Commercial space travel might still be the stuff of science fiction stories, but thanks to computer programs and augmented reality, your family can still experience what it’s like to explore space. NASA and other organizations provide a wealth of free resources that make space exploration come to life for stargazers and future astronauts alike. Take some time to explore a few of our favorites today. TOURING THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION First launched in 1998, the International Space Station is a multinational space research laboratory. Nineteen different nations have sent astronauts, cosmonauts, and space tourists to the space station to conduct scientific experiments. It’s truly the stuff science fiction dreams are made of! In 2012, Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams filmed a full tour of this amazing floating lab and even included a quick lesson on how to work out in zero gravity. “Visit” the space station for yourself at Bit.ly/ISSTour. EXPLORING DEEP SPACE VIA VIRTUAL REALITY On Jan. 30, 2020, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope concluded its 16-year mission researching exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system. This data was used to create Exoplanet Excursions, an immersive virtual reality experience that lets your family experience the Spitzer’s discoveries and control the telescope yourself. These incredible excursions are available on Oculus or Steam, so visit Spitzer.Caltech.edu/vr to start your adventure and explore deep space today! PLANET-HOPPINGWITH NASA Have you ever wondered would it be like to stand on another world? Then “book” your next vacation with the Exoplanet Travel Bureau! This program takes you on digital tours of real exoplanets NASA has discovered. Though we don’t know what the surfaces of these worlds look like, artists have used scientific data to create 3D landscapes to explore. See them all, from Kepler-16b to TRAPPIST-1e, at Exoplanets.NASA.gov/ alien-worlds/exoplanet-travel-bureau.
BE YOUR BEST SELFWITH THE HELP OF OTHERS
HOWTO IMPLEMENT A VIRTUALWELLNESS CHALLENGE
A lot of people struggle to keep up with a regular wellness routine because they lack accountability to hold them to it. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or healthy eating, if you go through the process alone, it’s that much harder to will yourself to see it through. But at a time when isolation is still one of the best ways to stay healthy, how can you involve others in your wellness plan? The answer is simple: Create a virtual wellness challenge! UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS A wellness challenge cultivates healthy competition among participants that keeps them motivated to stick with their wellness regimens. Challenges can be fully customized depending on the goals and abilities of those participating, and when the challenge is carried out virtually, participants have more freedom and flexibility in their routines without missing out on any of the social interaction that makes it fun. GET STARTED Every challenge should have a quantifiable goal depending on the theme. Challenges like working out for 30 minutes a day, getting seven hours of sleep at night, eating 1 cup of leafy greens with every meal, or meditating for 15 minutes every day are all great examples. Whatever it is, the target should be clear and reasonable in order to encourage maximum participation and low burnout. STAY ACCOUNTABLE Treat the challenge like you would a weekly book club. Set a time every week to meet via a video call to share wins and setbacks, discuss necessary changes to the challenge, plan for the next week’s challenge, and offer encouragement. If you really want to up the inspiration, determine a prize to be awarded to the person who actively participates the most. Just be sure you have a tangible way to record and share those results, like video evidence of the activity. A wellness challenge shared among friends and family is a great way to work on your physical or mental well-being and stay connected with loved ones when you aren’t able to visit them in person. That kind of consistent personal connection can be wellness in and of itself.
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