Label: Space Travel

September 22, 2014

Our newest Mars explorer, NASA’s Maven satellite, has successfully arrived at the red planet and begun its orbit!

It takes a very long time to travel from Earth to Mars, even at the speed that a rocket travels. We launched this satellite 10 months ago, and it has been hurtling toward Mars ever since. This weekend the satellite fired its thrusters——basically jamming on the brakes——so that it would be captured by the planet’s gravity and settle into orbit around Mars.

It all went flawlessly, and now the satellite will study Mars’ high atmosphere, collecting more data as we try to piece together the story of the history of the Martian environment—- what is there today, and how it has changed over time.

This story has captivated scientists for centuries, and I continue to be fascinated as we learn more and more about my favorite planet (other than Earth, of course!).....which reminds me of a funny story. 

 

 

My eBook PLANET MARS has been updated twice since 2010 because we are learning so much from the rovers that are studying its surface. The second update happened while our sound producer was in the studio, recording the narration for the book. My phone rang, and Dan, the producer, said: "The Curiosity Rover landed yesterday, and I’m just about to record your book. Don’t you want to add a page about Curiosity?" Of course I did. So I quickly did some research, wrote a page and found a photograph to illustrate it, and the new audio was recorded that same day. Now, THAT is what I call up-to-date!

 

 

These days I am working on a new book about Mars, which will be the third installment in my Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System series. It won’t be done til sometime next year, but I can give you a preview of the cover:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, space books, space, Space Travel, Mars   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 10, 2014

Seymour Simon’s new book, EARTH’S MOON: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE to OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, has just been published by StarWalk Kids Media. It is available as an eBook right now, and we hope to publish it as a print book in the next year.

The Moon is our closest shipmate in space, and as Seymour Simon writes in the book, we travel together on our journey through the Milky Way galaxy. This fascinating book answers questions like: Why does the Moon change shape in the night sky? Why does it look as though there is a face on the Moon’s surface? And will we ever visit there again?

This is the second installment in Seymour Simon’s important new space series, A Shipmate’s Guide to Our Solar System. The first book, EARTH: A SHIPMATE’S GUIDE came out last year, and received an excellent review from Kirkus.

You can view a video trailer of Seymour Simon’s newest book and find out how the Moon was formed - it was a dramatic event! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, eBooks, space books, Video, moon, space, Earth Science Books, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 2, 2013

It’s obviously the small things that count when you are living on the International Space Station! The current ISS captain, Canada’s Commander Chris Hadfield, has been so much fun to have aboard. He loves to take photographs and he uses Twitter all the time. This morning he posted this photo of a floating onion and tweeted: @Cmdr_Hadfield: Space Onion - came up on the Progress resupply spaceship. We sliced it up and had it with everything - nice flavor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love the magnificence of seeing Earth photographed from space (like I do), you should follow Chris Hadfield’s Twitter feed. He posts multiple photographs and writes about what he sees every day. His observations are a treasure.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Space Travel, ISS   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2013

The commander of the International Space Station, astronaut Chris Hadfield, sent down an Earth Day greeting from the International Space Station this morning. "Good Morning, World, and Happy Earth Day from orbit!" he wrote from his Twitter account (@Cmdr_Hadfield) on Monday. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

 

He also sent this photograph, which he says is the robotic arm of the space station giving us a "thumbs up" for Earth Day.

The first Canadian commander of the space station loves taking photographs and videos of Earth. Commander Hadfield says that life on the ISS has changed his view of the Earth.

"If anything my respect and my concern and my love for the Earth has only been deepened by [having this] new perspective on the planet." 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: space, Earth, Space Travel, Earth Day 2013, ISS   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 25, 2012

          You may have heard that an astronaut named Neil Armstrong died today. He was a hero to me and to many others – the man who took a “giant leap for mankind” when he first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Neil Armstrong was a man of courage, and although he was a private person, he gracefully accepted his role for the rest of his life as the “face” of the space program and a symbol of man’s exploration of the solar system beyond our own planet.

 

This is a photograph of a footprint on the moon, left by our astronauts back in 1969. It marked the first time that human beings walked on ground that was not Earth. That footprint may last for a million years or longer, because there is no air on the moon. Without air there is no wind to blow the dust around.

The print of that first giant step for mankind will live forever on the moon, just as Neil Armstrong’s brave quest to explore and learn more will live forever in our memories.

When asked how they would like Neil Armstrong to be remembered, his wife and family said:

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

I think we can do that, don’t you? 


 Read more about Neil Armstrong’s amazing journey and learn all about what it is like to be an astronaut in Seymour Simon’s SPACE TRAVELERS.

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(96) Comments  •   Labels: science news, moon, space, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 12, 2012

Today, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope announced that they have discovered Pluto’s fifth moon. Scientists have been looking closely at the space around Pluto because they are preparing for the 2015 Pluto flyby of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. New Horizons is going to give us our closest look yet at the dwarf planet, so NASA engineers want to map as many potential crash hazards as they can and design the safest possible course for the probe.

For the moment, the new moon is simply called S/2012 (134340) 1, or "P5" for short. Eventually, the International Astronomical Union will give names to P5 and P4, the fourth moon that was discovered late last year, and they will probably be names from Greek mythology. Pluto’s first three moons were named after mythological characters associated with the underworld. Greeks believed Charon was the ferryman who carried souls across the river to the underworld. Hydra was the serpentine monster that guarded the gates of the underworld, and Nix is named after the Greek goddess of the night.

The team is waiting awhile before naming P4 and P5, in case a P6 comes along. One thing for sure is that we’re going to learn a lot more about Pluto and the objects orbiting it in the next three years.

The timing of this discovery is good for one of my new eBooks. We are updating SPACE WORDS: A DICTIONARY for publication as an eBook, and my editor just changed the Pluto entry to state that it has five moons. Surely this will be the most up-to-date reference out there when it is published in late July!

 

Photo: M. Showalter / SETI Institute / NASA / ESA

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Solar System, space, Exploration, Space Travel, Pluto   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 12, 2012

Have you ever imagined fun things you would like to do in a weightless environment? Here’s a good idea.

Today’s very cool VIDEO OF THE WEEK is of Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa playing baseball with himself onboard the International Space Station. He pitches, hits, and even manages to get himself out!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Video, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 20, 2011

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the traditional Festival of Lights, celebrated by Jewish people all over the world. Do you know that Hanukkah was once celebrated onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery by astronaut Jeff Hoffman? Click here to see video of what happens when you spin a dreidel in a low gravity environment!

Happy Hanukkah    to all my Jewish readers! 

 

 


For those of you receiving iPads or Nook Color/Tablets this season, Seymour Simon has many quality eBooks available for purchase, some discounted as much as 50% for the holidays. If you are adding reading material to a tablet, please consider making Seymour Simon’s exceptional nonfiction for children part of your collection. Happy holidays to all!

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: space, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 1, 2011

Thursday is COOL VIDEO OF THE WEEK day on the Seymour Science blog. Since we’ve been talking about Mars all week long, we thought our video should continue that theme.

This video is a little different than the ones we usually choose. In this case, you have to look really hard to spot a tiny light, moving quickly upward through the night sky (in the center of the screen).

See it?

This video shows the newest Mars explorer craft departing Earth shortly after its launch on November 26. 

The spacecraft is carrying a car-sized robot rover named Curiosity. Scientists hope that information sent back by Curiosity will help them learn a lot more about Mars. They will also be getting critical information that will help them plan for an eventual human mission to the Red Planet.

I love watching the sky and seeing manmade spacecraft passing overhead. Every time I see the International Space Station (ISS) move across the night sky, I applaud as it exits my field of vision. The thought that there are brave human beings far overhead, exploring space and the possibilities of our Solar System, just thrills me. Do you think that one day that we’ll be able to look up in the sky and know that there are humans on their way to Mars? I hope so!

By the way, if you are as interested as I am in seeing the ISS and other satellites in orbit, SpaceWeather.com has an easy-to-use page where you enter your zip code and get schedule for when you can spot these magnificent flybys. You don’t even need a telescope - just clear skies and your own two eyes! 

Video: Gerhard Dangl

Photo: An artist’s concept illustrates what the Mars rover Curiosity will look like on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Video, space, Exploration, Space Travel, Space Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 1, 2011

  Today’s "Cool Photo of the Week" is a nighttime view of the Midwestern United States, captured from the International Space Station. From space, astronauts can see many different kinds of lights in the night skies.

The artificial light created by humans is easily recognizable by its yellowish tone. The burst of bright white light in the upper right hand corner of the photograph is probably lightning. And the green glow rimming the edge of the planet is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

If you look closely, there is even more that you can see in this view. Look at Chicago. Just to the right of Chicago’s big patch of lights, there is a completely dark section. Why do the lights stop so suddenly? Because you are looking at one of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan.

 

  Can anyone tell me what the very faint, dark orange shape is at the top of the photograph, above Earth? The first person to answer correctly, by clicking "Comments" at the bottom of this blog entry, will win an autographed copy of my book SPACE TRAVELERS. Be sure to include your email address (and check it to be sure you have spelled it correctly!), so that we can contact you if you are the winner.

Good Luck!

 

Photo courtesy of Cloud Imaging and Particle Size Experiment data processing team at the University of Colorado Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(11) Comments  •   Labels: Aurora Borealis, Contests, Cool Photo, space, Space Travel   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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