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

The Rare Earth hypothesis

Ever since the pioneering work of Frank Drake (1930-) in 1960, astronomers have been looking for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilisations and have failed to find anything. This could be because Earth-like planets containing complex life forms (such as ourselves) are rare in the Universe and only a series of highly improbable events led to the… Continue reading The Rare Earth hypothesis

American manned spaceflight in 2018?

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 ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). This situation may… Continue reading American manned spaceflight in 2018?

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

12-13 August 2017 – the Perseids

Anyone who is disappointed that they will be missing the total eclipse can console themselves with another astronomical event - providing that they live in the northern hemisphere, that the weather is favourable (no clouds, please) and that they can get away from populated areas with too much light pollution. This astronomical event is the… Continue reading 12-13 August 2017 – the Perseids

Voyager 40th anniversary

Nearly 40 years ago, on 20 August 1977, the Voyager 2 space probe was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to study the Solar System's four outermost planets. It was followed 15 days later by the launch of an identical spacecraft, Voyager 1. The Voyager spacecraft -Image from NASA Although Voyager 1 was… Continue reading Voyager 40th anniversary