Category Archives: space exploration

Dec. 24: Earthrise: First seen from space 50 years ago today.

Reader Jon sent me the link to this NASA video of “Earthrise”, first seen on this day in 1968. I’ll just put up Jon’s comment and the reconstructed video, based on both photos and analyses of where the spacecraft was when Earthrise was seen. In fact, I’m posting this at the exact time when Earthrise […]

Three minutes until launch of Space-X’s CRS-16

This rocket will resupply the International Space Station. Watch NOW! If you missed the launch (successful so far), the booster is going to do the patented Space-X vertical recovery at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, December 5 for the launch of its sixteenth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-16) to the International Space Station. Liftoff […]

It’s time to watch the Mars landing!

It’s time to watch the InSight probe land–NOW!  A live video from NASA is below. Seven minutes until separation. and about 22 minutes till touchdown! Remember that it takes light (and radio signals) three minutes to get from Mars to Earth, so we won’t know whether the landing is successful until 182 seconds after it […]

Mars InSight probe lands today

Reader Jon kindly reminded me this morning (after letting me know last week) that NASA’s InSight “stationary lander”,  launched from Earth on May 5, will—if all goes well—touch down today at about 20:00 UTC (3 p.m. Eastern time in the U.S.). The distance of the journey: over 301 million miles! The lander is basically a probe that […]

Apollo 11 lift-off

Here’s a high-speed film the Apollo 11 rocket, the Saturn 5, taking off on its way to the Moon on July 16, 1969.  We see 30 seconds of actual time, but it’s slowed down to last nearly 9 minutes by the filming, done at 500 frames per second. The lunar module landed on in the […]

Astronaut Alan Bean confronts a Moon-landing denialist

Astronaut Alan Bean (born 1932), the fourth person to walk on the Moon, died yesterday at age 86. His moonwalk was in 1969, and, after participating in the Skylab program, he retired in 1975 to devote himself to painting. Here’s a photo of him on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission: Bart Sibrel is […]

Chinese space station plummeting to Earth: impact or breakup imminent

The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 is supposed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere at about 12:30 a.m. UTC, or about 1.7 hours from this posting.  It’s not clear exactly where it’ll land, or if any pieces will make it to Earth, but the latest prognostication is somewhere off the west coast of South America. It’s been […]

Live NASA stream from the ISS shows spacewalk—with a trigger warning for flat-Earthers!

Reader Paulina from Poland called my attention to this live feed from the International Space Station (ISS), a feed I didn’t know existed.  If you look right now, it appears to show a spacewalk. But it also, as always, shows the curvature of the Earth. But the weird thing about it is this warning at […]

A real-time Earth orbit

I still remember that when John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, did his three circuits in 1962, it took about ninety minutes per orbit. Apparently that’s still the case, and this video, made from photos taken by the International Space Station, shows a complete orbit in real time. It’s 92½ minutes long, […]

SpaceX Heavy Test Flight

Here’s the video of Tuesday’s SpaceX launch, which I was unable to watch live as I was being interviewed (more on that later).  The Falcon Heavy launch was successful in nearly every way (one of the three boosters, supposed to land on a platform at sea, crashed). The synchronized landing of the other two boosters, […]