50 Years Later: What Happened to Apollo 1?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies to befall NASA: the fire that ignited inside the Apollo 1 (Apollo 204) command module during a test at Kennedy Space Center, claiming the lives of primary crew astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. The event is solemnly remembered every January 27. “We didn’t…

Apollo 10’s “Outer-Space-Type Music” Explained

There’s been some buzz recently (no pun intended, Mr. Aldrin) concerning supposed “space music” heard by Apollo 10 astronauts while they were traveling around the far side of the Moon in May of 1969. This is in no small part due to the season three opener of NASA’s Unexplained Files* on the Science Channel, which aired on…

NASA’s First Fallen: Remembering the Tragedy of Apollo 1

This is a reprint of a post from 2013, updated for the 2016 date. Today marks the 49th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies to befall NASA and human spaceflight: the fire that broke out in the Apollo 204 (later renamed Apollo 1) command module during a test exercise at Kennedy Space Center in…

What Do You Think Of This Planet Earth Flag?

There was a bit of a press frenzy last week surrounding the idea of a global flag that could be used in instances of human exploration off our planet, where international collaboration could be celebrated and memorialized on alien worlds rather than the more old-timey nationalistic space races with various countries’ flags dotting remote landscapes across…

These 100 People Are One Step Closer to Living – and Dying – on Mars

You may be looking at the faces of future Martians. (*Although that’s looking more and more unlikely – see below.) The video above, released Feb. 15, shows the results of the latest round of selections for the MarsOne mission: to establish living conditions on Mars and, eventually, send 24 individuals who will become the first permanent human residents on…

Remembering the Tragedy of Apollo 1

This is a reprint of a post from 2013, updated for the date and now including a map of the lunar farside. Today marks the 48th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies to befall NASA and human spaceflight: the fire that broke out in the Apollo 204 (later renamed Apollo 1) command module during a…

What Does the Moon Smell Like?

The Moon may not have any air to breathe, but it does have a very thin exosphere — a diffuse layer of molecules held by gravity above its surface that sometimes traps some of the very fine lunar dust in suspension via electrostatic activity. (In fact this very evening, at 11:27 pm EDT, Sept. 6,…

The Tragedy of Apollo 1

Today marks the 46th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies to befall NASA and human spaceflight: the fire that broke out in the Apollo 204 (later renamed Apollo 1) command module during a test exercise at Kennedy Space Center in 1967, claiming the lives of primary crew astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and…

Light This Candle

“Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?” – Alan B. Shepard, Jr., to Mission Control after delays during his four-hour sit atop the Mercury-Redstone rocket. May 5, 1961. On this day in 1961, fifty years ago, a 10-story Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket ignited at Cape Canaveral, Florida, successfully launching the first American into…