Inspiration4 mission represents a new type of space tourism

S.S. Ellison Onizuka on way to ISS after successful launch

Northrop Grumman to launch its 16th resupply mission to the ISS

QuizMe: Pluto

Ingenuity ready for historic first flight on Mars

Without gravity, what happens to our cells in space?

Soleil Moon Frye wants to take Punky Power into space

Keeping Earth’s germs from contaminating Mars

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

Parker Solar Probe catches unexpected glimpse of surface of Venus

Perseverance beams back incredible video of landing on Mars

What medicines should we take to Mars?

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

Why are scientists trying to manufacture organs in space?

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

Hydrologist Fadji Maina’s path from Niger to NASA

Japan’s Hayabusa2 brings back dust and rock samples from asteroid

Comet of the Week: Lovejoy C/2011 W3

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 …

Perihelion: 2013 December 22.73, q = 0.812 AU  I’ve mentioned in some of the previous “Ice and Stone 2020” presentations that, until the appearance of Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 earlier this year, the northern hemisphere had not had what could be considered a “Great Comet” in well over two decades. We did have a moderately bright …

Ice And Stone 2020 Week 50 Throughout “Ice and Stone 2020” we have primarily been concerned with the objects we call “comets” and the objects we call “asteroids,” which collectively are “planetesimals” left over from the formation of the solar system. From an observational perspective, “asteroids” are stellar in appearance whereas “comets” are diffuse and …

NOVEMBER 29, 1996: A team of researchers led by Stewart Nozette publishes their paper describing the tentative detection of water ice at the moon’s south pole in radar experiments conducted with the U.S. Defense Department’s Clementine spacecraft. This detection has been confirmed by later spacecraft missions, and these efforts, and the overall significance of this …

Perihelion: 1992 December 12.32, q = 0.958 AU  One of the most prolific comet discoverers of the late 19th Century was the American amateur astronomer Lewis Swift, who did most of his observing from rural New York before relocating to southern California in the early 1890s. Swift discovered his first comet, a 7th-magnitude object, on July …

In most scientific disciplines, if we want to examine an object closely and in-depth, we can collect some kind of sample specimen of that object, take it to our laboratories, and perform any number of direct analysis examinations of that specimen. For the most part, in astronomy we can’t do that; we are usually restricted …

Humanity marked 20 years of continuous habitation of the orbiting International Space Station on November 2, 2020. We’re celebrating the milestone by posting a variety of articles about the ISS during this historic year. In our latest Word Search puzzle, we’ve hidden 39 words related to the ISS. The words may be placed horizontal, vertical, …

Will we someday colonize space? Will our children visit other planets? To achieve goals like these, we’ll need to crack one crucial challenge: how to feed ourselves for long periods away from Earth. A trip to Mars would take months, and exploring the depths of the galaxy would take even longer. Provision of nutritious food …

NOVEMBER 22, 2020: The Apollo-type asteroid (7753) 1988 XB will pass 0.066 AU from Earth. The best visibility will be next week when it travels west-northwestward through Leo, Cancer, and Gemini and will be 15th magnitude. Close approaches by near-Earth asteroids are the subject of this week’s “Special Topics” presentation.   NOVEMBER 25, 2005: JAXA’s Hayabusa …

Perihelion: 2013 November 28.78, q = 0.012 AU  I mentioned in the “Special Topics” presentation on “Great Comets” that such objects come by about once a decade, on average. Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3, which appeared back in July, could perhaps be considered a borderline “Great” comet, but prior to that, the last “Great Comet” for those of …

In the Week 2 “Special Topics” presentation I discussed the history and recognition of near-Earth asteroids and described some of the early observed encounters by these objects. What could perhaps be considered the most remarkable of these asteroids was a 10th-magnitude fast-moving object discovered on October 28, 1937, by Karl Reinmuth at Heidelberg Observatory in …

When SpaceX launches the Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft atop it from historic Launch Complex 39A, the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) will finally have reached fruition. Aboard Resilience will be three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut, all heading to the International Space Station for a six-month stay at the orbiting …

NOVEMBER 15, 1927: Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Wachmann at Hamburg Observatory in Bergedorf, Germany, discover a very unusual comet, 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1, that travels entirely between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn and that undergoes repeated outbursts at irregular intervals. It is this week’s “Comet of the Week.”  NOVEMBER 15, 2016: Polish astronomers Filip Berski and …

Perihelion: 1925 May 7.84, q = 5.475 AU  One of the most unusual and remarkable comets that we know about was discovered just a little less than a century ago, when on November 15, 1927, the duo of Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Wachmann at Hamburg Observatory in Bergedorf, Germany, found it on photographs as it was …

I first began to show an interest in astronomy when I was 6 years old, although my interests shifted between astronomy and various other scientific fields over the next few years. My father was an early riser, and one morning when I was 8 he was engaged in his normal morning routine when he noticed that …

It has been a long road from concept to flight for the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) culminating in the successful launch of the Demo 2 flight which launched May 30, 2020.  SpaceX now begins fulfilling its contract with NASA taking astronauts to the International Space Station and returning them home safely with the launch of …

As SpaceX prepares to launch NASA’s Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station, the Crew Dragon spacecraft has already distinguished itself from prior generations of space capsules.  Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020, and reached the ISS with no complications while testing out new features …

November 2 marked 20 years since the first residents arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). The orbiting habitat has been continuously occupied ever since. Twenty straight years of life in space makes the ISS the ideal “natural laboratory” to understand how societies function beyond Earth. The ISS is a collaboration between 25 space agencies …

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