Tag Archives: astronomy

Mars Lander Team Prepares for “Seven Minutes of Terror”


If you have seen the amazing movie Apollo 13, or if you were alive during those dramatic days when NASA and the astronauts aboard Apollo 13 worked around the clock to return three astronauts home safely after a huge explosion, then you will remember the moments of terror when communication with Apollo 13 was disrupted and how the world waited in silence for the crew to speak so we would know they were okay.
This is the same kind of terror that the NASA team is preparing for on May 25th. Minutes of silence when they will lose communication with the Mars Lander, Phoenix. They are praying that communication will resume and the landing will be successful, but there is always a chance that during that critical time, communication will be lost forever.
If successful, the probe will be the first lander to reach a Martian pole and the first to actually touch the planet’s water ice.The tension for this mission seems especially intense, since Phoenix is not the first craft to attempt a landing at a Martian pole.
I have been fascinated with the images the Rovers have sent back to Earth. I think it would be awesome for astronauts to visit Mars. I want our world to reach out to the stars to explore, and to me, this seems like the logical next step. With bated breath, I will be waiting to see how things go on the 25th. Good luck, Phoenix!

National Geographic Headlines: Archaeology, Astronomy, and Animals

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that i love learning about animals, space and anything to do with archaeology. I have been so busy with cleaning and homeschooling and life, that I am a bit behind with sharing the interesting things from National Geographic. I have over 90 stories to wade through. I only share the ones most interesting to me here, and currently, I don’t link to the videos because my computer is getting a tad ancient and I can’t watch the videos anymore (there is a new laptop in my future…probably April), but I don’t want to link to videos when I don’t know what is in them. Anyway, since I don’t want to right up a kazillion posts to catch up, I am going to briefly share links that interest me in this post in order to get caught up. And maybe some photos to.
1. Mysterious Pyramid Complex Discovered in Peru – what fascinates me about stories like this is the fact that we find pyramid and pyramid shapes all over the world. This vast ceremonial site is believed to have been used by a little known ancient culture, Vicus.
2. Ancient Maya Used “Glitter” Paint to Make Temple Gleam – A new study of paint flakes taken from masks on the temple’s exterior found that the Maya used mica to make the temple’s colorful paint glimmer in the sun. It appears, glitter paint has been around for a long, long time! We love glitter paint in our house. We used it on our snowmen, our pine cones and whatever else we want to give an extra sparkle!

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Tourist Spacehip Unveiled!


Entrepreneur Richard Branson and aircraft designer Burt Rutan unveiled this model of SpaceShipTwo—a shuttle planned to start ferrying tourists into space within a few years—in New York on January 23, 2008.
Within a few years a handful of rich tourists may be blasting into space in a craft that combines the aesthetics of the space shuttle and a corporate jet.
British billionaire Richard Branson and aerospace designer Burt Rutan unveiled a model Wednesday of SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle they hope will take passengers on suborbital joy rides.
“Breathtakingly beautiful,” was Branson’s assessment of the ship, which is now under construction at a hangar in the Mojave Desert and which may begin test flights as soon as this year.
I don’t know that I will ever be privledged enough to ride in such a vehicle, but I have always been attracted to space travel, and I hope that the private sector continues to work in this arena for future generations!
Photo and story courtesy of National Geographic

Saturn Moonlet’s Shed Light On Rings of Saturn


Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Saturn’s rings are seen here in a panoramic mosaic of 165 images taken by the Cassini spacecraft. The color contrast has been greatly exaggerated to better show the color and size differences between the rings.
Saturn’s rings are one of the most mysterious and beautiful sights in our universe. For a long time scientists have believed the rings are created by matter left over from Saturn’s formation. New information leads them to believe that the rings are particles that have been left behind by the pulverization of a large moon in Saturn’s orbit.
Hat Tip: National Geographic