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All About Space No. 118

Every issue All About Space delivers fascinating articles and features on all aspects of space and space travel with mind-blowing photography and full-colour illustrations that bring the amazing universe around us to life.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
Monthly
R 57,76
R 477,54
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
welcome

This month marks 52 years since humankind landed on the surface of the Moon for the very first time. A little over five decades later and we’ve not sent humans back since Apollo – but that’s not to say the likes of NASA and the ESA, alongside a selection of private space companies, aren’t once again shooting for our natural satellite. So where are we in our plans to return to the lunar surface, stepping into the boot prints of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin? Turn to our cover feature for the plans, spacecraft and logistics that’ll see us go back, this time with intention to stay. Elsewhere in the issue, we return to the extinction of the dinosaurs: was it really an asteroid that wiped them out, or another kind of…

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3 min
launch pad

11 MAY 2021 A Martian rover’s view of ‘Santa Cruz’ NASA’s Perseverance rover snapped this profound photo using its dual-camera Mastcam-Z imager while inside Jezero crater. Here we can see Santa Cruz, a large hill standing proud amid the rugged Martian landscape, located approximately 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) away from the rover. Beyond Santa Cruz on the horizon is the faint dusty rim of Jezero crater. This image is presented as a preliminary calibrated version of a natural-colour composite, meaning the colours displayed are similar to how they would look to a person standing on Mars. 26 APRIL 2021 Star-studded necklace The exquisite and aptly named Necklace Nebula, officially PN G054.2-03.4, is located 15,000 light years away in the constellation of Sagitta (the Arrow). This celestial jewel was forged approximately 10,000 years ago by two doomed…

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2 min
city-size neutron stars may actually be bigger than we thought

Scientists have found neutron stars – the densest known objects in the universe aside from black holes – have a radius of between 13.25 and 14.25 kilometres (8.2 and 8.9 miles). Previously it was believed these stars, leftovers of huge supernova explosions, have a slightly smaller radius of up to 12 kilometres (7.5 miles). Within this relatively small radius – whichever one you look at – an amount of matter that equals 1.4 times the mass of the Sun is squeezed. The Sun, in comparison, has a radius of 695,508 kilometres (432,169 miles). These estimates were made not by measuring neutron stars directly, but by looking at the so-called ‘neutron skin’, or an outer layer of neutrons, surrounding the nucleus of a lead atom. But what does lead have to do…

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1 min
scientists ponder how to get samples from saturn’s weird moon titan

A sample-return mission to Saturn’s moon Titan could discover unexpected forms of life and bring back chemical compounds that cannot be found on Earth. A team of engineers from the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, has recently received a $125,000 (£88,000) NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grant to look into the feasibility of bringing a sample of material from this intriguing world to Earth. “We expect landing on Titan to be relatively easy,” said Steven Oleson, head of the Compass Lab at Glenn. “Titan has a thick atmosphere of nitrogen – 1.5 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth – which can slow the lander’s velocity with an aeroshell and a parachute for a soft landing, just like astronauts returning to Earth. With the landing out of the way, the…

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1 min
astronauts may finally start cleaning their space underwear, using microbes

We can all agree that sharing your unwashed underwear with another person isn’t ideal. But for astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), performing a spacewalk requires that they share not only the spacesuits, but also a next-to-the-skin piece of clothing that’s worn underneath, known as the Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment (LCVG). Access to a freshly laundered LCVG isn’t an option on the ISS, but technicians with the European Space Agency (ESA) are taking steps to improve the antimicrobial properties in LCVG materials to keep these shared garments clean and fresh for longer. In a new project called Biocidal Advanced Coating Technology for Reducing Microbial Activity, ESA researchers are collaborating with the Vienna Textile Lab, a biotechnology company that produces fabric dyes from bacteria. Compounds generated by these bacteria can…

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1 min
europe unveils plans to bring ‘gps’ and skype to the moon with satellites

The ESA has kicked off development of a satellite constellation that will orbit the Moon and provide navigation and telecommunication services to lunar explorers. If all goes according to plan, the new system could be in place in the late 2020s. The ESA believes that Earth’s celestial companion is set to become a busy destination, with commercial companies and nations from across the world all wanting a slice of the ‘eighth continent’. The new constellation, called Moonlight, will make it easier and cheaper for a fledgling lunar economy to blossom. For now contracts have been awarded to two European industrial consortia to study the feasibility of such an undertaking over the next year and a half and propose technical solutions for the ESA to choose from. A mission called the Lunar Pathfinder…

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