Zeppelins of Mars - HAVOC on Venus

Zeppelins of Mars – HAVOC on Venus : NASA’s new Planetary Airships

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  If you thought airships like the Zeppelin were a thing of the past and consigned to the history books for their dangerous ability to burst into flames, then think again because NASA is looking at using them to explore Mars and Venus. On March 21st, 1999, a giant silver shape descended from the sky to thump down, bounce, then land in the Egyptian desert. It was the giant balloon Breitling Orbiter 3, and from the red capsule beneath emerged Bertrand Piccard: grandson of August Piccard, the first man to reach the stratosphere, and son of Jacques Piccard, who in …

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

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If I told that here was a plan to launch a spacecraft the size of an ocean liner, that would weigh 130 times more than the Space Shuttle, could travel with unrivalled speed across our Solar System and was powered by riding on a series pulses created by exploding thousands of miniature atomic bombs, one after another, another behind the ship, you would probably say that I’d been reading too many sci-fi books or websites. However, in the 1950’s and 60’s just such an idea was taken very seriously. ‘Project Orion’ was a classified American project to harness the power …

Hubble Trouble - How did the Space Telescope Mirror End Up Flawed ?

Hubble Trouble – How did the Space Telescope Mirror End Up Flawed ?

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In April of 1990 the American Shuttle Discovery launched up from the Earth, into a higher orbit than ever before, to deploy a special payload: the Hubble Space Telescope. Above even the thinnest part of the atmosphere, Hubble would be able to see far-off stars and galaxies without distortion and expand our understanding of the distant past. Or at least, that was the plan. But by June it was clear that there was something very wrong: the telescope with one of the most perfectly ground mirrors couldn’t focus properly. Apparently, the first great Space Observatory was ‘short-sighted’. Hubble’s 2.5-metre (8.2 …

How Australia Helped Save Apollo 13

How Australia Helped Save Apollo 13

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When you mention the words “Apollo” and “NASA” most people will immediately think of America, that big U.. S.. A.. on the side of the Saturn V rockets at take off is an awe inspiring sight and a great piece of national branding but success in Space requires a global effort: the International Space Station is only the latest example of the coordinated ingenuity of nations working together to get things done off the planet. The problem with space craft is that they don’t stay above the launch area, they orbit the earth about 16 times a day and the …

How Neil Armstrong Cheated Death Multiple times Before Apollo

How Neil Armstrong Cheated Death Multiple times Before Apollo

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According to legend, the family name Armstrong was bestowed upon a Celtic clan after a leading member displayed an amazing feat of heroism in battle – using just one of his arms. If that’s true, it might suggest where, centuries later, pioneer pilot and astronaut Neil Armstrong got his sense of adventure from. By the time of the first manned moon mission, Apollo 11 on July 22nd, 1969, he’d already cheated death at least seven times – all in vehicles provided to him by the American government. Neil Alden Armstrong was born in Ohio on August 5, 1930, of Irish, …