Tag Archives: science

A Balance Sheet on All of the Landings on Mars


Since the beginning of the space age there have been 17 landings on the surface of Mars, some of which were not successful. Initially the Soviet Union carried out two attempted landings in 1971, Mars 2 and 3, but the … Continue reading

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Recalling the First Vikings on Mars


The 20th of July marked the 39th anniversary of Viking 1’s touch down on Mars after a voyage of nearly one year, followed within a two months by Viking 2. The landings represented the culmination of a series of missions to … Continue reading

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“New Horizons” Reaches Pluto


The “New Horizons” spacecraft is a major NASA program to complete the initial exploration of all of the major bodies of the solar system. It was designed to help understand worlds at the edge of our Solar System by making the … Continue reading

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Chronology of Key Space Anniversaries for 2015


1945—70 Years Ago 4 July—The NACA’s Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) launched from Wallops Island, Maryland, its first test vehicle, a small two-stage, solid-fuel rocket to check out the installation’s instrumentation. The group soon began serious work to learn about … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Why Mars”


Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration. By W. Henry Lambright. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Preface, introduction, conclusion, notes, index. Hardcover. Pp. ix – 320. USD $45.46. ISBN: 978-1-4214-1279-5. W. Henry Lambright’s Why Mars: NASA and the … Continue reading

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Visions of Venus at the Dawn of the Space Age


As Earth’s “sister planet,” many have long speculated about the nature of Venus and the possibility of life existing there in some form. Through much of the nineteenth century observers harbored hopes that Venus might be a place  teeming with life. … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Faith, Science, and Understanding”


Faith, Science, and Understanding. By John Polkinghorne. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000. This book is a collection of lectures and essays pieced together to explore the themes exemplified in the title. At sum, each essay considers the relationship … Continue reading

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What is the Attraction of a Space Station?


There has been an international crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) since 2000. Why? What is it about the idea of a space station that has made it so important for the nations of the world. It seems that … Continue reading

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Homer Newell and the Beginnings of the NASA Space Science Program


When Congress established NASA in 1958 it explicitly charged the new space agency with “the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space.” In fulfillment of that mandateNASA created the Office of Space Sciences and installed as … Continue reading

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The Surveyor Landers on the Moon


Like so many other point of intersection, soft landing on the Moon with robotic probes proved a venue for Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The Soviets won that competition February 3, … Continue reading

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