Using data provided by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraftNotes 1 since 2009, NASA has published an amazing virtual Moon tour in 4K Ultra HDNotes 2. As the visualization moves around the near side, far sideNotes 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 VNotes 1 SA-511) space vehicle is 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 DukeNotes 2, and Command Module Pilot Ken MattinglyNotes 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)
NASA Astronaut Andrew Jay “Drew” Feustel, who is currently living and working aboard the International Space Station, published a photo on his Twitter account with a replica of the “Moon Landscape” drawing by Holocaust victim Petr Ginz to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). The replica of the painting was first flown in space by Ilan Ramon (June 20, 1954 – February 1, 2003), first Israeli astronaut for NASA. Ramon has died in the re-entry accident of STS-107, the fatal mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Ilan Ramon’s mother and grandmother were Auschwitz survivors, and his grandfather and other family members perished in Nazi death camps.
Continue reading Astronaut Honors Holocaust Remembrance Day from space with “Moon Landscape” drawing by Holocaust victim Petr Ginz
During the STS-68 mission (September 30-October 11, 1994), the crewmembers of Space Shuttle Endeavour used a 70 mm camera to photograph Klyuchevskaya Sopka (also known as Kliuchevskoi), a stratovolcano, the highest mountain on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and the highest active volcano of Eurasia. The eruption was new when this photo was taken. It was photographed from 115 nautical miles (213 kilometers) above Earth.
Continue reading Kliuchevskoi Volcano from Space (NASA Image)
The sea ice cover blanketing the Arctic Ocean and nearby seas thickens and expands during the fall and winter each year. It reaches its maximum yearly extent in February or March. This year (2018), on March 17, the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at only 5.59 million square miles (14,478,033.54 km2), the 2nd lowest max on record. It is only about 23,200 square miles (60,000 square kilometers) larger than the record low maximum reached in last year, on March 7, 2017.
Continue reading 2018 Arctic Wintertime Sea Ice Extent is the Second Lowest On Record
Will we ever visit other stars? Maybe, in the distant future, if humans won’t become extinct, our grand grand … (insert a hundred or a thousand grands here) children can stand on an exoplanet’s surface someday. But, we don’t have to wait. NASA has opened a new web page, an “Exoplanet Travel Bureau”, and we can, at least, see the artists’ imaginations of what an exoplanet surface look like, based on available data. NASA warns, there are no actual images of the exoplanets, obviously. With interactive 3D images, it is still an exciting experience.
Continue reading Exoplanet Travel Bureau by NASA – Interactive 3D Images
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)
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
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.
Continue reading Top 20 Longest Spacewalks in History
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.
Continue reading Why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth?