为我们的近邻月球而庆祝 Celebrating our looming lunar neighbor
International Moon Day
International Moon Day is celebrated on July 20, the day humans first set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It recognizes our lunar achievements and highlights scientific and technological advancements, like NASA's Orion spacecraft, seen here. Designed for deep space exploration, Orion completed a test flight to the moon without astronauts in 2022 and will carry out a crewed orbit in 2024. The plan is to return astronauts to the moon's surface in 2025. NASA hopes that these flights, along with events like International Moon Day, will encourage public engagement and education about the moon and its influence on Earth, as well as the potential for future space exploration and colonization.
此景只应天上有 A view that's out of this world
Earth seen from the International Space Station
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin astounded the world by becoming the first person to travel to outer space. In less than two hours, Gagarin completed a full orbit of the Earth in the Vostok 3KA spacecraft. Less than a month later, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space. The spectacle of looking back at Earth from space has not lost its charm, as you can see in today's picture taken from the International Space Station. Also known as the 'World Space Party,' Yuri's Night is a global celebration of astronomy and a reflection on how space exploration can unite people in a divided world.
此景只应天上有 Out of this world
Gamboa Crater, Mars
It would be pretty tough to live on Mars. It's cold, dry, and the conditions are harsh. The planet's average temperature is about –81 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can get as low as –243 at the poles. But with many canyons, extinct volcanoes, and ice caps, it's beautiful to look at from afar. Most photos of the Red Planet highlight its rusty color, caused by high levels of iron oxide.
This photo shows us Mars' Gamboa Crater, but not with accurate colors. Scientists have recolored the wavelengths that our eyes can't see on their own. These added details let us see the effects of wind inside the crater, providing a perfect example of the spectacularly complex features of this planet.
像极了艺术画作的真实照片 When life imitates art
The Bahamas as seen from the ISS
The islands of the Bahamas are an easy photo op for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The massive hills under the water's surface make for striking images when seen from the ISS's vantage point high above Earth. These undersea hills, which appear dark blue in this ocean image, indicate depths that can reach 13,000 feet.
地球的近日点 / 从国际空间站看地球
Earth as seen from the International Space Station
We've reached perihelion! Two weeks after winter solstice the Earth's orbit is closer to the sun than at any other time of year—a result of the Earth's elliptical orbit. You may think, 'If we're so close to the sun, why can't I feel the heat?' Well, that's because we're only receiving about 7% more solar energy than normal, which doesn't really have much impact on the weather.
太阳系的第四颗行星 Fourth rock from the sun
Red Planet Day
About 140 million miles away from Earth, the most relatable planet in the solar system orbits the sun. Mars, popularly known as the Red Planet, is the fourth planet from the sun, after Mercury, Venus, and Earth. We know more about Mars than any other planet but our own. That knowledge has been gained over centuries and has grown exponentially in recent years with the successful landings on Mars of the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers in 2012 and 2021 respectively. Today we celebrate those and other accomplishments on Red Planet Day, which coincides with the launch of Mariner 4, the first probe sent to Mars, on this day in 1964.
Mars was observed in ancient times as a bright and moving object in the night sky, distinct from the stars. Even its reddish tint was observed by the naked eye. Our curiosity was cemented. It might not be the planet closest to ours—Venus owns that title—but it seems to be the planet that most captures our imagination. The more we learn, the more we can imagine that Mars might have been just like Earth a long time ago, possessing organic life, rivers and oceans, and a much thicker atmosphere than it does today. Current conditions on Mars, while not exactly habitable, are hospitable by comparison to those on other planets, maybe the most compelling reason we're inclined to imagine that living on the Red Planet might someday be possible.
尤里之夜的凸月 A gibbous moon on Yuri's Night
International Day of Human Space Flight
Sixty-one years ago today Yuri Gagarin became the first human to see Earth from space, with a view likely similar to this image of the waning gibbous moon from the International Space Station. With a call of 'Poyekhali!' ('Off we go!'), Gagarin launched into low Earth orbit in his Vostok 3KA spacecraft, making history in less than two hours with a complete trip around the planet.
'International Day of Human Space Flight' is observed today by astronomy lovers of all nationalities, it becomes an international celebration held every April 12 to commemorate milestones in space exploration.
Hey neighbor, it's World Space Week!
Space is a big, lonely place, so it's nice to know we have neighbors. The pictured Andromeda Galaxy is our Milky Way's closest—right next door at 2.5 million light years away. Our cordial relationship with Andromeda goes back about 10 billion years to when both galaxies were still forming. But trouble is brewing: Andromeda is on a collision course with the Milky Way, due for impact in 4 billion years. This neighborhood's about to get rough…
Sometime in the 4 billion years we have left (preferably this World Space Week, October 4-10), we encourage you to turn your attention to the stars, whether on a trip to the countryside, the planetarium, or your backyard. World Space Week's 2021 theme is 'Women in Space'—and it's also the theme of today's quiz. How much do you know about the final frontier's famous females?
Last stop before leaving the solar system
Official confirmation of Neptune's presence in our solar system came on September 23, 1846. Credit for this discovery inspired a dust-up in the international astronomy community, as scientists from both Britain and France claimed they had been the first to see the 8th and most-distant planet in our solar system. Eventually peace was brokered, and credit is now shared between the two factions. But those 19th-century astronomers were using solar system coordinates first recorded by Galileo in 1612. The Italian polymath correctly mapped Neptune's position more than 200 years earlier using a less powerful telescope. Galileo mistook Neptune for a star—but his coordinates prompted many stargazers who came along after him to look in the correct direction and identify Neptune.