The dramatic announcement by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in August 2012 to launch a mission to Mars surprised everyone. It went further. In order to catch the next Mars launch window ISRO committed to a launch in November 2013. Miss that and they will have to wait for at least two years for the next one. This is an extra-ordinarily bold undertaking for a space agency with the experience of only a single mission beyond Earth orbit under its belt.
Launched 15 years ago today, the Cassini Huygens mission has been one of the outstanding successes of solar system exploration and a model of NASA ESA collaboration. In episode 14 Professor John Zarnecki spoke about the science conducted from the surface of Titan by the Huygens lander in January 2005. The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe had [...]
As the dinosaurs on the Earth 64 million years ago discovered, comets and asteroids have the potential for unexpected arrival with devastating consequences. The spectacular collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July 1994 dramatically raised awareness and no doubt a little concern amongst the heads of governments across the planet. Since then, the [...]
A cram packed week – so much going on and the weather for the first half of this week is particularly cooperative for visitors to Manchester and observing the night sky. The weather can’t possibly last. I chose to miss out a couple of the evening events and do some observing. I was not able [...]
Title: From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life: The New Science of Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe Publisher : Nottingham University Press Author: Jerry L Cranford ISBN : 978-1-907284-79-3 Price: £24.99 [237 pages hardcover] Subtitled as “The new science of astrobiology and the search for life in the universe”, this [...]
“Falling to Earth”‘ is Al Worden’s autobiography, written with the British but USA based space historian Francis French. To mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 15, Worden has published the story of his mission as Apollo 15’s command module pilot (CMP) and its immediate aftermath of what came to be known as the “covers incident”, as the centre piece. With a foreword by Dick Gordon, an epilogue by Tom Stafford and further praise on the back cover from Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and John Glen, Worden has finally received the personal redemption from those that he considers matter most – fellow astronauts.
A man playing golf on the moon is one of the images permanently etched into the collective memory of humanity’s first exploration of the moon. The so called “golf player” was Alan Shepard the guy with him was Dr Edgar Mitchell whilst Stuart Roosa orbited the moon in the command module. Today, Ed Mitchell, two [...]
In size, mass and orbit Venus is the nearest Earth has to a twin in the Solar System. It is the brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon, hottest planet in the solar system, has a day longer than its year, is named after the Roman goddess of love and yet it [...]
On this day 40 years ago the crew of Apollo 11 fulfilled one of mankind’s longest held dreams and walked on the surface of the Moon. One of them Buzz Aldrin in episode 12 of ATUK, recalled a little of that experience. Today’s episode is a short recording with Fred Haise when he visited Pontefract [...]
Everyone who comes across the Antikythera mechanism goes through a phase initially of disbelief and then the awe inspiring realisation that something almost from another world actually exists in ours. Imagine William Shakespeare writing Hamlet using a laptop. Surely a ridiculous proposition he was about 300 years too early for that. He didn’t but today’s [...]