On August 2, 1971, during the third EVA (Extravehicular activity) of Apollo 15 Notes 1 mission, commander David Scott drove the rover away from Lunar Module, where the television camera could be used to observe the lunar liftoff. Then he left a small aluminum statuette called “Fallen Astronaut” next to the rover, which commemorates those astronauts and cosmonauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Scott also left a plaque bearing the names of 14 known American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts deceased by that time, along with the statuette. The names of Astronauts and cosmonauts were inscribed in alphabetical order on the plaque.
The “fallen astronaut” statuette was created by the Belgian sculptor, painter, and printmaker Paul Van Hoeydonck. It is an 8.5-centimeter (3.3 in) aluminum sculpture, a small stylized figure, meant to depict an astronaut in a spacesuit. Before the mission, commander David Scott met Van Hoeydonck at a dinner party. It was there agreed that Van Hoeydonck would create a small statuette for Scott to place on the Moon. Scott’s purpose was to commemorate those astronauts and cosmonauts who had lost their lives in the furtherance of space exploration. He also designed and separately made a plaque listing fourteen American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts’ names who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration. Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design specifications: the sculpture was to be lightweight but sturdy, capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon; it could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. According to Scott, it was agreed Van Hoeydonck’s name would not be made public, to avoid the commercial exploitation of the US government’s space program. Scott kept the agreement secret from NASA management prior to the mission, smuggling the statue aboard his spacecraft.Notes 2
Continue reading There’s a Memorial to Fallen Astronauts on the Moon
On 15 February 2013, an approximately 20-meter (66 feet) meteoroidNotes 1 entered Earth’s atmosphere over Russia, with a speed of 19.16 ± 0.15 kilometers per second (60,000-69,000 km/h or 40,000-42,900 mph). Its mass is estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 tons, one of the largest meteoroids entered Earth’s atmosphere in the recent history. Then, at 9:20 am local time (03:20 UTC), it exploded some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk and created a gigantic fireball (known as a superbolideNotes 1) brighter than the Sun. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion. For a comparison, the “Little Boy”, the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT. So, the Chelyabinsk meteor’s explosion was about 33 times stronger. The shock waves damaged several thousand buildings and injured approximately 1,500 people. No deaths were reported.
Scientists estimate such events occur on average once every 100 years. The most well-known was the Tunguska event, which occurred near the Stony Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908. It is also the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. Studies have yielded different estimates of the meteoroid’s size, on the order of 60 to 190 meters (200 to 620 feet), depending on whether the body was a comet or a denser asteroid.
Continue reading Why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth?
Two beautiful historical Earthrise photos, taken by Zond 7, the unmanned Soviet moon-flyby spacecraft in 1969, almost a month after the American Moon landing (on July 20, 1969).
Continue reading The Earthrise as seen from the Moon by the Soviet Zond 7 spacecraft
Earth’s outer shell is divided into multiple plates that slowly glide over the mantle. The movement of these plates slowly changes Earth’s surface over time by merging, or separating, continents. 250 million years from now, consistent with the supercontinent cycleNotes 1, there will be a possible future supercontinent called Pangaea Ultima. Hypothesized by Christopher Scotese, a geologist at the University of Texas at Arlington, Pangaea Ultima earned its name from its similarity to the previous Pangaea supercontinent, which was formed about 335 million years ago, and began to break apart about 175 million years ago. Here is a beautiful video published by the Tech Insider channel showing the formation of this supercontinent.
Continue reading Watch: How Earth will look in 250 million years
Using a two-seater ultralight aircraft built by himself, Frenchman Christian Moullec flies with migrating birds since 1995. In that year, dubbed the “birdman“, Moullec, saw that lesser white-fronted geese were struggling with their migration from Germany to Sweden. Inspired by the work of the famous Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz Notes 1, known as “the man who walked with geese”, he decided to help them and built his handmade aircraft. Today, if the weather permits, he flies with birds almost every day and guides them through their journey. This stunning footage published by National Geographic shows Moullec, “the man who flies with migrating birds” guiding the flocks of vulnerable species in his ultralight and taking enthralled passengers with him. According to National Geographic, he takes tourists up to fly with birds from March through October.
Continue reading Watch: The Man Who Flies With Migrating Birds
Twelve years ago, on January 19, 2006, aboard an Atlas V rocket, NASA’s New Horizons probe started its fantastic voyage of exploration with a spectacular launch from the Florida coast toward Pluto and the mysterious realm of the Kuiper Belt beyond.
Video: two views of launch of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket on January 19, 2006, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. New Horizons was the fastest spacecraft ever launched, leaving Earth at approximately 16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph).
Continue reading Watch: 12 Years Ago, New Horizons’ fantastic voyage began with a spectacular launch
According to the analyses of NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) data, long-term global warming trend continued in 2017. According to NASA, Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880. NOAA scientists concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record, in a separate, independent analysis. Both agencies’ records remain in strong agreement: our planet is still getting warmer rapidly. The minor difference in rankings is due to the different methods used by the two agencies to analyze global temperatures. Both analyses also show that the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010.
According to NASA data, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than 1951 to 1980 mean That is second only to global temperatures in 2016. However, 2017 was the warmest year without an El Niño. Earth’s surface temperatures in 2017 were the second warmest since 1880, when global estimates first become feasible, NASA scientists found.
Continue reading NASA and NOAA Analyses Suggest That Long-term Global Warming Trend Continued in 2017
How old is the Earth? This question preoccupied first philosophers, then scientists, for many centuries. Today, we know that the age of the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years, with an error range of about 50 million years (4.54 × 109years ± 1%). This number is based on evidence from radiometric dating of the oldest-known terrestrial rocks as well as lunar rock samples Notes 1 and meteorites.
Continue reading The Earth is 18 Galactic Years Old
Today, to celebrate 25th launch anniversary of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 (TDRS-6), the American communications satellite which launched by Space Shuttle Endeavour on January 13, 1993, NASA has published two amazing photos on its twitter account. The American space agency has tweeted that “Happy 25th launch anniversary to TDRS-6, launched on this day in 1993! TDRS-6 is still operational today, well past its intended design life“.
Continue reading 25th launch anniversary of TDRS-6 (Amazing Photos)
Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now.
Continue reading Want faster data and a cleaner planet? Start mining asteroids