Planet Nine… is it really there? Ever since the discovery of Pluto and then its subsequent demotion to dwarf planet status, astronomers have been on the hunt for yet more denizens of the outer solar system. The Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt, initially theory and then proven to exist, stretching out from beyond the orbit of Neptune, appears […]Read more "Planet Nine… from Outer Space"
This last week China announced their plans to place a robotic rover on the Martian surface by 2020. This now means that NASA, ESA, China and SpaceX have firm plans to deliver landers to Mars within the next 8 years. With multiple orbiters around the planet, it seems that 40 years on from Viking, once […]Read more "The Red Planet & the Race to Mars"
Mercury, the nearest planet to the Sun, recently made the headlines again due to the success of the robotic Messenger mission. For this post however, I’d like to look at another great “Mercury” adventure. A great deal of debate still rages on in U.S politics at the moment. The candidates, of which there are two, are […]Read more "Mercury Rising: The New Frontier"
This week we saw Elon Musk’s SpaceX company nail yet another flawless touchdown on a floating platform. After sending yet another payload in to orbit, the reusable first stage reentered the Earth’s atmosphere, headed back toward the landing site, a feat which some accomplished helicopter pilots would struggle with, and all via software and remote/autonomous control. We marvel […]Read more "SpaceX Touchdown… again"
One of the hot topics in the world of space collectors right now is one relating to the sample return bag used on Apollo 11 for collecting the lunar rocks, which for over 46 years have provided scientists with some of the most remarkable examples of material in any lab, anywhere. Many of you will […]Read more "For All Humankind"
Recently I expect that many of you may have seen some of the stunning new images coming from the Cassini spacecraft, which, being the largest deep space probe ever launched to the outer solar system, is still delivering, 12 years on, incredible science from its traverse around Saturn and its moons. The latest batch of images, […]Read more "In a Cavern…in a Lunar Canyon"
A few days ago, I was thinking about some of the arguments for and against human spaceflight. Professor Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, was recently cited as saying that we should stop placing people into space. Tim Peake, the recent European Space Agency British astronaut, after returning from a 6 month mission, was the […]Read more "No Greater Love…"
Look at any area of scientific research, from medicine to nuclear physics, and you will see that all have made such significant progress over the last 50 years. From computer science, in an era in the early 1960’s when the like of IBM’s president stated “The world would not need more than 5 computers”, and at […]Read more "Ground Control to Major Tom…"
In an article posted today by MSNBC’s superb space science writer Alan Boyle, the Moon Express organisation now look like they will be able to launch their spacecraft to the Moon as early as next year. The deadline for the Google Lunar X Prize being 2017, this means the $20 million prize could still be […]Read more "We Choose to go to the Moon… and Mars…."
Can it really be the case that almost fifty years have passed by since the last time human beings set foot on another world? The Apollo 11 landing site, its flag, fading in the glare of a relentless bombardment of solar radiation? In an era where we take so much for granted, when technology lets […]Read more "The next “Giant Leap”"