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South Korea is less than a year away from launching its first Moon mission. I wrote details of the mission for The Planetary Society. It reminded me of Chandrayaan 1, India’s first Moon mission, in technical as well as inspirational ways.
Both space missions are first of their kind for each country, are lunar orbiters, and have significant contributions from NASA. Both missions were conceptualized and realized after each country gained experience making satellites for geostationary orbits, a necessary precursor. But it’s the inspirational element that’s perhaps more striking.
Chandrayaan 1 launched over a decade ago in 2008. I was…
A friend recently told me, “(Her) Blog feels like home.”
I couldn’t agree more.
That led me to think of analogies for social platforms and websites in terms of how much power and freedom they actually give you over your content. If we think of your content on the internet in terms of physical places, this is what they are like.
If you’re serious about what you write, create, or put out on the Internet, get a domain…
Many people think that the Moon is just a gray ball of rock in the sky. Surprisingly, many scientists share this notion too. I once had a physicist tell me the Moon is boring. So I’m writing this article to summarize the immense scientific and exploration value of our Moon.
The bootprints of Apollo astronauts who walked on the Moon are still there. That’s because the Moon is airless and so things stay unchanged for years. This single fact makes the Moon a geological time capsule.
This article was originally published for The Wire. This is a mirror of the same.
ISRO’s first space telescope, AstroSat, and NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory, also space-based, have together found a black hole that spins at a rate close to the theoretical maximum. Designated 4U 1630–47, the black hole weighs about 10 solar masses — a stellar mass black hole, not one of the gigantic ones found at the centers of most galaxies.
Stellar mass black holes are formed when a giant star collapses under its own gravity, The entire mass is crushed to a single point called the singularity…
This article was originally published on The Planetary Society as a contribution for the Apollo 11 landing anniversary. This is a mirror of the same.
Where did the Moon come from? The origin of our cosmic neighbor is a fundamental question in planetary science. From Galileo’s first telescopic observations of the Moon to humans walking on its surface, our understanding of its origins has come a long way. Yet it is far from complete.
There are multiple hypotheses that have attempted to explain how the Moon came to be. …
The location of the landing site poses multiple constraints on how the spacecraft orbits are designed, including the launch/landing time and everything in between. Let’s take a look at the constraints imposed by the landing site first, followed by the nature of the lunar orbits.
A lunar day is equivalent to 14 Earth days (between 70 N/S) and we want to maximize the surface operations time post-landing. Landing at local…
Gravity assists are a powerful technique which can help both extend the duration of a space mission and reduce its overall cost. This article will have a look at some of the most insane gravity assist techniques used in past space missions. If you’re not familiar with the concept of gravity assists, here is a simple explainer.
1990 saw the launch of joint NASA-ESA mission called Ulysses to study the poles of the Sun for the first time. …
The TeamIndus spacecraft will soft-land on the Moon in 2020. We have designed a robust and unique propulsion system capable of landing a craft on the Moon and operate in different modes meeting the needs of each phase of the mission. Let’s have a look at some of the factors that go into designing the propulsion system of the spacecraft.
As discussed in our previous article on the variables governing rocket science, the destination decides the
delta-v required which in effect determines the type of propulsion system that can be chosen.
delta-v required to go from Low Earth Orbit…
The Universe is governed by the laws of physics that cannot be changed by us. As such, there are hard limits to what we can do with rockets and how we build them. The working of rockets is governed by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, named after the rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. This article is supposed to act as a basic introduction to variables governing rocket science and their implications. As such, some generalizations will be made.
Before we get to the rocket equation, let’s have a look at the governing players. …