The giant impact hypothesis is the most widely supported theory for how the moon was formed, with research in 2014 adding support to this theory over other possibilities. Now UCLA-led research reconstructs a massive crash that took place 4.5 billion years ago (abstract, full article paywalled), supporting the theory that the Moon was produced by a head-on collision between Earth and Theia, a forming planet.
Edgar Mitchell, NASA astronaut, Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot, and outspoken alien visitation believer, has died at age 85. [more inside]
"Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA's Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead."
The China National Space Administration released all of the images from their Chang'e 3 moon landing mission (previously), including hundreds of amazing true color, HD photographs. Some 35 GB of datasets, including photographs of and by the Yutu rover have been difficult to retrieve outside of China and have been mirrored by Emily Lakdawalla at planetary.org.
"Unlike the names of almost every celestial body in the solar system, the names of the moons of Mars are words. They’re names, but they’re words as well.", Fortunato Salazar
If you hurry, you may be able to catch Apollo 17 taking off from the Moon.
"At some time in the future humanity will embark upon the most distant and most important journey it is ever likely to take. It will be necessary to travel 4.6 billion years into the past to complete a massive engineering project to create Earth's Moon." Who Built the Moon?
Live in North America? Do you have binoculars or, at the very least, eyes? Well then, you might be able to see Venus during the day today. That is, until the jerk Moon gets in front of it. [more inside]
A decades old mystery is now solved! After many attempts searching through Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) images, the Apollo 16 S-IVB rocket booster impact site has been identified. [more inside]
Remember the prototype lunar rover that was believed to be scrapped but was recovered by a junkyard owner? It just failed to sell at auction, and could be yours if you have an amount of money more than $30000 burning a hole in your pocket.
The Project Apollo Archive has uploaded to Flickr all photographs taken by the Apollo missions to the moon (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). [more inside]
Supermoon Lunar Eclipse! Coming to most of the world September 27th or 28th, 2015. There are many other cool visualizations, like this telescopic view or a view from the moon. Provided by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission of NASA.
The second man on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, recently shared his expense reports and other travel documents from his road trip with Neil and Mike.
Constellations throughout the ages ☆ Sun replaced with other stars ☆ Moon replaced with other bodies
This is a Nikon COOLPIX 9500 with 83x optical zoom. This is what you can do if you point it at the moon.
After months of undercover work, Williams and Moon had information on more than 40 suspects, but the department realized it didn’t have the funds or the manpower to round them all up. So it had to come up with clever ideas. “Cops used to offer parolees free tickets to the Detroit Lions, then arrest them,” recalls Peggy Lawrence, a Flint historian. On one occasion, Moon quietly arrested and locked up stolen property dealer, announced his death in the newspaper, and arrested gang members who showed up at his fake funeral. “Sometimes you gotta do things that are simply funny,” Moon later told a television reporter. “People gotta go to jail, but it don’t always have to be sad.” In 1990, the department planned a particularly elaborate operation: Officers would throw a fake wedding, invite all the suspects, and arrest them.
"Welcome to Moon Drawings. We invite you to contribute a drawing—which will be etched on a sapphire disc, sent to the Moon, and potentially traced by a robot rover into the Moon's soil." [more inside]
Always dreamed of living in a moon base, with a view of Earth and the stars out your bedroom window? Well, you may end up living in underground lava tube instead. The moon's lower gravity means that lava tubes wider than a kilometer could remain structurally stable there.
"In Creatures Such as We, living on the moon is lonely, and stressful, and exhausting. Video games have always offered you an escape to a better life. The easy, happy life you wish you had. Which makes it so frustrating when the game you’ve been playing ends badly. But you have a chance to figure it out, because the next tourist group is the game’s designers. You can debate with them about art, inspire them with the beauty of outer space, get closer to any one specific designer in particular, and finally find out how to get the ending you always wanted.[more inside]
It almost kind of looks like what the Earth looks like when you're a bazillion miles away, from the planet moon. (SLYT, QVC)
Forty-five years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon. It made him one of the most famous people in the world. And it has haunted the rest of his life.
If you ever wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong it's probably now archived at Purdue University. The first man on the moon saved over 70,000 pieces of personal correspondence, and that probably includes that letter you wrote in late July 1969 when you were in the 2nd grade.
We know space is big, but trying to understand how big is tricky. Say you stare up at the sky and identify stars and constellations in a virtual planetarium, you can't quite fathom how far away all those stars are (previously, twice). Even if you could change your point of view and zoom around in space to really see 100,000 nearby stars (autoplaying ambient music, and there are actually 119,617 stars mapped in 3D space), it's still difficult to get a sense of scale. There's this static image of various items mapped on a log scale from XKCD (previously), and an interactive horizontal journey down from the sun to the heliosphere with OMG Space (previously). You can get a bit more dynamic with this interactive Scale of the Universe webpage (also available in with some variants, if you want the sequel [ previously, twice], the swirly, gravity-optional version that takes some time to load, and the wrong version [previously]), but that's just for the scale of objects, not of space itself. If you want to get spaced out, imagine if If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel, and travel from there (previously). This past March, BBC Future put out a really big infographic, which also takes a moment to load, but then you can see all sorts of things, from the surface of Earth out to the edge of our solar system.
Tom Hanks, somewhat of an authority on going to the moon, wrote about it in The New Yorker. (You, too, can write like Tom Hanks!)
This is not the stirring tale of macho crew cuts and heroic deeds from The Right Stuff that is now a fat chapter in every U.S. high school history book. This is a tale replete with fumbling, bumbling, bickering and at least one insane-sounding notion. To nuke the moon.
On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data (JAD) Volume 19, somewhat via NPR and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system (Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed, 1845).
On July 21th, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin waited within paper thin walls on the surface of the Moon. Hours ago they had made history by being the first humans to land and walk on its surface. Now the only thing left to do was take off. All that entailed was performing the final test of the Lunar Module: launching from the lunar surface with no on-site support or possibility of fixes if something failed. [more inside]
NASA discovers hundreds of pits on the surface of the moon.
While the moon's surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft. (Previously.)[more inside]
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, is a system of three cameras mounted on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that capture high resolution photos of the lunar surface . . . .The LROC team assembled 10,581 NAC [narrow angle camera] images, collected over 4 years, into a spectacular northern polar mosaic.
Japanese Pocari Sweat sports drink is striving to go where no ad has gone before: the moon. Lunar Dream is their campaign to get kids to submit their dreams to include in a "dream capsule," on SpaceX's Falcon 9, as part of the company's first moon landing in October 2015. [more inside]
Experience the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing: This project is an online interactive featuring the Eagle lunar landing. The presentation includes original Apollo 11 spaceflight video footage, communication audio, mission control room conversations, text transcripts, and telemetry data, all synchronized into an integrated audio-visual experience. [more inside]
Camera Used by Astronauts on Moon "Pulls $940 Gs" at Auction — The history of Hasselblad cameras used (and perhaps abused) during the Apollo moon missions.
Goodnight Clock. In which the celestial accuracy of the children's classic Goodnight Moon is analyzed.
If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
Do the Apollo flags remain where they were planted or have they fallen or have they disintegrated after four decades of intense UV and heat? James Fincannon investigates flags left behind from Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions.
I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.[more inside]
In 1972, Tom Wolfe was assigned to do a piece for Rolling Stone on Apollo 17, NASA's last moon mission (Google book preview). That turned into a four-part series on the astronauts, written in a frantic three weeks. From there, he thought he could quickly expand the piece into a book (Gbp). But that book, on what makes an astronaut, ended up taking a much broader scope and more time. In 1979, The Right Stuff was published, and later was made into a well-regarded 3 hour movie. A few years later, Andrew Chaikin started on a similar path to Wolfe, more broadly documenting the US moon missions in his book, A Man on the Moon. The book was published in 1994, and HBO used it as the basis of a 12-part mini-series that they aired in 1998, titled From the Earth to the Moon. [more inside]
Why Country Music Was Awful in 2013. Grady Smith reviewed the 10 ten country albums in 2013. This was his response to the comments. [more inside]
The Sculpture on the Moon. "Scandals and conflicts obscured one of the most extraordinary achievements of the Space Age."
This Saturday, the Jade Rabbit will meet with Chang’e when China attempts its first landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon. [more inside]
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
"Take me to your [Sailor] Venus!"
Lady Gaga – Sailor Stars
Lady Gaga – Papercraft Roleplay Venus [more inside]
Lady Gaga – Sailor Stars
Lady Gaga – Papercraft Roleplay Venus [more inside]