On Sunday, December 3, there was a Supermoon, the Moon was at its closest point (for 2017) to Earth while it was also a full moon. A series of nighttime photos were taken by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli to create this time-lapse of the Earth as seen from the International Space Station and the 2017 Supermoon rising above the horizon.
On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up for the first time since November 1980, after 37 years without use.
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977. Having operated for more than 40 years as of December 4, 2017, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. At a distance of 141 AUNotes 1 (2.11×1010 km), or approximately 13 billion miles (21 billion km) from the Sun as of November 22, 2017, it is NASA’s farthest and fastest spacecraft. It is also the only human-made object in interstellar space, within the environment between the stars.
The Moon follows an elliptic orbit around Earth. Naturally, sometimes it gets closer to the Earth than the other times. When it’s also full moon at its closest point to the Earth, it’s called Supermoon. As a result, the moon appears larger and brighter than usual in the sky.
The counterpart of a supermoon is called Micromoon. A Supermoon looks around 12% to 14% bigger (in diameter) than the Micromoon.
Lockheed Martin, the American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company has teamed up with NASA, to build the next generation spacecraft: the Orion, which is intended to carry a crew of four astronauts to destinations at low Earth orbit (LEO)Notes 1, or beyond, to Moon and even to Mars! Yesterday, the company published a video titled “Spotlight Space: How to Build a Spaceship”.
Randy “Komrade” Bresnik Notes 1, the commander of the Expedition 53 (the 53rd expedition to the International Space Station) has published an HD video of their spacewalk. Watch the GoPro footage below:
According to the scientists who drilled into the Chicxulub crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico, the asteroid hit the “worst possible place”. They summarized their findings so far in a BBC Two documentary titled “The Day The Dinosaurs Died“. The documentary presented by professors Alice Roberts and Ben Garod.
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is probably one of the most exotic and beautiful animals in the world. It is one of the five species classified in the genus Panthera, others being the lion, leopard, jaguar, and snow leopard Notes 1. Here are twenty amazing tiger facts.
Are we alone in the universe? Or are there any other “living planets” other than Earth? Until 1992, we even don’t know if there are any other planets around the other stars or not. In 1992, two Swiss astrophysicists, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz the first “exoplanet” (a planet orbiting another star than the Sun). Then discoveries continued. Especially after the launch of Kepler space telescope on March 7, 2009, which is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars, we quickly learned that our Solar System is not a rare phenomenon at all. As of November 2017, scientists have confirmed more than 3,500 exoplanets in more than 2,700 star systems. Now, the question is: are any of these planets (or the planets waiting to be discovered in the future) harbor life? If so, how we can find out? How to tell if a planet harbors life?
Currently, we have only one example: the Earth itself. Studying Earth and trying to figure out how we’d conclude the Earth harbors life from a distance (from space) can show us how to find out if a planet harbors life or not. Since 1997, NASA satellites have continuously observed all plant life at the surface of the land and ocean.
The Soyuz (saw-yooz) is a Russian spacecraft. It was designed by USSR’s Korolev Design Bureau (now RKK Energia) in the 1960s, originally built as part of the Soviet manned lunar programs. The spacecraft remains in service today, and as of November 2017, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles Notes 1. One Soyuz is always remains attached to the station to allow a quick return in an emergency.
The European Space Agency (ESA) published a series of videos titled “Journey to the International Space Station” explaining how astronauts and cosmonauts go to the ISS and return back to Earth. Here are the amazing three parts videos below.