On February 6, 2018, SpaceX successfully tested Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket that the American company ever built. When lifted off, it became also the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Powerful rockets like Falcon Heavy may one day carry humans to the Moon or Mars. But there might be even more important use of powerful rockets like SpaceX’ Falcon Heavy and BFR, Blue Origin’s New Glenn or NASA’s SLS: asteroid mining.
Continue reading Asteroid Mining: We Need Powerful Rockets like Falcon Heavy
NASA’s asteroid-sampling OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured a new Earth-Moon image on Jan. 17, 2018, from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.6 million kilometers). Spacecraft used its NavCam1 imager to take this photo, as part of an engineering test. In the image, The Earth and the moon are just two bright dots against the vastness of black space – which reminds us Carl Sagan’s famous speech: “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”
Continue reading OSIRIS-REx Captures New Earth-Moon Image from 39.5 Million Miles
As a result of the global warming, the seas warm and ice melts. Naturally, Earth’s oceans have risen steadily – or at least, it was thought so. According to a new study based on 25 years of NASA and European satellite data, rather than increasing steadily, global sea level rise has been accelerating in recent decades. If this trend continues, by the year 2100, sea level rise will be around 65 cm (25.6 in), twice as big as previously thought. This is more than enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities.
Continue reading Global Sea Level Rise Accelerating, New Study Finds
A breathtakingly beautiful photo of a historical moment: NASA Astronaut Robert L. Stewart untethered above the Earth during the first Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) exercise. The photo was taken on February 7, 1984, during the EVA 1 (Extravehicular activity) of STS-41-B, the tenth NASA Space Shuttle mission and the fourth flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Total duration of the spacewalk was 5 hours 55 minutes. Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart tested a nitrogen-propelled, hand-controlled backpack device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). In this EVA, Bruce McCandless II broke the untethered spacewalking record with a distance of 98 meters (320 feet).
Continue reading Astronaut Robert Stewart untethered above the Earth during Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) Exercise
It took 27 years, but finally, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft beat Voyager 1’s record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images. Taken on December 5, 2017, New Horizons image of the open star cluster NGC 3532 (also commonly known as the Football Cluster or the Wishing Well Cluster) became the farthest image ever made by any spacecraft, breaking a 27-year record set by Voyager 1. But for a very short time! About 2 hours later, New Horizons broke its own record with images of two Kuiper Belt objects.
Continue reading New Horizons beats Voyager 1’s Record for being farthest from Earth while capturing images
Good news for the search for extraterrestrial life: the TRAPPIST-1 System might be rich (very rich!) in water, and all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Using data from NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, researchers calculated the densities of TRAPPIST-1 planets more precisely than ever, and they determined that all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Additionally, some have up to 5 percent of their mass in water, which is around 250 times more than the oceans on Earth. Researchers published their findings in a recent study in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics titled “The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets” .
Continue reading Hubble Observes Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone
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 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.
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During the Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Expedition 54 Commander Aleksandr Misurkin’s spacewalk on February 2, 2018, NASA astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei published a photo on his twitter account and asked his followers that “Can you find the space-walker’s legs in this photo?” Vande Hei added “Russian spacewalk continues!”
Continue reading Can you find the spacewalker’s legs in this photo?
NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik, the commander of the Expedition 53 (the 53rd expedition to the International Space Station) has published a beautiful video on his twitter account titled “Through the eyes of a spaceman: One World Many Views”. In the video, Bresnik shared photos of places he’d visited on Earth alongside photos of the same locations he snapped from space. He also wrote: “You don’t have to be in outer space to experience the beauty of our home planet. Capture the beauty of a moment, or the excitement of an instant, and share it with others.”
Continue reading Watch: Astronaut Shares Photos of Places He’d Visited on Earth Alongside Photos of the Same Locations he Snapped from Space
On August 2, 1971, during the third EVA (Extravehicular activity) of Apollo 15Notes 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 commemorate 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.
Continue reading There’s a Memorial to Fallen Astronauts on the Moon