Tag Archives: science

One for the Record Books: The Stardust Sample Return Mission


This is one of the most interesting, but little known, missions NASA has ever undertaken. Stardust was the first U.S. space mission dedicated solely to returning extraterrestrial material from beyond the Moon. I am pleased to have played a role in … Continue reading

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Some Thoughts on Walter Cronkite and the Space Program


Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) was the longtime anchor of the CBS evening news between  1962 and 1981. A dedicated journalist, he became a voice of trust for many Americans in the 1960s, providing news summaries and commentary on the most critical … Continue reading

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Announcing the Publication of “Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It”


David H. DeVorkin and I have just published a collected work on the history of the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It appeared in August 2014 (ISBN 978-1-935623-32-8) as part … Continue reading

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Three Zones of the Solar System


The solar system consists of the Sun and the objects bound to it through gravity. This includes the Sun, eight planets (since 2006 when Pluto was redesignated as a dwarf planet), their 158 currently known moons, and a large number of … Continue reading

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Extremophiles, Surveyor III, and the Possibility of Life Beyond Earth?


One of the most unusual stories of the U.S. lunar landing program of the 1960s involved the Surveyor III camera that journeyed to the Moon on April 20, 1967, and sat exposed on the lunar surface for 31 months before … Continue reading

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The Transit Program and the Origins of Nuclear Power Systems for Spaceflight


Since the dawn of the space age more than 50 years ago, the United States has pursued a variety of methods for delivering electrical power to spacecraft in flight. Nuclear power systems are the only ones that have been found … Continue reading

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That Was the Year That Was: Civil Space 2013


We say this about every year, but 2013 was memorable in so many ways that I cannot begin to catalog them all. As a result, let me confine my remarks to three accomplishments that I consider the most significant taking … Continue reading

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Humanity and the Extreme Environment of Space


It seems that microbial life is capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space. Even so, for Homo sapien sapiens the space environment remains remarkably dangerous to our lives. Is it a place humans might ultimately move to on a … Continue reading

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Redirect: “Voyager 1 Finally Leaves Solar System—for Real This Time”


Science writer Clara Moskowitz  has a good article at Scientific American on how Voyager 1 has left the Solar System. Congratulations to the “little spacecraft that could” after 35 years of continuous operations. Check out the story here. In addition, … Continue reading

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Proposed Syllabus for “Spaceflight and Society” Course, Fall 2013


I am the instructor for a course at Johns Hopkins University in the Fall 2013 semester with the title, “Spaceflight and Society.” I taught this class in the fall of 2011 as well and had a great time doing it, … Continue reading

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