Blog Archives

Mars Opposition 2016

That increasingly bright and obviously red object rising in the southeast late at night (around 10:30 pm EDT from Lynchburg) is Mars. It will rise ever earlier as it moves into position exactly opposite the sun in our sky on

Posted in Mars, Planets, Sky Phenomena Tagged with:

Dusty Mars–Bad. Windy Mars–Good.

My favorite writer about planetary science is, hands down, Emily Lakdawalla. She writes an occasional article for Sky & Telescope magazine, whose editor informed me on a recent astronomy-themed tour that “Emily is the consummate professional”. Where you can really

Posted in Mars, Planets

Is Interplanetary Space Too Hot For Humans?

Radioactively hot, that is. While the Curiosity Mars Rover was cruising for eight months between Earth and Mars, one of the instruments aboard was measuring the radiation levels encountered along the way. The Radiation Assessment Detector—RAD—was inside the spacecraft, shielded

Posted in human spaceflight, Mars, Solar System, Spacecraft

Warning: 14-Year-Old Geek Ahead

Most people my age who have wound up in some sort of a science-related career (and many who have not) can trace their excitement about the subject to the space programs of the late 1950s and 1960s. I’m no exception.

Posted in human spaceflight, John Glenn, Lynchburg College, Mars, Solar System

Will Curiosity Find Life On Mars?

Well, probably not like this. But it does carry instrumentation designed to look for biosignatures, evidence that simple microbial life may have existed at some point in the Martian past, even if it no longer does so.

Posted in Mars, Planets, Solar System Tagged with: