53 years ago today (April 12), Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, became the first human to travel into space and change history, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth.

So on April 12, Gagarin, who turned into an international celebrity and hero, is being commemorated for paving the way for future space exploration by the International Day of Human Space Flight (Cosmonautics Day).

I really recommend looking him up. There’s so much to know about him and the history-making flight.

My favourite thing is probably the landing to an unplanned site: A farmer and her daughter observed the strange scene of a figure in a bright orange suit with a large white helmet landing near them by parachute. Gagarin later recalled, “When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet citizen like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!”

Happy International Day of Human Space Flight!

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vintagegal: NYC color photography of Ruth Orkin c. 1950s (via)

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image For those of you who missed the audiobook in which Wil Wheaton reads my novel Homeland in the Humble Ebook Bundle, despair no longer! You can buy it DRM-free on the excellent, a site with many DRM-free audio titles.

Homeland (audiobook)

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"rapport of sun, moon, earth and all the constellations, what are the messages by you from distant stars to us?" — walt whitman

astrophography by knate myers at the karl g. jansky very large array (vla), a radio astronomy observatory located on the plains of san agustin, fifty miles west of socorro, new mexico. the vla was perhaps made most famous by carl sagan in the original cosmos documentary, and in the movie “contact”, which was based on his novel.

(more astrophotography)

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Kick ass indeed.

Kick ass indeed.

(Source: apanelofanalysts)

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this is my favorite post of all time

(Source: carlsagan)

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Writing a book is easy. Writing a *good* book is hard. It’s like shitting out a typewriter one painful, jagged mechanical part at a time. (via terribleminds)

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