Solar Sails

Solar sails are the only method of spacecraft propulsion in which no fuel is needed. Until recently spacecraft powered by solar sails were the stuff of science fiction. However,  following the success of the Japanese spacecraft IKAROS which flew close to Venus in 2010, and in 2019 the crowd-funded Light Sail 2 spacecraft it is… Continue reading Solar Sails

Human spaceflight in 2021

2021 will be an interesting year for human space flight. Not only is it the sixtieth anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned spaceflight, but it will be the first time that a privately operated spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS).  This private spacecraft is not just a one-off but will be… Continue reading Human spaceflight in 2021

Chinese Moon samples

Like many of my readers I was pleased to see that the Chang’e 5 spacecraft returned to Earth on 16 December 2020 with around 2 kg of lunar rocks. This great achievement was the first lunar sample return mission for China and is indeed the first time any rocks have been brought from the Moon… Continue reading Chinese Moon samples

Dark energy an unexpected finding

I offered recently to write an article for my local astronomy society on the discovery of dark energy.  It is  an expanded version of the blog post I wrote  on the topic last year and, at over 3000 words, it is longer  than my usual posts. I thought it would be of interest to many… Continue reading Dark energy an unexpected finding

Arecibo Update

Since the publication of this post on 2 December 2020 it appears that Arecibo observatory may be rebuilt. Although the $8 million pledged by the Puerto Rico Rico government is clearly not enough https://www.engadget.com/puerto-rico-approves-8-million-to-rebuild-arecibo-telescope-155454170.html I was saddened to see that the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has closed following catastrophic damage to its cables and… Continue reading Arecibo Update