Schiaparelli on Mars.

On 14 March 2016 the European Space Agency used facilities at  Baikonur in Kazakhstan to launch their long awaited mission to Mars, the not so snappily named ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and, bolted onto it, a smaller probe called Schiaparelli. Although the much larger TGO will only orbit Mars, next Wednesday, 19 October, Schiaparelli will attempt… Continue reading Schiaparelli on Mars.

Giving Venus an artificial magnetic field

As discussed in a previous post, in the far future humanity may decide to terraform Venus so that the planet has a similar temperature and atmosphere to that which currently exists on the Earth. However, the lack of a global magnetic field would cause significant obstacles to humans settling on Venus. Without this protective shield inhabitants would be exposed to the… Continue reading Giving Venus an artificial magnetic field

Short post of the month – April 2016: Life on Mars?

On 14 March 2016 the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) spacecraft was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on a seven month mission to Mars. When it arrives at the red planet, it will study how the distribution of the gas methane varies according to position on the planet's surface and over the course of time. Image from ESA   What is… Continue reading Short post of the month – April 2016: Life on Mars?

Venus -A Mysterious World

In The Radio Man, a 1924 science fiction by the American author Ralph Milne Farley,  a radio engineer, Myles Standish Cabot, invents a radio apparatus that teleports him to another world, Venus. This version of Venus has boiling hot oceans, but the land is much cooler, and the continent he lands on is inhabited by two races. One… Continue reading Venus -A Mysterious World

The Morning Star-Venus

Anybody who has been up early in the past month and looked at the eastern sky will have noticed a brilliant white object - the planet Venus,  sometimes called the Morning Star. It is much brighter than any other planet and is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon.… Continue reading The Morning Star-Venus