Taxonomy term

space exploration

What's in a name: Rosetta, Philae, and 67P?

All of the names associated with the Rosetta mission, including the orbiter itself, the lander and all of the place names coined by mission scientists on 67P, refer to ancient Egyptian sites or deities, in homage to the Egyptian origin of the Rosetta Stone and Philae obelisk.

30 Sep 2016

Philae: Achievement and disappointment

Rosetta’s Philae lander made the first landing on the surface of a comet when it touched down on Nov. 12, 2014, three months after Rosetta began orbiting 67P. The landing, though historic, did not go as planned, and Philae was unable to accomplish much of the scientific program that had been scheduled for its 10 instruments.

30 Sep 2016

Rosetta's journey

Launch date: March 2, 2004

Launch place: French Guiana

Launch mass: Rosetta: 2,900 kilograms; Philae: 100 kilograms

Rosetta dimensions: 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.0 meters, plus two 14-meter solar panels

30 Sep 2016

Benchmarks: February 1962 and 1984: John Glenn and Bruce McCandless make space flight history

On the morning of Feb. 20, 1962, John H. Glenn sat inside the Mercury Friendship 7 space capsule, perched atop a rocket that had initially been designed to deliver nuclear warheads to the far ends of the world. That rocket would propel Glenn into space, and into the history books, as the first American to orbit Earth. 
 
07 Feb 2016

Comment: The new frontier: Homesteading on Mars

Once relegated to science fiction, the idea of humans colonizing Mars could become a reality. But the lack of an international agreement governing the colonization of other planets challenges us to think about how to use the resources of space fairly, efficiently and ethically.
25 May 2015

Geologic Column: Lessons from the final frontier

Somewhere, out there, beyond the stars Arcturus and Pollux, the TV signals from the final season of the original “Star Trek” are radiating outward. The series has been a teaching tool for a generation, and the programs offer multiple lessons for earth scientists.

03 Feb 2012

Opening up space travel to everyone

Jason Marsh is done waiting around for someone else to transport him into space.

Marsh, a system administrator near Washington, D.C., is preparing to launch a new website for his Open Space Movement (OSM — currently here), a nonprofit project that aims to be a platform for developing and funding aerospace technology — and will be open to anyone who wants to join in. 

31 Aug 2010

Bids in space: When should we outsource government science?

Government research and development has its limits: Time, money and bureaucracy can all hamper the timely progress of research. As a result, many federal agencies are looking to private companies to help drive new innovation and keep costs down — but it’s never that simple. Two current hot-button topics — returning humans to space and geoengineering — highlight a range of issues related to how private and public investment in science can coexist. This month, we focus on NASA.

30 Jun 2010

Down to Earth With: Buzz Aldrin

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made history when they landed and walked on the moon. The voyage left a lasting impression on Aldrin, who, at the age of 79, is one of the most vocal supporters of human space exploration.

03 Dec 2009

A tale of two rocks: Moon-like rocks right next door

Lunar exploration is once again in full swing. Japan’s Kaguya and India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellites are currently in orbit around the moon. China’s Chang’e spacecraft, after a successful mission, has been intentionally crashed on the moon. And the United States’ Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is preparing to launch. These are all unmanned missions; humans haven’t been to the moon in more than 30 years. But we will probably return in the next decade, and when we do, we hope to dig even deeper to uncover the moon’s secrets.

18 Jun 2009

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