UFOs came up again last week pertaining to lights over Sacramento, California. As fireballs streaked across the night sky, a few citizens thought they might be watching fireworks or even the arrival of distant visitors to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
The explanation for the lights was interesting, but not because it was a UFO. It turns out the International Space Station (ISS) dumped a 683 pounds of Japanese communications equipment back in 2020. It took that long for the equipment to return towards Earth as a molten mass. The US Space Force later confirmed this explanation.
As noted in an earlier post, this ISS debris is not unusual, and can contain huge objects such as a cargo capsule.
The BBC recently noted that your chance of being struck by space debris is one in a trillion. So you can look up, but don’t worry about covering your head.
We’ve been waiting for nearly two years to see Elon Musk’s big rocket blast off again, and now the SpaceX founder is starting to narrow the targeted time frame for Starship’s first orbital attempt. The controversial entrepreneur said on Twitter last week that the next generation vehicle destined to take astronauts to the moon and perhaps start a civilization on Mars “will be ready to launch… in a few weeks, then launch timing depends on FAA license approval.”
South Korean rocket startup Innospace successfully launched a suborbital rocket from Brazil over the weekend, demonstrating a hybrid motor it plans to scale up into a small orbital launch vehicle. The launch of Innospace’s HANBIT-TLV suborbital rocket took place March 19 from the Alcântara Space Center, and the company called the flight a success, although it did not disclose the rocket’s peak altitude.
The first stars in the cosmos may have topped out at over 10,000 times the mass of the sun, roughly 1,000 times bigger than the biggest stars alive today, a new study has found. Nowadays, the biggest stars are 100 solar masses. But the early universe was a far more exotic place, filled with mega-giant stars that lived fast and died very, very young, the researchers found.
“We look forward to Firefly providing this [Commercial Lunar Payload Services] delivery… This lunar landing should enable new scientific discoveries from the far side of the Moon during the lunar night. This particular group of payloads should not only generate new science but should be a pathfinder for future investigations exploiting this unique vantage point in our solar system.”
–Statement by Joel Kearns, Deputy Associate Administrator for exploration in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, regarding the $112 million contract award to Firefly for a commercial lunar delivery targeted to launch in 2026 through NASA’s CLPS initiative that support the Agency’s Artemis program. NASA noted that the three payloads are (1) the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment-Night (LuSEE-Night), (2) Lunar Pathfinder, and (3) User Terminal. You can read more about the Firefly mission here. Firefly also issued its own press release.
Back in 2016, NASA put a few fun posters online advertising opportunities on Mars. The posters were originally originally commissioned by NASA to be part of an exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in 2009.
Visit the NASA poster site if you want the files for these images and others. They are great for framing, note cards, or post cards.