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  The information in the section 'Getting to and from the ISS' has been superseded by information in the updated version of this post.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

American manned spaceflight in 2018?

This post has been superseded by the later post American spaceflight in 2019  As readers of a previous post will know, since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in July 2011, America has been unable to put any astronauts into orbit around the Earth. Instead, it has been reliant on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to… Continue reading American manned spaceflight in 2018?

A Christmas gift from The Science Geek 2017

  Christmas is almost upon us. Once again I'm offering my e-books for free during the first five days of December!  Just call me Father Christmas :-). "Is Anyone Out There?" is about the likelihood of there being extraterrestrial intelligent life.  It is based on a number of posts from my blog.  For readers based in the UK the… Continue reading A Christmas gift from The Science Geek 2017

The early days of the space race

In my previous post I talked about two significant successes for the Soviet Union in 1957: the first artificial satellite in orbit in October and the first living creature, a dog named Laika, in orbit in November. In December of that year the Americans had a humiliating failure when the Vanguard spacecraft exploded in a… Continue reading The early days of the space race

4 October 1957 – the start of the space age

Exactly sixty years ago today, on 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit around the Earth. This is considered to be the beginning of the space age. Before this date there were no man made satellites in space but on every single day since then there have been… Continue reading 4 October 1957 – the start of the space age