QuizMe: Pluto

Ingenuity ready for historic first flight on Mars

Without gravity, what happens to our cells in space?

Final SLS Green Run test goes the distance

Soleil Moon Frye wants to take Punky Power into space

Keeping Earth’s germs from contaminating Mars

Wheels in motion for NASA’s newest Mars rover

Venus was once more Earth-like, until its climate dramatically changed

Parker Solar Probe catches unexpected glimpse of surface of Venus

Boeing slates Starliner test flight to ISS; SpaceX readies Crew-2 mission

Perseverance beams back incredible video of landing on Mars

What medicines should we take to Mars?

Perseverance pinpoints landing inside Jezero Crater

USGS astrogeology maps are guiding Mars 2020 mission

Bringing Mars rocks to Earth; scientist explains the tech, goals

UAE and China place missions into Mars orbit mere hours apart

Why the International Space Station is riddled with bacteria

Horgan passionate about studying Mars’ geology

Getting to sleep in space is hard – and not exactly restful for the mind and body

SpaceX launches record 143 satellites into polar orbit

Why are scientists trying to manufacture organs in space?

Curiosity celebrates 3,000 days since landing on Mars

China’s Chang’e-5 returns first lunar rock samples since 1976

Preparing for surgeries in space and on Mars

Special Topic: Putting It All Together

We’ve learned a lot about the effects on the human body of going into space by studying astronauts such as British astronaut Tim Peake, who spent six months aboard the International Space Station during 2015 and 2016. Muscles wither, bones become lighter just as they do during the process of ageing and the cardiovascular system …

A recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 soared to orbit Sunday morning with a record-setting number of small satellites in a single flight on their first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission dubbed Transporter-1, also flying on a rare southern trajectory from Florida’s Spaceport. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-1 rideshare mission carrying a total of 143 SmallSats …

Gravity can be a real downer when you are trying to grow organs. That’s why experiments in space are so valuable. They have revealed a new perspective into biological sciences, including insights into making human tissues. Gravity influences cellular behavior by impacting how protein and genes interact inside the cells, creating tissue that is polarized, …

The view from Mars on Sol 3,000 – simply spectacular !!! As she snapped a dramatic new self portrait backdropped by alien scenery from the Red Planet NASA’s groundbreaking Curiosity rover is celebrating 3,000 Sols, or Martian days, of exploration on the Red Planet since she touched down on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012 inside …

China’s ambitious Chang’e-5 Moon landing probe successfully brought back over 1.7 kilograms (3.8 pounds) of soil and rock samples gathered from the lunar surface, said the China National Space Administration (CNSA) which operated the groundbreaking mission. “Chang’e-5 probe retrieved about 1,731 grams of samples from the Moon, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA). …

Last year, it was reported that an astronaut in space had developed a potentially life-threatening blood clot in the neck. This was successfully treated with medication by doctors on Earth, avoiding surgery. But given that space agencies and private spaceflight companies have committed to landing humans on Mars in the coming decades, we may not …

DECEMBER 27, 1984: A team of American meteorite hunters finds the meteorite ALH 84001 in the Allan Hills region of Antarctica. This meteorite was found to have come from Mars, and in 1996 a team led by NASA scientist David McKay reported the presence of possible “microfossils” and other evidence of potential biological activity within …

Perihelion: 1973 December 28.43, q = 0.142 AU  This comet’s story starts about two years before its actual discovery when Brian Marsden (at the IAU’s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) performed some orbital calculations of the long-lost periodic Comet 3D/Biela (a previous “Comet of the Week”). The comet had not been seen since the mid-19th Century …

  When I first began reading about the solar system as an elementary school student in the mid-1960s, it seemed to be a much simpler place than what we know today. There was the sun, around which orbited nine planets; some of these planets had moons, Jupiter having the most with 12. Between Mars and …

Ever since she was 10 years old, Fadji Maina knew she wanted to find solutions to water-scarcity problems, especially those in Zinder, Niger, where she grew up. Maina took a giant leap toward her goal earlier in September 2020 when she began work as a computational hydrologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She became …

Japanese space scientists are positively gleeful as they have now confirmed that their ambitious Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully collected over 5 grams of pristine black as coal soil and rock samples gathered from the ancient near-earth asteroid Ryugu in a re-entry capsule that parachuted safely to Earth earlier this month after a six-year roundtrip scientific journey …

DECEMBER 20, 1900: Michel Giacobini at Nice Observatory in France discovers the comet now known as Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. This is the parent comet of the Draconid meteor shower and is also the first comet to be visited by a spacecraft; it is a previous “Comet of the Week.”  DECEMBER 21, 1969: Comet Tago-Sato-Kosaka 1969g passes …

Perihelion: 2011 December 16.08, q = 0.006 AU  In the “Special Topics” presentation on Kreutz sungrazers eight weeks ago I mentioned that in 2007 Zdenek Sekanina and Paul Chodas published a paper wherein they predicted that a new “cluster” of sungrazers should be arriving within the next few decades, with “its earliest member possibly just several …

Ever since humankind began to discern the overall structure of the solar system a few centuries ago, i.e., that the sun basically resides in the center and the planets orbit around it, this has brought forth questions, for example, how did the planets, and the solar system as a whole, form? A second question would …

In astronomy, we have a common saying: “good luck, and clear skies”. For an eclipse chaser like me, this is especially important. We have two minutes and no second chance – one small cloud can spoil everything. Thousands of tourists turn up to see them, along with a few dozen scientists, for which the eclipse …

DECEMBER 13, 2012: China’s Chang’e 2 mission encounters the Apollo-type asteroid (4179) Toutatis, coming to within 3.2 km of the asteroid. Chang’e 2 and other missions to the solar system’s “small bodies” are discussed in a previous “Special Topics” presentation.  DECEMBER 14, 1807: A meteorite falls to the ground near Weston, Connecticut. An ordinary chondrite, …

Perihelion: 1680 December 18.49, q = 0.006 AU  This particular comet was undoubtedly one of the brightest comets of the 17th Century, but it is also one of the most important comets in history from a scientific perspective, and perhaps even from the perspective of overall human history. While there were certainly plenty of superstitions attached …

A detailed examination of a catalog of orbital elements of comets and/or asteroids will reveal that the orbits therein are not entirely random; rather, there will appear to be various objects that seem to share similar orbits. While in some instances these resemblances may be coincidental, in many more cases the similarities are real, and …

Tim Peake is the first official British astronaut to walk in space. The former Army Air Corps officer has spent six months in space, after blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station on December 15, 2016, but the spacewalk doubtless was his most gruelling test. But what exactly did he …

DECEMBER 6, 1997: Jim Scotti with the Spacewatch program in Arizona discovers the Apollo-type asteroid now known as (35396) 1997 XF11. This asteroid created a major stir the following year when orbital calculations indicated a very close approach to Earth would be occurring in October 2028, and even though subsequent calculations with more data moved …

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