Archive of: space

  • Ballet

    Last night I watched SpaceX launch Falcon Heavy and put their test payload (Elon Musk’s Tesla) into orbit. There were many highlights, not least the “Don’t Panic” on the Tesla’s dashboard, and the shot of a car in orbit around the earth, but for me, the synchronised landing of the outboard boosters sent a shiver up my spine. This was like something from the cover of the 70s science fiction novels I grew up with. It was balletic.

    Spacex falcon heavy landing

    You can watch the full launch, deployment, and landing here.

  • Hello Pluto

    10 years ago, I and 434,737 other people, filled out a form on the NASA website, submitting our names for inclusion on a CD that would be attached to the New Horizons probe for launch on January 19, 2006. Sent off to the outer Solar System to study Pluto.

    Today, 9 years later, at 12:03:50 UTC, those 434,738 names streaked past Pluto at over 36,000 miles per hour.

    Congratulations to everyone on the New Horizons team, and Hello Pluto!

    Pluto by LORRI and Ralph, 13 July 2015.jpg

  • It's got dents and burns

    You look at the shuttle, it’s not as if it’s this pristine, shining, gleaming piece of metallic technology – it looks like a ship, it’s got dents and burns and inside multiple crews have whacked the paintwork and you can see scratches and things. They are ships that have been operated and lived in and done these incredible voyages all with their individual characters.

    Piers Sellers, meteorologist and NASA astronaut.

  • Slow motion Apollo 11 Saturn V launch

    Stunning slow motion footage of the first 30 seconds of the Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch.

  • Space Shuttle launch as seen from the air

    It’s all been a bit space based round here recently, but this video is too good not to share, a Shuttle launch caught on video from an Air Canada flight.

    Hat tip: 37 Signals

  • What we look like from out there

    Sometimes you see things that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

    The Deep Impact spacecraft, with it’s original mission complete and now undertaking science under the EPOXI moniker, turned it’s cameras back towards the Earth from 50 million kilometers away and over the course of several hours caught The Moon transiting The Earth!

    Phil Plait sums it up beautifully:

    While there is science galore in these animations, I think their real impact is the visceral one from simply seeing them. As Carl Sagan once said: everyone you have ever met, every human who has lived and died, lived out their lives on that blue ball. And yet here we are, in the 21st century, plains apes allowed to evolve and satiate their curiosity, now with the ability to lob metal proxies into deep space, look back, and see ourselves.

    Science. I love this stuff.


  • Spectacular image of Comet McNaught

    Astronomy Picture of the Day has the most amazing image of Comet McNaught caught during the Australia Day celebrations in Perth.

    Sometimes the sky itself is the best show in town. On January 26, people from Perth, Australia gathered on a local beach to watch a sky light up with delights near and far. Nearby, fireworks exploded as part of Australia Day celebrations. On the far right, lightning from a thunderstorm flashed in the distance. Near the image center, though, seen through clouds, was the most unusual sight of all: Comet McNaught. The photogenic comet was so bright that it even remained visible though the din of Earthly flashes.

  • I'm going to Pluto

    I had completely forgotten about filling in the form on the NASA site for the New Horizons mission to Pluto, but lo and behold there I am!

    Myself and over 430,000 other names have been inscribed on a CD attached to the spacecraft, which is currently approaching Jupiter for a gravity assisted slingshot to the outer reaches of our Solar System. We’re due to arrive around July 2016.

  • Supercool