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Hubble ultra deep field.jpg

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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MESSENGER image of Mercury with three visible colors mapped to 1000 nm, 700 nm, and 430 nm wavelengths

Mercury is the innermost planet in the Solar System. It is also the smallest, and its orbit is the most eccentric (that is, the least perfectly circular) of the eight planets. It orbits the Sun once in about 88 Earth days, completing three rotations about its axis for every two orbits. The planet is named after the Roman god Mercury, the messenger to the gods. Mercury's surface is heavily cratered and similar in appearance to Earth's Moon, indicating that it has been geologically inactive for billions of years. Due to its near lack of an atmosphere to retain heat, Mercury's surface experiences the steepest temperature gradient of all the planets, ranging from a very cold 100 K at night to a very hot 700 K during the day. Mercury's axis has the smallest tilt of any of the Solar System's planets, meaning that there are no seasons on its surface. Mercury and Venus can each make appearances in Earth's sky both as a morning star and an evening star (because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth), and at times Mercury can technically be regarded as a very bright object when viewed from Earth; however, its proximity in the sky to the Sun makes it more difficult to see than Venus.

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Uranus as from Voyager 2 in 1986
Credit: NASA/JPL/Voyager 2 mission

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the fourth most massive in the Solar System. In this photograph from 1986 the planet appears almost featureless, but recent terrestrial observations have found seasonal changes to be occurring.

Space news

Wikinews Space Portal
  • 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
  • October 31: NASA releases complete image of Pluto's crescent

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-05 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying two Expedition 52 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 28 July 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

2 August, 17:50 Moon at apogee
7 August, 18:11 Full moon
9 August, 22:37 Moon occults Neptune
13 August, 00:00 Perseids peak
18 August, 13:10 Moon at perigee
21 August, 18:26 New moon and total solar eclipse
26 August, 20:42 Mercury at inferior conjunction
30 August, 11:23 Moon at apogee

Space-related portals

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