There are a number of ideas about where the Moon came from, but, based on orbital mechanics, the accepted theory is that about 150 million years after the Solar System formed some 4.6 billion years ago, the primordial Earth was struck by an object the size of Mars called Theia. Out of the debris of this massive impact, the Moon was formed. Scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) have for the first time found evidence to support this theory by analyzing the isotopic “fingerprints” of rock samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Read More
Bonhams auction house in New York is preparing for the seventh annual Space History auction where a vast and intriguing collection of space memorabilia will be offered for sale, including items flown on Apollo, Mercury, Gemini, and Soyuz along with components and souvenirs of a range of other manned and unmanned missions. A highlight of the auction will be a bevy of items belonging to Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, some of which flew with him in space and to the moon. Slated for 21 April, the auction will showcase over 350 rare objects and collectibles – there's even a real spacesuit or two up for grabs. Read More
Two veterans of the US space program have marked 50 years of service with in appropriately sedate style. In 1965, a pair of gigantic crawlers were built to move the Saturn V moon rockets to the launch pad. Half a century later, they are still in service and being upgraded to handle NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and other launch vehicles. To celebrate, the 6 million lb (2.7 million kg) Crawler-Transporter 2 (CT-2) made a rollout for a visitor and media day at less than one mph. Read More
With the death of Neil Armstrong back in August 2012, humanity lost one of its greatest heroes. Whilst his first steps on the Moon were driven by the United States out of competition with its terrestrial rival, the USSR, the words that accompanied his actions spoke of an achievement for all mankind. Upon his death, the Armstrong family donated many of the mementos that Neil had kept to Purdue University, Indiana (his alma mater) and to the National Air and Space Museum, Virginia. However, a bag full of Apollo 11 relics that traveled aboard the Eagle Lunar Module (LM) were unexpectedly discovered months later in an unassuming bag in his closet. Read More
NASA scientists have installed the largest heat shield ever created for the intention of atmospheric re-entry, onto the crew module of its next generation spacecraft, Orion. The shield, made of the same base material as that which protected Apollo-era astronauts from re-entry conditions over four decades ago, is set to be tested to the extreme later this year as Orion's maiden flight blasts off. Read More
If you've been building an Apollo Lunar Module out of scrap parts in your back yard, then you’re in luck. RR Auctions is putting hundreds of items up for bid as part of an auction of air and space memorabilia ranging from the Wright brothers to the present day. Amongst a number of standout items is the joystick from the Apollo 15 Lunar Module, which goes on the block with a starting bid of US$10,000. Read More
The full moon has long been associated with any number of superstitions. While links with lunacy, violence, fertility, disasters, and the stock market have been thoroughly debunked, the possibility of a causative role in some arenas still remains a possibility. A lunar ranging study carried out using reflectors has long contended with the "Full-Moon Curse," a near-total fading of reflected signals during the full Moon. This Curse is real, and has now been explained. Read More
Sometimes history is preserved by accident rather than design. Thanks to a malfunction during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971 that prevented it from being abandoned with its fellows, the only camera used on the surface of the Moon and brought back to Earth will be auctioned by Westlicht Photographica Auction in Vienna. The motor-driven camera is a Hasselblad 500 "EL DATA CAMERA HEDC," also known as a Hasselblad Data Camera (HDC), that was specially designed for use on the Moon. It’s currently in the hands of a private collector and goes on the block in March. Read More
When the first astronauts landed on the Moon, it wasn’t a straight jump from Earth to the lunar surface on the first try. Instead, the first footsteps only came after a long series of preliminary steps, one of which was a manned orbital mission to the satellite. This December 21st marks the 45th anniversary of the day in 1968 when Apollo 8 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and into history as the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. It not only paved the way for Apollo 11, but is also seen by some as a greater achievement than the Moon landing itself. Read More