Tag: space exploration

Back to the Moon

Popular Mechanics explains the plans. I’m really happy we’re heading back to the moon, but I found this paragraph depressing: It took pilots 50 years to progress from scarf-and-goggles barnstorming to setting down footprints on the Sea of Tranquility; it will have taken another half-century for us to return to the moon. Sigh. Oh, and …

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Huge water reservoirs hidden beneath the Martian surface?

The possibility has suddenly become far more likely. If…if…it pans out, a round trip to Mars just become both much more appealing and much easier. And the likelihood of life on the fourth planet much greater. (As an aside, note that the Mars atmosphere expert quoted at the end of the story is named David …

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The Viking probes 30 years ago may have found life on Mars..

…and then promptly killed it.

Gradatim ferociter revisited

It’s a funny thing, this Web we weave. I was startled today to see visits to this blog suddenly jumping up from the usual 30 or so a day to (at last count) 260. The last time something like this happened was when Kate at small dead animals linked to a column on curling. So …

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Check out these spectacular images of Saturn and environs just released by the Cassini team.

"Gradatim Ferociter!"

The veil has been lifted on the secretive Blue Origin private space program created by Jeff Bezos (of Amazon.com fame–and fortune). Their website now boasts photos and video of their recent first test flight. Oh, and the slogan means, more or less, “Bit by bit–ferociously!” And if you happen to be a rocket scientist–they’re hiring! …

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A manned mission to an asteroid?

It’s being seriously considered. There’s interest in asteroids for a range of reasons…for exploration, for pure science, resource utilization, as well as learning how to mitigate the threat from a sniping space rock that has its crosshairs on Earth. Neither Bruce Willis nor Clint Eastwood, I hasten to add, will be involved in any putative …

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The Viking landers may have found life on Mars…

…but weren’t sensitive enough to detect it. Turns out the Viking instruments can’t even detect life on Earth!

Apollo 11’s 35th anniversary

It’s hard to believe, for those of us of a certain age, but July 20 marked the 35th anniversary of the first manned moon landing (and, as it happens, the 35th anniversary of my 10th birthday, in case you’re wondering just what “a certain age” is). In January, President George W. Bush called for the …

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If you’re a kid interested in astronomy, as I was, there are few thrills to compare with your first view of the rings of Saturn. So you can imagine how excited astronomers (and ex-kids like myself) are with the imminent arrival of the International Cassini-Huygens Mission at Saturn. The $3 billion space probe, launched October …

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The Mars land rush

If you’re looking for an unpopulated spot to vacation in this winter, Mars isn’t it. In interplanetary terms, the Mars neighborhood is going to be rather crowded, as spacecraft from Europe and the United States descend on it in a kind of Martian land rush. It’s not a coincidence: the orbital mechanics involved have produced …

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Farewell to Pioneer 10

This week, we bid farewell to a true pioneer: Pioneer 10, the first spacecraft to leave our solar system. NASA last received a signal from Pioneer 10 on January 22. A February attempt failed, and last week NASA announced there would be no more attempts. That final faint signal traveled more than 12 billion kilometers—a …

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