New e-book from The Science Geek on Venus

For the last few months I have been writing an e-book on the planet Venus, the planet closest to the Earth in distance, size and internal composition, and the third brightest natural object in our sky after the Sun and the Moon.  The book is now finished and is available to download in Kindle format… Continue reading New e-book from The Science Geek on Venus

Soyuz MS-11

On 3 December 2018 a Soyuz spacecraft will take off on a mission to transport three astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The new crew will be ISS Expedition 58 and will stay at the station for six months and their arrival will allow the current ISS crew to return to Earth. Mission patch… Continue reading Soyuz MS-11

The future of the International Space Station

After the Soyuz spacecraft failed to get into orbit on 11 October 2018, it looked like Soyuz flights to the ISS might be on hold for a period of time and that the ISS would even need to be temporarily abandoned. Fortunately this has proved not to be the case and the next Soyuz will… Continue reading The future of the International Space Station

Space stations past and present

The International Space Station (ISS) is now 20 years old. In this post I’ll talk about the history of the ISS and other space stations, and I’ll also touch on some of the politics involved. Image from NASA   Early space stations   Although America was the first country to put a man on the… Continue reading Space stations past and present

The International Space Station updated

Since the publication of the original post on 2 August 2018, NASA have delayed the planned launch dates for the American spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. In my original post I referred to the Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft taking astronauts this year, which was an ambitious target, bearing in mind that it… Continue reading The International Space Station updated

The International Space Station

Note 10 September 2018.  The information in the section 'Getting to and from the ISS' has been superseded by information in the updated version of this post. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS). Image from NASA. The first module of the ISS, called Zarya, was launched by a Russian… Continue reading The International Space Station

Methane on Mars

I was very excited to read about the discovery published last week by NASA’s Curiosity rover of the seasonal variation in the amount of methane in Mars’ atmosphere. Curiosity found that the average methane concentration varied from 0.24 parts per billion (ppb) in the northern hemisphere winter to around 0.65 ppb in the summer. This… Continue reading Methane on Mars