The Daily Beast
NetflixIn the wake of Cheer’s success, it was inevitable that Netflix would go searching for the next big inspiring sports docuseries. On the surface, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints fits that bill, charting the ups-and-downs of charismatic players and coaches involved with a Brooklyn youth football program. Unfortunately, however, surface is primarily what you get from director Rudy Valdez and executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s four-part non-fiction effort, which is full of personality but woefully light on depth.We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (premiering Jan. 29) takes an intimate look at the Brooklyn Saints, a community-funded pigskin squad for three different age groups—7-9-year-olds (9U), 10-11-year-olds (11U) and 12-13-year-olds (13U)—founded and operated by a group of individuals with their hearts in the right place. They’re led by 9U Coach Edwin Gawuala, a boisterous, energetic, and caring mentor who never stops expressing his genuine love for his charges. Gawuala is the soul of the Brooklyn Saints, and whether at practice, at his kids’ homes, on camping trips, or during games, his enthusiasm is matched only by his compassion for their emotional and psychological well-being. In every respect, he’s what a youth sports coach should be. The Tragic Curse of Being the ‘Most Beautiful Boy in the World’Gawuala and fellow coach Vick (whose son D-Lo is the 9U quarterback) view football as a vehicle for imparting important life lessons about hard work, discipline, resilience and teamwork, just as founder Demel (whose son Kenan is the 13U team’s QB) sees it as the surest path available to college. The NFL, most everyone agrees, is a dream that takes a backseat to higher education. As such, the pressure put on these still-developing players has far less to do with aspirations about being drafted by a professional franchise than with using sports to better themselves and their overarching prospects. These parental figures’ noble talk is backed up by their actions, as We Are: The Brooklyn Saints features myriad scenes of Gawuala, Vick, Demel, and other adults extolling their values both to the camera and to their kids, whose ability to find joy on the field—even in the face of sometimes trying adversity—seems to stem from the principles their elders have passed onto them.Nonetheless, running only three hours long, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints proves that less is sometimes just less. The Saints’ ambition is to make it to the illustrious national championship tournament in Florida. Yet from the outset, director Valdez fails to supply basic information about their quest, such as the number of regular-season games the team will play; what record they need to qualify; how well they’ve fared in past years; and the basic structure of the tournament itself. By denying us these contextual fundamentals, he sabotages the series’ attempts to generate mounting drama from the Saints’ efforts to achieve their goals. Compounding this situation, he merely provides fragmented snapshots of the Saints’ games, thereby neutering most of the excitement and suspense regarding their performance.Employing vigorous handheld camerawork that places one right in the middle of the mayhem, Valdez does an excellent job conveying the chaotic nature of youth football, where blocking is minimal, throwing is rare, and helter-skelter every-man-for-himself hero ball is the norm. Also extending to beautiful sunrise and dusk sequences of the kids at practice, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints’ aesthetics strikingly evoke the travails of both its young and old subjects. What they can’t do, however, is compensate for storytelling that refuses to get into the nitty-gritty of these individuals’ lives. At almost every available turn, the series offers snippets of substantive details about its main players, only to then pull back from digging deeper into their circumstances.Consequently, we hear about and see young Aiden commute with his dad Dave to and from their upstate New York house, but never learn why they reside there, what Dave does for a living, or the whereabouts of Aiden and his brother Dave Jr.’s mother. Similar sketchiness undercuts the profiles of D-Lo and his father Vick—the latter of whom winds up being arrested for a charge that’s only retrospectively explained—and Kenan, who finds himself torn between focusing on football and mechanical engineering. Even Gawuala remains an enigma throughout; though we get a palpable idea about his fieriness and commitment via his coaching, we’re told virtually nothing about his private life (save for a late third-episode bombshell about the death of his own infant son, which is randomly revealed and then immediately dropped), the reasons for his unemployment, and specifics about the eventual job he strives to secure.By leaving so much unspoken, We Are: The Brooklyn Saints stymies any serious engagement with its tale, which is reduced to a collection of heartening soundbites, stylish practice and game sequences, and a lot of filler. From top to bottom, the Saints’ personnel are so charming, and so dedicated to treating sports as an opportunity for personal growth and advancement, that it’s a shame we never feel like we know them in a meaningful way. Their faces become familiar but their actual plights remain a mystery, which proves all the more frustrating as the proceedings segue to the Saints’ trip to Florida for their shot at the title, and Gawuala suggests—after repeatedly stating that his unpaid work as Saints coach is his priority—that he may be retiring from his position at the end of this campaign.We Are: The Brooklyn Saints’ failure to build to a stirring climax is the result of its preceding disinterest in presenting warts-and-all portraits of its protagonists. So eager is it to maintain an uplifting message—about sports’ capacity for teaching young men the tenets they need to succeed, and about the benefit of putting school first—that it shies away from anything that might unduly complicate it. It’s hard to determine whether the things Valdez’s series doesn’t tell us would change our opinion about the Saints’ program, but it’s easy to understand that—by denying us access to the big picture—it turns itself into a missed opportunity.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
See Astronaut's Sublime Shot of Total Lunar Eclipse Snapped From the ISS – CNET
Earthlings on Earth weren’t the only ones whothe lovely blushing of the “flower blood moon” total lunar eclipse on Sunday night and Monday morning. Residents of the International Space Station had a great view of the spectacular celestial event.
European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shared a beautiful series of photos of the eclipse as seen from orbit. “A partially eclipsed moon playing hide-and-seek with our solar panel,” Cristoforetti tweeted on Monday.
The photos show the eclipse in progress, with the moon peeking under the station’s solar panels. One stunning view also shows Earth below, clouds visible against an expanse of blue. The images highlight the subtle shading of the moon as our planet threw its shadow across it.
Cristoforetti shared another look with just the eclipsed moon peeking over the curve of Earth.
Cristoforetti is an accomplished space photographer, having snapped plenty of gorgeous images during her last stay on the ISS in 2014 and 2015. Her most recent stint started in late April as part of launched by SpaceX.
I watched the eclipse last night from New Mexico. As the shadow moved across the moon, the ISS flew over, a bright bead of light crossing against the starry sky. So as I was seeing the ISS, Cristoforetti was likely tracking the eclipse, too. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the ground or up in orbit,.
NASA's InSight still hunting marsquakes as power levels diminish – Phys.org
Dusty solar panels and darker skies are expected to bring the Mars lander mission to a close around the end of this year.
NASA’s InSight Mars lander is gradually losing power and is anticipated to end science operations later this summer. By December, InSight’s team expects the lander to have become inoperative, concluding a mission that has thus far detected more than 1,300 marsquakes—most recently, a magnitude 5 that occurred on May 4—and located quake-prone regions of the Red Planet.
The information gathered from those quakes has allowed scientists to measure the depth and composition of Mars’ crust, mantle, and core. Additionally, InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) has recorded invaluable weather data and studied remnants of Mars’ ancient magnetic field.
“InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “We can apply what we’ve learned about Mars’ inner structure to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems.”
InSight landed on Mars Nov. 26, 2018. Equipped with a pair of solar panels that each measures about 7 feet (2.2 meters) wide, it was designed to accomplish the mission’s primary science goals in its first Mars year (nearly two Earth years). Having achieved them, the spacecraft is now into an extended mission, and its solar panels have been producing less power as they continue to accumulate dust.
Because of the reduced power, the team will soon put the lander’s robotic arm in its resting position (called the “retirement pose”) for the last time later this month. Originally intended to deploy the seismometer and the lander’s heat probe, the arm has played an unexpected role in the mission: Along with using it to help bury the heat probe after sticky Martian soil presented the probe with challenges, the team used the arm in an innovative way to remove dust from the solar panels. As a result, the seismometer was able to operate more often than it would have otherwise, leading to new discoveries.
When InSight landed, the solar panels produced around 5,000 watt-hours each Martian day, or sol—enough to power an electric oven for an hour and 40 minutes. Now, they’re producing roughly 500 watt-hours per sol—enough to power the same electric oven for just 10 minutes.
Additionally, seasonal changes are beginning in Elysium Planitia, InSight’s location on Mars. Over the next few months, there will be more dust in the air, reducing sunlight—and the lander’s energy. While past efforts removed some dust, the mission would need a more powerful dust-cleaning event, such as a “dust devil” (a passing whirlwind), to reverse the current trend.
“We’ve been hoping for a dust cleaning like we saw happen several times to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission. “That’s still possible, but energy is low enough that our focus is making the most of the science we can still collect.”
If just 25% of InSight’s panels were swept clean by the wind, the lander would gain about 1,000 watt-hours per sol—enough to continue collecting science. However, at the current rate power is declining, InSight’s non-seismic instruments will rarely be turned on after the end of May.
Energy is being prioritized for the lander’s seismometer, which will operate at select times of day, such as at night, when winds are low and marsquakes are easier for the seismometer to “hear.” The seismometer itself is expected to be off by the end of summer, concluding the science phase of the mission.
At that point, the lander will still have enough power to operate, taking the occasional picture and communicating with Earth. But the team expects that around December, power will be low enough that one day InSight will simply stop responding.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA’s InSight still hunting marsquakes as power levels diminish (2022, May 17)
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Peek-a-Boo Moon: Astronaut on Space Station Captures Spectacular Photos of the Lunar Eclipse – SciTechDaily
On the evening of May 15, 2022, Earth passed between the Sun and the Moon blocking sunlight and casting a shadow on the lunar surface. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti witnessed this lunar eclipse from the International Space Station and captured it in a series of photographs.
During a lunar eclipse, Earth’s atmosphere scatters sunlight. The blue light from the Sun scatters away, and longer-wavelength red, orange, and yellow light pass through, turning our Moon red.
In these images, the Moon appears to play hide and seek with one of the International Space Station’s solar panels:
Samantha is living and working aboard the Space Station for her second mission, ‘Minerva’. Learn more about Samantha and the Minerva mission.
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