Label: Space

January 28, 2016

Martian peaks with streaks running down slopes

Did you see the recent announcement from NASA (America’s space agency) about finding evidence of water on Mars? Scientists have long thought that there may have been water on this desert planet in the past, but these latest images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are extraordinary because they show evidence of water flowing today.

Do you see the dark streaks in this image? These streaks are from the minerals left behind when briny (salty) water flows down the slopes in the Martian "summer."

Why is this important for us? If there is liquid water on Mars, then it makes it much more possible that we can travel there to explore Mars ourselves. The rocket needed to carry astronauts on the year-long trip to Mars will be much lighter if it doesn’t have to carry water. There is currently no Mars mission planned…but I bet there will be soon.

 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona    

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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)

August 25, 2014

Today HarperCollins is publishing the updated edition of one of my favorite books: OUR SOLAR SYSTEM. And for the first time, it is available not only in hardcover, but also as a paperback and an eBook.

As a science writer, the one thing I can be absolutely sure of is that the "facts" as they are known at the time I write a book are sure to change. So although many of my readers are familiar with this book, you’ll find plenty of new information here (like adding a section about the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, in Russia in February 2013, injuring nearly 1,000 people).

And, we’ve added many, magnificent photographs in the new edition - I’m very excited for my readers to see and read this book again.

Thank you to my editor, Nancy Inteli, for all her hard work and guidance on Our Solar System. I’m very proud of it.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: New Books, space books, space   •  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)

September 23, 2013

 

Another Venus lover! Earth’s "sister planet" is absolutely fascinating, and close enough that we often see it with our own eyes. If you have ever looked at a very bright star that is low in the sky just as the sun is setting, you were probably looking at Venus!

Jackson, from the school I am visiting later this week, is also interested in Venus. Here’s what he wrote:

 


Dear Mr. Seymour Simon,

I read your book about Venus.  It’s a very interesting book.  I never knew Venus was as hot as 900 degrees!  I’m so glad that I chose to read this book for my summer reading assignment.  

I can’t wait to see you when you visit our school this week.

Thank you,

Jackson D.  


I am looking forward to meeting all the students at Cider Mill School this week. See you soon!

Seymour 



 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: School Visits, space books, planets, space, Venus   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 3, 2013

This magnificent photo of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) over Canada’s Yukon territory is today’s Cool Photo of the Week. Are you wondering about where these beautiful lights come from? You can read about it in my online Science Dictionary!

 

 

Photo: Jonathan Tucker 

 

       

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Aurora Borealis, Cool Photo, space, Northern Lights, Space Weather   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 24, 2013

         

For our final April Writing Wednesday in April of 2013, we’re going to ask you to write six words that describe this magnificent photograph of Earth.

The electric lights outlining the continents show you that we’re seeing our own Western Hemisphere. What do you think about when you see this photograph? What words come to mind when you think about the millions of tiny lights visible from space when darkness falls? What does seeing our Earth at night inspire you to write?

Click the yellow “Comments” button below and give us your six best, most descriptive words to describe our home planet as April, the Earth Day month, comes to a close.

 

 

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory Image by Robert Simmon

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Writing Wednesday, space, Earth, Earth Day 2013   •  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)

April 16, 2013

As beautiful as a painting! That’s what I feel when I see this magnificent photograph of a section of our planet Earth, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. Can you tell what we are seeing in this photograph?

If you guessed that these are farmlands, you were correct. We are looking at an agricultural landscape in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. These fields are just outside of the city of Perdizes, which means "partridges" in Portuguese. Farmers are growing sunflowers, wheat, potatoes, coffee, rice, soybeans, and corn in the green fields, while the sections that are violet, reddish and tan are fields that are lying fallow - not planted this year while they restore their minerals and other nutrients. You can even see small streams, extending like silvery fingers through the landscape.

I never tire of looking at all the amazing photographs that are beamed back to Earth from space. How about you? 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, space, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 8, 2013

The Cassini orbiter - an unmanned space probe - sent back this magnificent image of Saturn last month. The reason this photograph is so spectacular is that the orbiter is shooting from the "dark side" of Saturn, so the planet is glowing with the sun’s light behind it.

Look closely at the bottom left-hand corner of the photograph - do you see anything there? Those two little spots are Enceladus and Tethys, two of Saturn’s moons.

Here’s what Carolyn Porco, leader of the Cassini imaging team at the Colorado-based Space Science Institute, said about this image:"Of all the many glorious images we have received from Saturn, none are more strikingly unusual than those we have taken from Saturn’s shadow. They unveil a rare splendor seldom seen anywhere else in our solar system."

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Solar System, Cool Photo, space, Saturn   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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