Tagged: NASA

Six space missions to look forward to in 2021 - Guest Work

Guest Author Jan 05, 2021

Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University and Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham Space exploration achieved several notable firsts in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, including commercial human spaceflight and returning samples of an asteroid to Earth. The coming year is shaping up to be just as interesting. Here are some of the missions to keep an eye out for. Read More

Big Eye Wide, But Shut - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Nov 23, 2020

A few days ago the US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced the decommissioning of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. This story has been the subject of items in the mass media around the globe, and also in New Zealand. Cables supporting the massive horns and radio receivers above the dish have snapped, the actual dish surface has been … Read More

Water on the Moon? - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Oct 27, 2020

The space news this week is largely focused on an announcement from NASA regarding the discovery of water on the Moon. Not liquid water – the lunar surface is far too cold for that – but apparently ice deposits in the surface layers in near-polar regions, and perhaps deeper below the surface too. Finding water on the Moon in an … Read More

First recorded ‘marsquakes’ reveal the red planet’s rumbling guts - Guest Work

Guest Author Feb 25, 2020

Katarina Miljkovic We’ve all heard of earthquakes, but what about marsquakes? NASA’s InSight mission has, for the first time, recorded seismic activity coming from Mars’ interior. The observations, recorded in 2019 and published today, will help understand the red planet’s internal structure, composition and dynamics. It opens a new chapter in planetary geophysics and exploration. The NASA InSight … Read More

All Blacks take a bath in Beppu - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Sep 28, 2019

The All Blacks are currently resting up in the Japanese spa town of Beppu, awaiting their next game. Like Rotorua and several other spa towns spread around the globe, Beppu has an impact crater on asteroid (951) Gaspra named for it.  Perusing the intellectual pages (i.e. the sports section) in The Press this morning whilst sipping coffee at Yaza! in … Read More

A new crater on the Moon - Out of Space

Duncan Steel May 21, 2019

The scar on the lunar surface produced when the Israeli space probe ‘Beresheet’ slammed into the Moon on April 11 has just been spotted using an orbiting NASA satellite.  Three nations have so far landed spacecraft on the Moon: the USA, the Soviet Union/Russia, and China. A fourth nation, Israel, has attempted to join this club, but its probe (named Beresheet) … Read More

Imagine an asteroid impact due in 2027: How would you tackle it?   - Out of Space

Duncan Steel May 09, 2019

It’s now scientifically possible to predict potential asteroid impacts years in advance. But knowing that such a calamitous event is going to occur, due to the clockwork of the heavens, presents its own problems. Can we divert it, and if so, how? Similarly, if the impact is inevitable, can we model what is going to happen far ahead of time, … Read More

Space Station and docked Dragon capsule visible throughout NZ - Out of Space

Duncan Steel Mar 04, 2019

As I write, the Dragon capsule – a spacecraft intended to loft US astronauts into orbit – has been docked with the Space Station for almost 18 hours on its initial test flight. It happens that you will be able to see the station plus capsule passing over New Zealand each evening for the next week or so, before the … Read More

Colonising Mars means contaminating Mars – and never knowing for sure if it had its own native life - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 20, 2018

David Weintraub, Vanderbilt University The closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist is Mars, and human beings are poised to attempt to colonise this planetary neighbour within the next decade. Before that happens, we need to recognise that a very real possibility exists that the first human steps on the Martian surface will lead … Read More