Category Archives: Space Exploration

The end of the world: a history of how a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst

Thomas Moynihan, University of Oxford

It is 1950 and a group of scientists are walking to lunch against the majestic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. They are about to have a conversation that will become a scientific legend. The scientists are at the Los Alamos Ranch School, the site for the Manhattan Project, where each of the group has lately played their part in ushering in the atomic age.

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In space, there really might be no place like home

Few topics in science command as much attention as the discovery of extrasolar planets – those as-yet-unseen worlds, light years beyond our own Sun. In the quest to learn whether we are alone in the cosmos, astronomers are teasing out subtle wobbles and periodic dimmings of distant stars: telltale signs that a planet, much too faint to see directly in telescopes, is nevertheless present.

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A Year Along the Geostationary Orbit (Short Film)

Our beautiful yet fragile Earth from the Geostationary orbit. “A Year Along the Geostationary Orbit” is a 16-minute short film by the German engineer Felix Dierich. He used the Japanese weather satellite Himawari 8 data made publicly available by the Japanese and Australian governments to craft a timelapse while producing this amazing time-lapse of Earth from space.

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Terrascope: Turning Earth into a giant telescope

We can turn Earth into a giant telescope. According to a recent study titled “The ‘Terrascope’: On the Possibility of Using the Earth as an Atmospheric Lens”, published by David Kipping of Columbia University, our planet offers an opportunity for pronounced lensing.

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How to build a moon base

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham

Half a century after humans first walked on the moon, a number of private companies and nations are planning to build permanent bases on the lunar surface. Despite the technological progress since the Apollo era, this will be extremely challenging. So how should you get started?

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Descending to the Moon: scientists reconstruct what Buzz Aldrin saw

“Tranquility Base here. The eagle has landed.” Neil Armstrong said so as the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle touched down on the lunar surface on Sunday, July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC.

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Moon landing anniversary: One small step for man… a giant leap for space robots

Robin Chhabra, Carleton University

Apollo 11’s successful mission 50 years ago was the turning point in the space industry. It is comparable to the Wright brothers’ flight in 1903 that marked the beginning of the aviation industry and James Watt’s invention of steam engine, the landmark of the industrialization era. The first step on the lunar surface is recognized as the beginning of the space exploration age.

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5 Moon-landing innovations that changed life on Earth

Jean Creighton, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Much of the technology common in daily life today originates from the drive to put a human being on the Moon. This effort reached its pinnacle when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle landing module onto the lunar surface 50 years ago.

As a NASA airborne astronomy ambassador and director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, I know that the technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the Moon.

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