Showing blog posts tagged with Space Exploration
by AMNH on
In December 1957, two months after the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik 1, the first human-made object to enter space and the catalyst for the space race, the Museum published a memo titled “Calling All Scientists,” which observed how the lone satellite had shifted the public appraisal of scientists. “[P]ress people dashed up to the museum to get the Planetarium staff to help them explain to the public what had happened,” the memo read. “The scientists are now being turned to for guidance.”
by AMNH on
Imagine a mirror as wide as a football field at the South Pole of the Moon. Instead of polished glass, its surface is made of a reflective liquid, which spins in a circle.
Scientists hope to make this vision into a reality one day by using a liquid mirror to build a giant lunar telescope that would allow astronomers to see farther into the universe than ever before. In the Museum’s special exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, visitors can see two liquid mirror telescopes: one featured as part of a Moonscape diorama, the other, an interactive model that can be operated with the push of a button.
by AMNH on
Below, astrophysicist Michael Shara, who curated the forthcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, explains how a lunar elevator would work—and why it might inspire a new sport.
We humans are barely toddlers when it comes to space exploration. Our first baby steps off our home planet 50 years ago took us to low Earth orbit. By 1973, 12 intrepid men had walked on the moon’s surface. Since then we have sent robots to every planet in our solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that the ordinary matter we are made of comprises only 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The Kepler orbiting telescope has proved that billions of worlds orbit the stars of our Milky Way galaxy. What will we accomplish in space in the coming centuries, as our steps become surer and bolder?
by AMNH on
After only six months in orbit about Mercury, a NASA spacecraft has collected measurements that have discredited most theories about how our solar system’s innermost planet formed. Data gathered by instruments on MESSENGER reveal that Mercury’s surface has Earth-like levels of potassium and an even higher sulfur abundance, evidence that is at odds with most theories for how the super-dense planet came to be.
Launched in August 2004, MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging. It entered orbit about Mercury—the first spacecraft to do so—in March of this year.
Some of these new findings, published in a set of seven Sciencepapers available online today, were first predicted in 2003 by Denton Ebel, curator in the Museum’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Conel Alexander, a researcher in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The two scientists recently published a separate paper highlighting their model in Planetary and Space Science.