Portal:Space

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Introduction

Astronaut-EVA.jpg

Space (or outer space) describes the vast empty regions between planets and stars. The study of these, and other, astronomical objects is called astronomy, one of the oldest sciences. It is often said that space exploration began with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. Then, in an almost unbelievable feat of human achievement, in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the Moon and set foot on the surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Recently, it has become clear that the possibility of space colonization may no longer be exclusively reserved for science-fiction stories, and many controversial issues surrounding space have come to light, including commercial spaceflight, space laws and space weapons.

Selected article

Image of the Trojan asteroids in front of and behind Jupiter

The Jupiter Trojans are a large group of objects that share the orbit of the planet Jupiter around the Sun. Relative to Jupiter, each Trojan librates around one of the planet's two Lagrangian points of stability, L4 and L5, that respectively lie 60° ahead of and behind the planet in its orbit. Trojan asteroids are distributed in two elongated, curved regions around these Lagrangian points with an average semi-major axis of about 5.2 AU. The first Trojan, 588 Achilles, was discovered in 1906 by the German astronomer Max Wolf. A total of 2,909 Jupiter Trojans have been found as of January 2009. The name "Trojans" derives from the fact that, by convention, they each are named after a mythological figure from the Trojan War. The total number of Jupiter Trojans larger than 1 km is believed to be about 1 million, approximately equal to the number of asteroids larger than 1 km in the main asteroid belt. Like main belt asteroids, Trojans form families. Jupiter Trojans are dark bodies with reddish, featureless spectra. No firm evidence of the presence of water, organic matter or other chemical compounds has been obtained. The Trojans' densities (as measured by studying binaries or rotational lightcurves) vary from 0.8 to 2.5 g·cm−3. Trojans are thought to have been captured into their orbits during the early stages of the Solar System's formation or slightly later, during the migration of giant planets.

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Planet Mars
Credit: NASA

Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, is named after the Roman god of war because of its blood red color. Mars has two small, oddly-shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos, named after the sons of the Greek god Ares. At some point in the future Phobos will be broken up by gravitational forces. The atmosphere on Mars is 95% carbon dioxide. In 2003 methane was also discovered in the atmosphere. Since methane is an unstable gas, this indicates that there must be (or have been within the last few hundred years) a source of the gas on the planet.

Space news

Upcoming spaceflight launches

The next scheduled launch is of the CLIO comsat on an Atlas V 401 rocket. Launch from Cape Canaveral SLC-41 is scheduled for 21:40 UTC on September 16, 2014.
The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz TMA-14M on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 42 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 20:25 UTC on September 25, 2014.
For a full launch schedule see 2014 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

8 September, 03:38 Moon at perigee
9 September, 01:38 Full moon
17 September Comet Oukaïmeden at maximum brightness
20 September, 14:30 Moon at apogee
21 September, 22:12 Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
23 September, 02:29 Earth southward equinox
24 September, 06:14 New moon
28 September, 04:25 Moon occults Saturn


Space-related portals

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