Comet of the Week: 9P/Tempel 1

Special Topic: Past Spacecraft Missions

NASA renames HQ in honor of ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary Jackson

The future of space may be female

Special Topic: The Tunguska Event and Other Recent Impacts

Special Topic: Orbits and Future Returns

Shuttlewagon delivers Artemis rocket boosters to KSC

Comet of the Week: LINEAR C/2001 A2

Special Topic: Lunar and Planetary Impacts

Mars Exploration Word Search

Perseverance and Ingenuity ready to explore Mars

Special Topic: “Small Bodies” in Culture and Literature

NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission Crossword

Dragon Endeavour delivers astronauts to ISS after historic flight

SpaceX launches astronauts into orbit on historic flight

Special Topic: The K-T Event

QuizMe: SpaceX

Special Topic: Large Ground Meteorites

Space Shuttle Atlantis Word Search

Comet of the Week: IRAS-Araki-Alcock 1983d

Special Topic: Close Cometary Encounters

Trio of American companies to develop Artemis lunar landers

Comet of the Week: ATLAS C/2019 Y4

Special Topic: Occultations by Asteroids

QuizMe: Hubble Space Telescope

Special Topic: Meteorites

Special Topic: Designations and Names of “Small Bodies”

‘Apollo 13: Home Safe’ documentary gives inside look at mission

Special Topic: Prediction of Future Approaches

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

Special Topic: Upcoming Missions to “Small Bodies”

Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

Special Topic: Resources in “Small Bodies”

Special Topic: Comet 1P/Halley

Special Topic: Fred Whipple’s Comet Model

Most Recent Articles

JULY 5, 1687: British physicist Isaac Newton publishes his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), usually known as the Principia, wherein he lays out what is now known as his Law of Universal Gravitation. Part of Newton’s work in the Principia was based upon his calculations of the Great Comet of 1680 …

Perihelion: 2005 July 05.31, q = 1.506 AU  With the various comprehensive survey programs that are currently operational, the discovery of previously-unknown short-period comets happens all the time these days. The situation was very different during the mid-19th Century, when only a handful of such objects were known, and the discovery of each one was …

The majority of what we know about the various planets and many of the other objects in our solar system has come from spacecraft missions sent to those bodies. Even with the best telescopes here on Earth many of these objects are little more than points of light in the sky, and it was only …

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named in honor of Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. The ‘Hidden Figure’ story of Mary Jackson and other African-American women trailblazers that helped launch America’s first astronauts safely into space and back including Alan …

Only 566 people have ever travelled to space. Sixty-five of them, or about 11.5%, were women. NASA recently proclaimed it will put the “first woman and next man” on the Moon by 2024. Despite nearly 60 years of human spaceflight, women are still in the territory of “firsts”. Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space …

JUNE 28, 1911: A meteorite falls to the ground near the village of El Nakhla El Bahariya, Egypt. The Nakhla meteorite was one of the first-known meteorites determined to have come from Mars. A fragment of the Nakhla meteorite supposedly struck and killed a dog, although there has been no independent confirmation of this. “Martian …

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

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named in honor of Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. The ‘Hidden Figure’ story of Mary Jackson and other African-American women trailblazers that helped launch America’s first astronauts safely into space and back including Alan …

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 …

Lunar Exploration

  Marking a big step forward towards launch, all ten of the powerful solid rocket booster (SRB) segments for NASA’s inaugural Space Launch System (SLS) rocket liftoff on the Artemis 1 Moon mission arrived by a train Monday afternoon at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – thereby completing a 10-day cross country rail journey from their …

Marking a significant step forward in landing Americans on the Moon by 2024, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the selection of three U.S. companies – Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics – to design and develop the critical human landing systems (HLS) under the agency’s Artemis lunar landing program. Blue Origin won by far the largest …

Project Apollo encompassed more than 400,000 Americans working together to make it possible for 24 NASA astronauts to journey to the Moon between 1968 and 1972. This mammoth engineering feat is the featured topic in this edition of our QuizMe series of educational content. In honor of Apollo 11’s historic mission, we’ve added an extra …

Mars

NASA and the United Arab Emirates are launching separate missions to Mars as early as next month. Although unconfirmed, it has been reported that China also may be sending a rover and orbiter to the Red Planet in July or August. Since 1960, more than 50 missions have been sent to Mars, with varying success. To …

Preparations have continued to go smoothly for next month’s targeted launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission to the Red Planet. The mission includes a car-sized rover as well as the first helicopter to ever be sent to another planet. The rover’s primary mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life, as well as …

NASA is upping its game with the next mission to the Red Planet. The Mars 2020 mission will include a car-size rover based largely on the design of the Curiosity rover. Also attaching a ride to Mars with the new rover is a small helicopter that will test powered flight on another world for the …

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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