When the Curiosity Rover arrived on Mars in 2012, I had put together a collection of useful links about the Mars missions, but I hadn’t updated it in a long time Recently, I got some questions about Mars on Google+ after posting one of the raw images from Curiosity and I think it’s time now for a revised edition of the link list so everyone can stay updated on their own. I originally started the list as a way provide all the information without having to write constantly about the Mars missions myself, something which others are doing much better. Nowadays I share all the space news on Google+ and specifically my Space and Astronomy Collection in addition to the WSH Crew Community. This is a completely redone edition of the link list, this time not only including NASA sites, but also the Mars missions from other agencies.
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It’s November 9 again and that means it’s time to almost forget about Carl Sagan Day like almost every year and get reminded by someone on the internet about it. Carl Sagan’s birthday should be celebrated especially on a day like this that will probably go down in history for something entirely else, which unfortunately also has before with quite a few negative historic connections here in Germany. Today it feels like we need to be reminded of something more positive and encouraging, so Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot seems to be entirely appropriate to read and listen to right now.
Sagan, who sadly passed away in 1996, has become more popular than ever since two years ago, when his seminal 1980 science blockbuster documentary Cosmos was re-imagined as Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, but with himself still very much part of it in spirit. Demystifiying science and invoking a sense of wonder that seems to be all but lost nowadays are still the most important goals every scientist, educator, teacher and everyone interested in science should have. This may be be even more important in the coming years in an increasingly science-unfriendly environment – sharing your own enthusiasm in all things science even if you’re not a scientist yourself is the best thing you can do. And that’s what I’m going to continue doing, too – we don’t need to turn everyone into a scientist, but spreading general scientific knowledge in the face of ignorance is more important than ever now.
This is the most political I’m ever going to get here, because one of my rules is not to write about politics on the web. I’m here for other things, but if science and politics intersect, exceptions are sometimes necessary.
It’s that time of year again – the Perseid Meteor Shower lottery is upon us! Will we see some meteors, or a LOT of meteors? Or will the curse strike us again? Everybody is talking about how great the meteor shower will be this year, but I’m very much in doubt that we will actually get to see them. The Perseids will peak on August 12 as usual, so the night from the 12th to the 13th will probably be the best chance to look for meteors, but generally the few days around the peak date are usually good too.
Unfortunately this year it looks like we won’t be able to see any meteors due to the absolutely abysmal weather we are having here in Germany at the moment – it’s not only raining buckets, but also very cold, so I’m afraid I’ll have to give the Perseids a miss this year. The only time I ever caught a Perseid meteor was in 2008 – I’ve been using that particular photo for all my Perseid posts.
If your weather looks good and you want to try watching, here are the usual links: If you want to know more about the Perseids, Universe Today has a really good Observer’s Guide written by David Dickinson and Fraser Cain’s short explainer video about meteors in general is also very recommended. In short, if you have a reasonably clear view of the sky to the east and northeast, you are all set to go! You don’t even need any fancy equipment, just your eyes and some patience are enough.
I’m sorry that I haven’t had much time for this blog lately – the reasons are in the previous post and while I’m slowly recovering, I have been very busy. Nevertheless, I have actually been somewhat active on the web elsewhere – I’m still posting daily on my Photography Blog and the WSH Crew Community Web Portal is also being updated regularly.
What I had to give up, though, is the weekly Space & Science News Roundup – it’s a lot of effort and I was thinking about retiring it anyway for some time. It was mainly a way to collect links for those who are not following my Google+ Space & Astronomy Collection or the WSH Crew Community because I unfortunately don’t have the time to crosspost to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. The Weekly Space Hangout, Astronomy Cast and Learning Space are also on summer break until early September, but if you want to stay up to date, you can also gather the news yourself from the same websites we like to visit.
Instead of a weekly posting, here is a list of space news sites, blogs and some of my Twitter lists for easy do-it-yourself news reading. I recommend using Feedly as a RSS reader for the websites – it is as easy to use as the old Google Reader and is supported by many apps on different platforms.
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This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community, plus a couple of additional ones that caught my attention. Does SpaceX take the headlines for a fourth week in a row? There were some news from the Dragon splashdown and the booster arrival, but I think Kepler wins this week with the announcement of over one thousand newly confirmed exoplanets and even nine in the habitable zone of their stars. A lot of other things have, of course, happened, but overall it has been somewhat quiet this week – except for a triple-feature hangout Friday! Check the playlists on our WSH Crew Website, there are two new episodes of Astronomy Cast and a great Weekly Space Hangout to watch!
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This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community, plus a couple of additional ones that caught my attention. For the third week in a row, SpaceX takes the headlines, this time with another successful satellite launch and an even more difficult booster landing on sea. But that was not all SpaceX was up to this week, because there was also a surprising new price chart, superhero spacesuits and some speculation about the Falcon Heavy, so the first four headlines belong to them. Of course there were some other interesting news this week too, so here’s my very personal and subjective selection.
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This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community, plus a couple of additional ones that caught my attention. This week, SpaceX again takes the top spot with the surprisde announcement of an uncrewed Mars mission in just two years! Having shaken up the rocket launch business with their successful landing of the Falcon 9 booster wasn’t enough – now Elon Musk has chosen Mars as a new target, which is, of course, not really a big surprise given his occasional previous remarks about the red planet. Also in the news were the first launch from Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport, lots of politics mainly about the RD-180 rocket engine, a new moon for a dwarf planet and much more. As usual, this is just a highly subjective selection of the space news of this week, but I’ve tried to include everything noteworthy.
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This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community, plus a couple of additional ones that caught my attention. This week, I’m beginning to question the title of this post – do I have too much space and astronomy and not enough science in here? I don’t know and I actually chose the title just because it sounds good, but I actually like to keep the focus on space and astronomy with only a bit of unrelated science thrown in. This week there was nothing major that overshadowed the rest, but a lot of very interesting things have happened, including some very fascinating astronomy, space exploration and even space business news that just kept coming and coming! And as usual you can watch Friday’s Weekly Space Hangout which has some of the news in this article talked about in more detail.
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This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community, plus a couple of additional ones that caught my attention. This week was the 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight, the first time humanty had left the Earth – on this occasion, there were two amazing announcements: Bigelow Aerospace and ULA joining forces to bring inflatable habitats into space and Stephen Hawking’s and Yuri Milner’s Project Starshot – the latter one is much more conceptual than the first at the moment, but this could be a turning point in space exploration. Together with the successful sea recovery of SpaceX’s Falcon 9, we surely live in interesting times regarding space and science. Otherwise, it’s been almost all good news across the board this week including the recovery of Kepler – here are the headlines that grabbed my attention.
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It’s April 12 again and as every year, I almost forgot about Yuri’s Night again and for that reason I’m simply adapting last year’s post and added a few new links and other information to it. Yuri’s Night is an open, worldwide celebration of humanity’s first spaceflight on April 12th, 1961, which was also the first flight of the Space Shuttle twenty years later. It’s not about Soviet spaceflight or Yuri Gagarin specifically, but actually the fact that this was the beginning of human space exploration itself. It’s not about politics at all, which is especially important nowadays because of the strained relations with Russia, but only a way to raise more public interest about space exploration. This is why Yuri’s Night has also been called the World Space Party, a celebration that humankind had ventured off its home planet for the first time.
The number of events on the Yuri’s Night website is still not back at the all-time record of over 300 in 2013, but has gone up a bit from last year with over 250 star and space parties listed. There are even quite a few in Germany, but like every year, unfortunately nowhere near where I live. But the organizers leave it up to everbody to make up their own event – throw a star party, just meet somewhere, screen a movie or hold an online event! Everybody can celebrate in their own way, but the organizers would just appreciate if you would let them know what’s going on so they can list it on their website.
As usual, the lack of clear skies prevent me from really celebrating again, because like every year, on April 12 the clouds come rolling in. I’m not aware of any online events happening today apart from the rather curious fact that the Yuri’s Night team has made a commercial partnership of sorts with Disney. But April is also Global Astronomy Month and Astronomers without Borders president Mike Simmons was a guest on the Learning Space Hangout last week! He’ll also do a hangout about astrophotography on April 19 and will be a guest on the Weekly Space Hangout on April 22. If you want to do some digital stargazing, I can also recommend the successor to the Virtual Star Party called the Global Star Party, which is happening almost every weekend now and already has 37 episodes to watch in addition to the over 100 past shows from the VSP.
And while I’m not reposting the article with my collection of space-themed reviews over on DVDLog this year, I still recommend having a look at all those movies and television series – and maybe I’ll write a short article about an amazing coincidence involving the recent SpaceX rocket landing and an old soviet space movie later this week. And as always, keep watching my stream on Google+, especially the Space & Astronomy collection to find out more – and you can join us in the WSH Crew Community to keep track of all the space news and hangouts there and on our new website! And keep watching the skies… if you don’t have clouds overhead, you might see six humans in a big space station flying overhead. Some of them are even on Twitter and are posting photos and more from space every day!