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Space (or outer space) describes the vast empty regions between and around planets and stars. The study of these, and other, astronomical objects is called astronomy, one of the oldest sciences. It is often said that space exploration began with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. Then, in an almost unbelievable feat of human achievement, in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the Moon and set foot on the surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Recently, it has become clear that the possibility of space colonization may no longer be exclusively reserved for science-fiction stories, and many controversial issues surrounding space have come to light, including commercial spaceflight, space laws and space weapons.

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View of Mars from Hubble Space Telescope

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is known as the Red Planet due to its reddish appearance as seen from Earth. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. A terrestrial planet, Mars has a thin atmosphere and surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. It has the highest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, and the largest canyon, Valles Marineris. Mars' rotational period and seasonal cycles are also similar to those of the Earth. Of all the planets in our solar system other than Earth, Mars is the most likely to harbor liquid water, and perhaps life. Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is more than any planet except Earth. The surface is also home to the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity). Geological evidence gathered by these and preceding missions suggests that Mars previously had large-scale water coverage, while observations also indicate that small geyser-like water flows have occurred in recent years. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped.

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Astronomical orders of magnitude
Credit: Dave Jarvis

An illustration of relative astronomical orders of magnitude, starting with the terrestrial planets of the Solar System in image 1 (top left) and ending with the largest known star, VY Canis Majoris, at the bottom right. The biggest celestial body in each image is shown on the left of the next frame.

Space news

Wikinews Space Portal
  • September 6: Peggy Whitson, record-breaking 'American space ninja', returns to Earth
  • July 17: Sun's mood swings not so strange after all, say scientists
  • July 14: Astronomers discover smallest known star
  • June 8: Astronomers reveal discovery of the hottest gas giant exoplanet known yet
  • June 4: Curiosity Rover analysis suggests chemically complex lake once graced Mars's Gale crater
  • May 18: Simulations show planet orbiting Proxima Centauri could have liquid water
  • March 27: President Trump tells NASA to aim for Mars
  • January 18: Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan dies aged 82
  • October 3: Twelve-year journey of Rosetta ends; spacecraft crashes into comet
  • July 6: Final panel added to China's FAST radio telescope
  • July 6: NASA's Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit
  • May 9: NASA releases first topographical map of Mercury

Upcoming spaceflight launches

The next scheduled launch is of the Progress 67P on a Soyuz-2.1a Rocket to resupply the ISS, Launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome is scheduled for 14th of June 2017, 9:20 AM GMT.
The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz MS-07 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 54 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 17 December 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

3 October, 12:14 Moon occults Neptune
5 October, 18:40 Full moon
8 October, 18:00 Draconids peak
8 October, 20:54 Mercury at superior conjunction
9 October, 06:03 Moon at perigee
19 October Uranus at opposition
19 October, 19:12 New moon
22 October, 01:00 Orionids peak
25 October, 02:31 Moon at apogee
26 October, 18:09 Jupiter at conjunction
30 October, 20:55 Moon occults Neptune

Space-related portals

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