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The Ultimate Guide to Space ExplorationThe Ultimate Guide to Space Exploration

The Ultimate Guide to Space Exploration

The Ultimate Guide to Space Exploration

This special issue looks at iconic spacecraft and the current missions exploring the Solar System and the deeper cosmos. Plus find out about the plans for manned missions to the Moon and Mars, and our search for habitable planets - and aliens.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time1 min.
welcome

When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the Moon in 1969, uttering the famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, it was an iconic moment for humanity. The feat was an incredible scientific and engineering achievement. But the dawn of the Space Age actually kick-started over a decade earlier with the launch of Sputnik 1 – the first manmade satellite into Earth orbit. For the last 60 years, ground-breaking missions have explored our Solar System and peered deep into the cosmos. This special issue reveals what we’ve learnt and where we’ll be headed next. Find out about the spacecraft touring the Solar System: Curiosity roaming Mars (p30); Juno revealing Jupiter’s secrets (p36); Cassini solving Saturn’s puzzles (p38); New Horizons exploring the Kuiper Belt (p41); and…

access_time2 min.
60 years of spa ce exploration

1957 Sputnik 1 (below) was the first manmade satellite to orbit Earth, and is seen as the catalyst to the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union. 1959 Luna 1 (above) became the first spacecra! to orbit another Solar System body – the Sun – a!er initially missing its intended target, the Moon. 1962 Mariner 2 (right) became the first probe to fly past another planet, Venus. 1964 Mariner 4flew by Mars and sent back the first close-up images of the Red Planet (right). 1965 Gemini 3 was the first manned mission of the Gemini programme in which scientists studied the effects of longer spaceflights on astronauts and their equipment, and practised docking spacecra! in orbit and landing. 1966 Luna 9 made the first so! landing (non-crash landing) on the Moon, returning photographs to Earth. 1973 Mariner 10 became the first…

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hubble’s top 10 discoveries

10Cause of gamma-ray bursts A gamma-ray burst (GRB) is one of the most energetic events in the Universe. These flashes of gamma-ray radiation are an enigma because they’re so rare – a typical galaxy produces only a few every million years. Yet they release as much energy in a few seconds as our Sun does in 10 billion years. On 3 June 2013, a GRB lasting one-tenth of a second occurred, and was spotted by NASA’s Swift satellite. When Hubble looked 10 days later, it found an infrared glow where the burst had been. But by 3 July it had faded. This disappearing glow was the dying embers of another kind of cosmic explosion – a kilonova – believed to be the result of extremely dense stars called ‘neutron stars’ merging. Since…

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beyond hubble

Hubble underwent its last servicing mission in 2009 and is expected to remain operational until it degrades around 2020. Hubble will then be sent into a final orbit back down into Earth’s atmosphere to end its years of service in a blaze of glory. The highly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is due for launch in 2018, but it will not be a direct replacement for Hubble. Despite having a mirror almost three times as large, JWST will observe at a similar resolution but in a different wavelength of light – the infrared. It will be able to observe cold and dusty objects in amazing detail that previously appeared ‘invisible’, allowing astronomers to see further out into space, and back in time, than ever before.…

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how rocket science works

ROCKET SCIENCE WHAT IS ROCKET SCIENCE? It’s all about using rocket propulsion to move anything from a firework to a manned spaceship. At the heart of rocketry is Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, something that’s been established for over 300 years. It says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you stand in front of a wall and push it hard, you will move backwards. Similarly if you stand on a skateboard and throw a heavy object away from you as hard as you can (don’t try this at home), you’ll roll in the opposite direction. As you push an object forwards, the object pushes back on you with the same amount of force. In a rocket, the ‘object’ being pushed is the end product of burning fuel,…

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the reusable space vehicles

SKYLON: REUSABLE SPACEPLANE Length 85m • Dry mass 52 tonnes • Take-off mass 325 tonnes • Payload to LEO 15 tonnes • Vehicle cost £1.1-£1.4bn • Fuel cost £820k • Reusability Approx 200 flights Skylon is being developed by Reaction Engines, which is working on producing the engine for an all-encompassing launch vehicle that takes off and lands like a normal aircraft, yet flies into orbit. The company is looking to achieve this with a jet-rocket hybrid engine called SABRE. ESA has confirmed all aspects of the engine are valid and, along with the UK Government, is funding the development of a full demonstrator. Reaction Engines has also developed a vehicle to use this engine, the Skylon spaceplane. ESA is exploring the potential for establishing Skylon as one of its launch vehicles by 2027. FALCON…

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