Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Topics: Entertainment News
When the Web’s greatest genealogical resource officially opened its doors on Monday, millions of visitors raced in, almost toppling the site in their mad dash to check up on ancestors. With a database of 400 million names, tracing family histories as far back as the year 1500, FamilySearch — the new Mormon Web site — was an instant hit the world over, even as its servers slowed to a crawl.
The church claimed 50 million visits within the first 24 hours of the site’s launch. That’s the kind of traffic that would normally cause Net-centric investors to salivate — but this popular new Web entry isn’t making a dime off its success. In fact, though the venture has cost beaucoup bucks, there are no plans for FamilySearch to accept advertising or charge visitors for access to its prized possession: the world’s largest collection of genealogical data.
“We did not get involved in this undertaking for monetary gain of any kind,” Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the Associated Press. “Our motives are to help members of the church and others find their roots.”
And the church plans to add millions more names; it has records on 2 billion people. Thousands of church members volunteer their time to locate, transcribe and microfilm civil and church records. The church allocates substantial resources to such genealogical research, with the goal of helping its members identify their forebears so they can be baptized posthumously — the church says its “members are taught they have a religious obligation to trace their own genealogies and perform temple ordinances for their ancestors.”
The FamilySearch site has been attracting a big following since beta testing began on April 1 — receiving 2 million visits on its first day of testing and more than 7 million per day since. Still, it wasn’t quite prepared for the tens of millions of visits on Monday. IBM, which was contracted to host the site, said Monday afternoon that a backup system was being put in place to handle the massive traffic. (It was all but impossible to get onto the site Monday morning.)
“It clearly shows that people are interested in their roots,” said church spokesman Dan Rascon. Rascon noted that the site has had visitors from Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States “and even one from Antarctica … Interest has just been overwhelming.”
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.