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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.

Selected article

Comet P/Halley as taken March 8, 1986, by W. Liller

Halley's Comet is the best-known of the short-period comets, and is visible from Earth every 75 to 76 years. Halley is the only short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye, and thus, the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime. Other naked-eye comets may be brighter and more spectacular, but will appear only once in thousands of years. Halley's returns to the inner solar system have been observed by astronomers since at least 240 BC, and recorded by Chinese, Babylonian, and mediaeval European chroniclers, but were not recognised as reappearances of the same object. The comet's periodicity was first determined in 1705 by English astronomer Edmond Halley, after whom it is now named. It last appeared in the inner Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061. During its 1986 apparition, Halley's Comet became the first to be observed in detail by spacecraft, providing the first observational data on the structure of the comet nucleus and the mechanism of coma and tail formation. These observations supported a number of longstanding hypotheses about comet construction, particularly Fred Whipple's "dirty snowball" model, which correctly surmised that Halley would be composed of a mixture of volatile ices, such as water, carbon dioxide and ammonia, and dust. However, the missions also provided data which substantially reformed and reconfigured these ideas.

Selected picture

Pale Blue Dot
Credit: NASA/JPL

"Pale Blue Dot" is the name given to this 1990 photo of Earth taken from Voyager 1 when its vantage point reached the edge of the Solar System, a distance of roughly 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometres). Earth can be seen as a blueish-white speck approximately halfway down the brown band to the right. The light band over Earth is an artifact of sunlight scattering in the camera's lens, resulting from the small angle between Earth and the Sun. Carl Sagan came up with the idea of turning the spacecraft around to take a composite image of the Solar System. Six years later, he reflected, "All of human history has happened on that tiny pixel, which is our only home."

Space news

Wikinews Space Portal
  • March 17: British scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76
  • January 6: Mysterious dimming of Tabby's star likely due to space dust, not alien superstructures, say scientists
  • November 3: Astronomers report dwarf star with unexpectedly giant planet
  • 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

Upcoming spaceflight launches

The next scheduled launch is of the GOES-S satellite on an Atlast V 541 Rocket to Geosynchronous orbit. Launch from SLC-41 is scheduled for 1/2 March 2018, 22:02-00:02 GMT.
The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz MS-08 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 55 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 21 March 2018, 17:44 GMT.
For a full launch schedule see 2018 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

2 March, 00:51 Full moon
4 March Neptune at conjunction
11 March, 09:17 Moon at apogee
15 March, 15:12 Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
17 March, 13:12 New moon
20 March, 16:16 Earth at northward equinox
26 March, 17:26 Moon at perigee
31 March, 12:37 Full moon

Space-related portals

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