A crescent-Earth photo, by an automatic camera aboard the unpiloted Apollo 4 command module on November 9, 1967, at an altitude of 11,200 miles (18,000 km). Apollo 4, (also known as AS-501), was the first unmanned test flight of NASA’s mighty Saturn V rocket, which was used by the U.S. Apollo program to send the first astronauts to the Moon.
Continue reading Earth as seen by Apollo 4
Using data provided by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft Notes 1 since 2009, NASA has published an amazing virtual Moon tour in 4K Ultra HD Notes 2. As the visualization moves around the near side, far side Notes 3, north and south poles, interesting features, sites, and information gathered on the lunar terrain get highlighted.
Continue reading Virtual Moon Tour in 4K Ultra HD
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
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
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
John W. Young, the legendary astronaut has died on January 5, 2018, aged 87. During his 42 years of active NASA service, Young flew in six space missions (with seven launches, counting his lunar liftoff), becoming the first astronaut to achieve that number. He was the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle (he was the first astronaut to command the Space Shuttle). He was also the ninth person to walk on the Moon as Commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Young was actually one of only three people to have flown to the Moon twice, others being Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan.
Continue reading John W. Young, the astronaut who flew 4 different spacecraft, has died
49 years ago today, on December 24, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon and the second manned spaceflight mission in the United States Apollo space program, took this photo, later dubbed “Earthrise”. During a broadcast that night, pilot Jim Lovell said: “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.”
Continue reading Earthrise from Apollo 8: 49th anniversary
For the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission, NASA has published an amazing website: “Apollo 17 in Real-time. The Last Mission to the Moon – A real-time journey through the Apollo 17 mission”. You can see the events in real-time either joining at 1 minute to the launch or in-progress, 45 years ago to the second.
On the website apollo17.org, you can access over 300 hours of audio, over 22 hours of video, over 4,200 photos and relive every moment as it occurred in 1972.
Continue reading Apollo 17, The Last Mission to the Moon in Real Time