Perhaps you haven’t noticed but new Astronotes posts have been a little short on the ground of late.I’d love to be able to say that this was because I was offworld on the International Space Station, but sadly the real reason was I’ve been ill (indeed I did spend some time in a hospital bed, so perhaps I can pretend I was in some small way participating in one of those experiments when volunteers lie in bed to simulate the effects of microgravity). Well, things are getting back to normal, so what have we been missing?
19 May: A spectacular annular eclipse!
22 May:Russia and Japan announcing they are looking at the possibility of one day perhaps sending humans to the Moon when it is convenient. Perhaps
22-31 May:The rare spectacle of a NewSpace company delivering on its promises when Space X’s Dragon spacecraft made it to the ISS.
4 June:The US intelligence community giving NASA two surplus giant spysats for conversion to Hubble-style space telescopes.
4 June:a Dutch media company planning to colonise Mars starting in 2023. File under “I’ll believe it when it happens”.
6 June:The rare spectacle of a transit of Venus. I missed it so I’ll catch the next one in 2117.
18 June: a Chinese space docking. Well done taikonauts!
21 June:The discovery of the strangest exoplanetary system yet.
28 June:Titan joins the “Moon with a subsurface water ocean club”
11 July:A new moon (the fifth so far) for Pluto.
(Article by Colin Johnston)