On July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC, two American astronauts, Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module Eagle on the Moon. It was the first time humans set foot on another planetary body than Earth, making the moon landing probably the most monumental event in history.
Vox.com published a beautiful video highlighting the key moments of the Apollo 11 mission.
Continue reading Watch: Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated
On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, NASA has successfully landed a Mini-Cooper-sized rover, Curiosity, on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars. The 900-kg rover (899 kg, to be exact, which is 1,982 lbs) is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. Notes 1 For the first time in the history of the space exploration, the suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.
Curiosity “soft-landed” (wheels down) on the surface of Mars. But, even it’s called “soft-landing”, the touchdown speed was 0.6739m/s vertical and 0.044m/s horizontal, which could damage the wheels. Plus, while the rover is moving, the wheels should withstand the substantial damage through the rough Martian surface. That’s why the wheels of the Curiosity rover have been one of the biggest technical difficulties encountered on the mission. Notes 2
Continue reading How NASA Reinvented The Wheel
NASA has just published Two Years’ Worth of Apollo 11 Mission Audio (the first manned moon landing mission) on their website “Explore Apollo“. That’s more than 19,000 hours of audio.
So now anyone can hear the endless hours of conversations between the Apollo 11 astronauts and Houston. Some recordings are really exciting, for example, the audio of the lunar module landing. When the lunar module enters the lunar orbit some interesting, tensed and nail-biting technical challenges are encountered and are solved.
Continue reading NASA Has Released Apollo 11 Mission Audio
The mighty Saturn V, the rocket that took humans to the moon, remains the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever brought to operational status (as of 2018). It was used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. It was powered by five Rocketdyne F-1 engines. With a thrust of 1,746,000 lbf (7,770 kN) in vacuum (1,522,000 lbf / 6,770 kN at sea level), the F-1 remains the most powerful single combustion chamber liquid-propellant rocket engine ever developed.
Today, private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and space agencies like NASA trying to build powerful rockets in order to reach Moon and Mars. But, we’ve already built a rocket which took us to the moon, why don’t we simply remake it (and the engines)? In the video below, Youtube user Curious Droid answers this question.
Continue reading Why can’t we Remake the Rocketdyne F-1 Engine, which took humans to the Moon?
On July 20, 2018 (on the 49th anniversary of the moon landing), Linn LeBlanc, Chief Operating Officer at Buzz Aldrin Ventures, LLC asked on Twitter that: “Where were you 49 years today when @TheRealBuzz and Neil Armstrong made those historic first steps onto the Moon. Congratulations to the #Apollo11 crew and to the thousands that made those steps possible!” And Buzz Aldrin’s answer to that question was brilliant: “I was on the Moon!”
Continue reading I was on the Moon!
Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the Moon has died today (May 26, 2018). He was the fourth person to walk on the Moon: in November 1969, he spent 10+ hours on the lunar surface during Apollo 12 mission, the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon.
Born March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and accumulated more than 5,500 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft. He was selected to become an astronaut by NASA in 1963 as part of Astronaut Group 3.
Continue reading Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the Moon has died
Do we have the right to believe whatever we want to believe? This supposed right is often claimed as the last resort of the wilfully ignorant, the person who is cornered by evidence and mounting opinion: ‘I believe climate change is a hoax whatever anyone else says, and I have a right to believe it!’ But is there such a right?
Continue reading You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to
46 years ago today, on April 16, 1972, the huge, 363-feet (110.6 meters) tall Apollo 16 (Spacecraft 113/Lunar Module 11/Saturn V Notes 1 SA-511) space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 12:54 p.m. EST. Crewed by Commander John W. Young, Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke Notes 2, and Command Module Pilot Ken Mattingly Notes 3, it was the tenth manned mission in the United States Apollo space program, the fifth and penultimate to land on the Moon and the first to land in the lunar highlands.
Continue reading Watch: Apollo 16 Liftoff (April 16, 1972)
A great short science fiction film, “Others Will Follow”, created and directed by Andrew Finch and published on Vimeo, tells the story of a manned Mars mission. An accident occurs and the spacecraft breaks apart, the last survivor (we don’t see what happens to the rest of the crew, but presumably they have died) manages to send an inspirational message back to Earth. A must-watch.
Continue reading Watch: Others Will Follow (Short Sci-Fi Film)
Spacewalking or Extravehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere (a moonwalk is also an EVA). The first skywalker was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov. He became the first human to conduct an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on March 18, 1965; exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk. Since this very short EVA, a lot of astronauts/cosmonauts spent many hours outside their spacecraft, mostly for maintenance missions. Here are the top 20 longest spacewalks in history.
Continue reading Top 20 Longest Spacewalks in History