No, this is not an eclipse. Earthshine is a fun phenomena that mimics the bright light from the full Moon illuminated the Earth but in reverse. In this case, a crescent Moon waxing or waning near the time of a new Moon has the shadowed part of the Moon lit up by the reflected light from the Earth, which in the lunar sky is bright and almost full. An extraterrestrial interchange from what Earthbound observers are used to seeing with […]
The second phase, or extension, if you will, of the Apollo Program is coming to light 50 years after it should have been initiated. Better late than never, I guess. Plans to return astronauts to the Moon, this time to build a small space station called Gateway in lunar orbit, with astronauts visiting the surface for longer periods of exploration, are starting to come together under the name of Artemis. According to NASA, “Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and […]
NASA decided to quarantine the Apollo 11 astronauts and their lunar samples immediately upon opening the spacecraft hatch after splashdown on 24 July 1969 to guard against the remote possibility of the Apollo astronauts returning from the Moon infected with extraterrestrial diseases. The reverse was also true. Scientists wanted the lunar samples quarantined against any chance of contamination by terrestrial organisms to keep the lunar samples as pure as possible for study. According to NASA, “The MQF [Mobile Quarantine Facility] […]
Lunar Module-2 built my Grumman Aerospace Corporation in the mid-1960s was held by NASA as a spare if the unmanned test flight of Lunar Module-1 was not successful. Following the successful completion of that flight, there was no longer an urgent need to fly LM-2 in space so the vehicle remained Earthbound and was used in integration testing with other components of the flight hardware, especially the Saturn V rocket. By 1969 NASA had no further need for LM-2 so […]
The Moon as seen from the backyard in the early morning hours of 20 July 2019 on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. When Apollo 11 landed on the Moon 50 years ago it was a Moon waxing to Full. On this anniversary, the Moon is just past Full and is waning.
In commemoration of the Apollo Moon Landings, Hallmark produced an extraordinary pop-up book in 1969 called Astronauts on the Moon: The Story of the Apollo Moon Landings with the story by Stanley Hendricks and with illustrations by Al Muenchen. Paper mechanics and layout was by Howard Lohnes. Having owned a ragged copy of this book I was delighted to find in a northern California thrift store a pristine copy for only a quarter. Below are images from the book showing […]
A relic of the old railroad running right up along the beach to Launch Pads 39A & B dates back to the Apollo days at Kennedy Space Center when the 20th Century journey to the Moon got an assist from a 19th Century innovation.
Looking forward to tonight’s launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will loft three payloads into space. The largest will be PSN-VI, a geostationary communications satellite named Nusantara Satu for the country of Indonesia. The second payload and the one garnering the most attention is an Israeli-built lunar lander called Beresheet that will attempt a soft landing on the Moon. The third and smallest payload is a small demonstration spacecraft for the U.S. military […]