Archive Science & Astronomy
Science & Astronomy
12. April 2016

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!

Science & Astronomy
10. April 2016

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, of course, belongs to SpaceX, who not only launched the first Dragon transporter since the failure last year safely into space, but also brought the first stage back and landed it safely on a sea barge. The spacecraft has also arrived at the ISS now, so 2016 suddenly looks very bright again in space exploration after the somewhat worrying events in the last two years. SpaceX may have stolen the show this week, but there were a whole lot of other things happening which have been somewhat overshadowed by the big news. Let’s see what was going on…

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Science & Astronomy
3. April 2016

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, we had no Weekly Space Hangout, but there was still a lot going on – not all of it good, but most of it interesting. There was a fair share of broken things, most notably the still unknown status of JAXA’s Hitomo satellite and ULA’s sudden problems with the normally very dependable Atlas V workhorse, but on the other side a Progress  freighter made a perfect flight to the ISS and Blue Origin launched and landed its New Shepard for the third time. Plus lots of space exploration and science!

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Science & Astronomy
28. March 2016

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. I didn’t really expect the Easter edition of the news roundup to be that big and at first I wanted to skip a week because of the holidays, but in addition to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference there were actually a lot of other interesting things happening! Last week we had the Cygnus transporter arriving at the ISS with some drama afterwards about performance problems of the Atlas 5 rocket, more drama about ExoMars followed by debris of its exploded booster, comets buzzing the Earth, lots of fascinating news from the Pluto system courtesy of LPSC, an even closer look at Ceres’ spots and much more. Fasten your setabelts!

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Science & Astronomy
20. March 2016

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. It’s a bit less than last week, but the big events everybody has been waiting for have now happened: ExoMars has successfully launched and a new crew has also gone up to the ISS without problems. There were a few other interesting news, including the now very heated political fight around ULA, new Pluto science, Ceres still puzzling everyone with its spots which now seem to blink and exciting science experiments going up to the ISS on the Cygnus freighter next week.

And next week is also the Lunar and Planetady Science Conference, which will probably produce twice the amount of space and science news than usual. I highly recommend following Pamela Gay and Emily Lakdawalla on Twitter and looking at the #LPSC2016 hashtag is also a good idea! But now to this week’s news…

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Science & Astronomy
15. March 2016

Yeserday, the first Mars mission to touch down on the red planet since Curiosity in 2012 has launched. The joint ESA and Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter with its Schiaparelli lander is actually only the beginning of a two-part mission that will have a sequel in 2018 with the ExoMars Rover. So why is this so exciting? Originally, ExoMars was supposed to be a combined ESA and NASA mission before the US cancelled it for budget reasons in 2012. ESA saw this coming in late 2011 and had already talked to Roscosmos for a possible collaboration before the bad news actually came and fortunately the project was able to go ahead with Roscosmos as the new partner. ExoMars is really the Mars mission that almost did not happen! I don’t usually write articles like this one much anymore, but I’m making an exception because I’ve written about almost every Mars mission before and I just want to continue that. 

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Science & Astronomy
13. March 2016

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 a couple of stories that I hadn’t actually gotten around to share because there was so much going on. Last week I was thinking of giving up this weekly posting, but the feedback was so positive again that I decided to keep it going – at least as long as I have the time to put it together. And there were a lot of interesting things happening this week, although there wasn’t one story particularly standing out – that will probably come tomorrow when ExoMars has launched, but I wanted to post this on Sunday to get back into the regular rhythm. So here are a lot of good news for space and science with only a little bit of politics mixed in!

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Science & Astronomy
6. March 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. This was truly the week of all things happening with two events especially standing out: on late Tuesday, the One-Year-Crew of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko arrived back on Earth after 340 days in space and while we haven’t heard much from Korniyenko in the western press, Kelly was immediately in the spotlight walking around only hours after his return and giving lots of interviews. And on Friday, SpaceX finally got the SES-9 satellite into space on the fifth attempt with a flawless launch, although the first stage landing didn’t quite work out when the booster hit the drone ship too hard after a very hot re-entry – but the mission was still an amazing success. As usual, there was a lot of interesting stuff happening too, from some drama about fast radio bursts, fascinating news about clouds and ice canyons on Pluto, ESA’s ambitions to build a village on the moon and much more. Let’s go!

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Science & Astronomy
29. February 2016

This week’s round of space and science news is again a collection of articles I posted in my Space & Astronomy Collection on Google+ and in the WSH Crew Community. Edition #8 comes one day late because I wanted to wait for the SpaceX SES-9 launch… which was scrubbed yet again yesterday evening after the third attempt was first thwarted by a boat in the safety range and then by an engine shutdown miliseconds before launch. I also wanted to find out if The Martian had won any Oscars, but it didn’t even get one out of several nominations! But there were still a lot of other of very interesting news, so here is last week’s collection only slightly dominated by rocket launches and award disappointments.

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Science & Astronomy
28. February 2016

This is another edition of my now regular articles about the crew changes on the International Space Station – I posted the last one at the beginning of December, but an early Spring update is now in order because March is going to be a very busy month on the station. On Tuesday, the One-Year-Mission of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornivenko is coming to and end and they will be going back to Earth together with their fellow astronaut Sergey Volkov and then a new crew of three will arrive after slightly more than two weeks – but that is not all, because after that two uncrewed resupply flights, a Progress from Russia and a Cygnus from the US, will arrive in short succession. So there are at least two launches and one landing to watch out for in the next couple of weeks with more coming soon. Here’s the overview of what’s currently going on in space.

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