods to solve these problems in order to continue to feed a hungry planet. Satellite images provided by NASA are an important piece of the information puzzle that helps agricultural experts make the right decisions.

The partnering of these two agencies is good news. Together, there is much talent and technology that can be brought to the “save the world” table. The gringa is certain that every idealistic, brilliant young person would want to be a part of something so noble and important.

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Read With The Gringa “The Tooth Book”

Let the kids read with the gringa for 8 minutes and find out all about their teeth!

Photographers Named Curiosity & Opportunity

1curiosityAs the dear reader enjoys these other worldly images, please click on them to be swept away to a much larger, more panoramic view (except for one that stays tiny) of the digital Martian landscape artwork of Curiosity and Opportunity, NASA’s premier photographers.

Curiosity and Opportunity are not your average photographers. They are also  “Rover Environmental Monitoring Stations” (REMS). They rove around taking fantastic images of the Red Planet’s landscape while at the same time recording temperature and humidity data and measuring things like spikes of methane gas in the environment or evaluating the organic material in a sample of rock powder it collects with its robotic drill. Their work has discovered that today’s Mars is chemically active and ancient Mars harbored conditions that were favorable for the existence of life.

1st sampling hol mt sharp 9-24-14

When Curiosity landed on Mars, it was near Mount Sharp. There is an ancient lake bed near that mountain that is tens of millions of years old. Here’s a pic of a geological sampling hole drilled and photographed by Curiosity near Mount Sharp, September 24, 2014 (this pic stays this same size if you click on it, unlike the others that give you a much larger and more detailed image).


Curiosity, NASA’s photographer/geologist took a “selfie” as it prepared to drill and analyze geologic samples at “Windiana”.



Curiosity may be getting a bit narcissistic with its celebrity status and is becoming quite adept at taking “selfies”. The gringa just loves this! Back in August, Curiosity prepared to drill for geologic samples from a rock named “Buckskin”.


Opportunity snapped this image of Hinner’s Point located at the norther edge of Marathon Valley on August, 14, 2015 on day 4,108 of its Martian mission. The summit is named after Noel Hinners (1935-2014) who had an important role in training astronauts for the Apollo program and continued in different leadership roles within NASA throughout his career. Opportunity’s work in Marathon Valley discovered the presence of silica and iron.


The gringa will close this post with her favorite Martian photo so far, this beautiful sunset. Curiosity snapped this breathtaking image near Gale Crater on April 15, 2015, approximately day 965 of its mission.

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Read With The Gringa “The Magician’s Nephew” Chapter 10

Find out in this twenty minute read along what Aslan has to say to the newly created talking beasts  of Narnia!