James Webb’s primary mirror passes test before pandemic suspends work

Comet of the Week: 12P/Pons-Brooks

Special Topic: Upcoming Missions to “Small Bodies”

Comet of the Week: Bennett 1969i

Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

Comet of the Week: Comet Hyakutake C/1996 B2

Special Topic: “Small Bodies” and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Special Topic: Resources in “Small Bodies”

Special Topic: Comet 1P/Halley

Special Topic: Fred Whipple’s Comet Model

SpaceX Crew Dragon closing in on first launch with astronauts aboard

Finalists selected for naming NASA’s next Mars rover

Special Topic: Great Comets

NASA prepares robot to traverse beneath oceans of Europa

Special Topic: Stellar Intruders

Solar Orbiter on way to explore Sun’s polar regions

Special Topic: Centaurs

Special Topic: Exocomets

Special Topic: The Oort Cloud

Special Topic: Near-Earth asteroids

Christina Koch Breaks Record for Longest Female Spaceflight

New weekly educational series focuses on comets and asteroids

Special Topic: Main belt asteroids

Blue Origin goes step by step ferociously into space

NASA’s Martian helicopter enters final test phase for 2020 rover

International Space Station’s 20 years of transformation

America’s gateway to space: LC-39A

Mining the sky

Kerbal Space Program: Bringing rocket science to games

Al Worden on the honor of being an astronaut

The difference it made: Building a car for the Moon

When good rockets go bad

Hubble’s Top 100 images

Land, sea and space: Naval aviators have led the way

National Flight Academy makes learning an adventure

Most Recent Articles

The team building NASA’s mammoth James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently accomplished a major milestone – fully deploying its 21 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror into the same configuration it will have when it is carrying out astronomical observations in space. However, NASA has also suspended virtually all future testing of the Webb Telescope – …

Neil Armstrong will forever be known as the first human to walk upon the Moon. He also is the featured topic in this edition of our new QuizMe series of educational content. Put your knowledge to the test with these 10 questions about the quiet and private astronaut that was thrust upon the world stage …

APRIL 5, 1861: An amateur astronomer in New York, A.E. Thatcher, discovers a 9th-magnitude comet. Comet Thatcher was found to have an approximate orbital period of 415 years and is the parent comet of the Lyrid meteor shower, which peaks around April 22 each year. The Lyrids usually put on a modest display of less …

Educational Resources

Ice and Stone 2020 is a new weekly series of educational material focusing on some of the small bodies of the solar system – comets and asteroids. The Earthrise Institute, a non-profit educational organization founded by Comet Hale-Bopp co-discoverer Alan Hale, is partnering with RocketSTEM and the La Cumbres Observatory to release the material for FREE online …

The United States and Canada are joining forces to encourage a new generation of astronauts. The two countries have cooperated on space exploration since soon after NASA, the U.S. space agency, was founded in 1958. Canada sends astronauts on NASA space missions, and it supplies technology for the International Space Station, among other space efforts. …

If you like numbers, you will love March 14, 2015. When written as a numerical date, it’s 3/14/15, corresponding to the first five digits of pi (3.1415) — a once-in-a-century coincidence! Pi Day, which would have been the 136th birthday of Albert Einstein, is a great excuse to eat pie, and to appreciate how important …

Interviews

“Do you know what they did down on the Moon? What those guys’ primary job was? They picked up rocks and dirt. Now, myself, in lunar orbit…” — Al Worden, Apollo 15 CMP USAF Colonel Alfred Worden served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 15 – the fourth manned lunar landing mission. He also holds the …

On 20th November this year, a Union Jack Flag will be safely stored on board a Soyuz rocket, and, along with its owner, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and make its way to the International Space Station. This is not the first time that a British born citizen has flown in space, …

Charley Kohlhase officially ‘retired’ from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1998. At his retirement party, a recording was played of Carl Sagan, who had died two years previously. ‘…. His voice suddenly, pleasingly rang through the room. From the afterlife, Sagan implored, “Charley Kohlhase’s name should be as well known as Michael Jordan’s!”’ (from ‘Ambassadors …

Shelf Space

Piers Bizony is an accomplished science journalist, space historian and documentary film maker. His books have explored the enormity and spectacle of the Universe as well as focused all way down to the sheer emptiness of a single atom. In his 2017 book Moonshots, Bizony takes readers on a photographic journey of 50 years of …

All across America and throughout the world, celebrations are being held this month to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s first landing on the Moon. Well-traveled author Jerome Pohlen was just a kid when the Saturn V rockets were launching astronauts to the Moon from 1968 until 1972, but that era still has left …

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon rapidly approaching, there has been a plethora of books about the Apollo program released during the past year. We’ve been deluged with such books here at RocketSTEM in the past couple of months. That has been a good thing too. The ever-rising stack …

Earth and the ISS

The team building NASA’s mammoth James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) recently accomplished a major milestone – fully deploying its 21 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror into the same configuration it will have when it is carrying out astronomical observations in space. However, NASA has also suspended virtually all future testing of the Webb Telescope – …

NASA is planning a mission to look for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa and has created a rover that will be able to navigate its icy surface from above and below. That’s how BRUIE — the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration — was born. A nimble and buoyant robot, BRUIE can traverse sheets of ice …

When NASA scientists assembled telescopes in her home country of Senegal, Binita Yanni knew very little about astronomy and didn’t realize a career in planetary sciences was even a possibility. Determined to learn why 21 U.S. telescopes were stationed throughout the Senegalese countryside, the 20-year-old chemical engineering student approached lead scientist Adriana Ocampo on the …

Lunar Exploration

Neil Armstrong will forever be known as the first human to walk upon the Moon. He also is the featured topic in this edition of our new QuizMe series of educational content. Put your knowledge to the test with these 10 questions about the quiet and private astronaut that was thrust upon the world stage …

Indian scientists have pinpointed the location of their ambitious Vikram lunar lander on the Moon’s surface this weekend via imaging from their Chandrayaan-2 orbiting mothership. The lander was feared lost last Friday when contact was lost in the final moments of descent. The mission is India’s first attempt to soft land a robotic probe on …

After a gallant effort worthy of the celestial goal the small privately built Israeli moon lander Beresheet fortified with high hopes failed in the final minutes of its autonomous descent to Earth’s nearest neighbor and crash landed onto the lunar surface Thursday afternoon, April 10. The Beresheet team, led by main investor Morris Kahn, soon …

Mars

After conducting a nationwide contest where kindergarten through 12th grade students across the United States submitted essays to “Name the Rover,” NASA has selected nine candidate names as finalists to come up with a fitting name for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. The nine candidate names were selected from more than 28,000 essays submitted since the …

Going where no helicopter has gone before, humanity’s maiden Martian chopper has entered its final testing phase with the goal of proving the rather difficult feat that a heavier-than-air vehicle can fly in the Red Planet’s extremely thin atmosphere. If all goes well, the Martian helicopter will be mated to the belly of NASA’s 2020 …

The longest surviving robot ever to explore the surface of Mars – the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover – was declared dead by NASA officials on February 13, 2019, after conducting a record-setting 15 year mission on the Red Planet, when she failed to respond to a final set of “phone home” commands sent last night …

Around the Solar System

The solar system that everyone of us calls home is the fourth featured topic in our new QuizMe series of educational content. Put your knowledge to the test with these 10 questions about our tiny outpost within the galactic neighborhood. Afterward, please feel free to share your results and challenge your friends to take the …

Thanks to the advanced imaging capabilities of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in cooperation with other observatories, astronomers were able to identify and explain a rare and beautiful object in the distant sky: an active asteroid that is in the process of coming apart. The image of the asteroid known as 6478 Gault shows two narrow, comet-like tails …

When NASA scientists assembled telescopes in her home country of Senegal, Binita Yanni knew very little about astronomy and didn’t realize a career in planetary sciences was even a possibility. Determined to learn why 21 U.S. telescopes were stationed throughout the Senegalese countryside, the 20-year-old chemical engineering student approached lead scientist Adriana Ocampo on the …

Gazing at the Universe

Until now, everything we’ve known about black holes — celestial objects with intense gravitation — has been from theories and illustrations. Now, thanks to an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a cosmic portrait of a supermassive black hole exists. At the center of the galaxy Messier 87 (M87) in the Virgo constellation, the …

For a planet, this would be like a day at the spa. After years of growing old, a massive planet could, in theory, brighten up with a radiant, youthful glow. Rejuvenated planets, as they are nicknamed, are only hypothetical. But new research from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has identified one such candidate, seemingly looking billions …

Whilst looking closely at a massive elliptical galaxy and its associated galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223 — whose light took over 5 billion years to reach us — astronomers have spotted a strange and rare sight. The huge mass of the galaxy and the cluster is bending the light from a much more distant supernova behind …

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