This week in space/astronomy history:
1. Gerald A. Soffen (February 7, 1926 – November 22, 2000) Viking (Mars) mission manager, he moved from a successful NASA project scientists to NASA educator. He now has a crater on Mars named after him.
2. Luna 9 (3 February 1966) made the first soft landing on the Moon (or first soft landing on any other object in the Solar System). 12th attempt. Operations lasted for about 3 days. Part of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme, it was another first for the Russians… so would they get the “ultimate” first and put the first human on the Moon? Interesting side story: the Russians initially delayed releasing images from the surface – but apparently used the internationally-agreed system for transmitting newspaper images. Jodrell Bank picked up on these signals, and so British newspapers picked up the images and distributed them worldwide! Motivations? Russians wanted higher quality pictures from Jodrell Bank but wouldn’t admit to asking for them… or Russian scientists didn’t want Russian politicians to politicize the event???
3. STS 41B, Space Shuttle Challenger, launched February 3 1984, saw the debut of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU). Astronaut Bruce McCandless flew the MMU. The MMU flew only 3 flights before being retired.
Show notes for Episode 180, January 6, 2014 Hosts: Paul, Jesse, Rob C. Title: From Galileo to Gaia
After long and restful vacation (read: too short and not enough turkey), the York Universe hosts are back to chat about the most recent and awesome space and astronomy stories. Today SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket containing a payload to Geostationary transfer orbit. Two planets move to opposite sides of our sky. And StScI released a great video of the light echoes created by RS Puppis, a Cepheid variable star. Hold onto your butts, show notes and podcast below.
Show notes for episode 176 Hosts: Paul, Rob B., Ryan, Pat Title: Dinosaurs: The Original Citizen Scientists!
The anniversary of the first Australian satellite is approaching, which makes our resident Australian smile. Comet ISON is continuing to stay in the headlines (first it outbursts, now it might be fragmenting). Ryan and Rob were at the Science Teachers Association of Ontario (STAO) conference; they fill us in on everything from critical thinking to Steve Spangler. Asteroids, comets, and dinosaurs (the original citizen scientists)…we could talk about this stuff for hours (but don’t worry…we don’t). Thanks for tuning in, podcast and show notes below.