space

NASA Image and Video Library / NASA

Humans first left Earth 59 years ago, landing on the moon nine years later. Since then, we’ve orbited the Earth, sent rovers to Mars, and sent people to live on the international space station. And it won’t be too long before we make the journey to Mars to begin our extraterrestrial colonization.

NASA

Every month, Lake Effect contributor and astronomer Jean Creighton joins us to talk about the universe and our solar system within it. This time, she talks about the resources, effort, and partnerships that made sending Apollo 11 to the moon possible.

LISTEN: Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of Apollo 11

Creighton says NASA had to work with 20,000 companies to make the mission possible.

NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center / NASA

The 50th anniversary of the first astronaut moon landing comes as NASA is talking of another trip to the moon within five years, and of taking people to Mars by the mid-2030s.

Astronomers, engineers, and human health experts across Wisconsin have been tracking the discussion. And some are working on projects potentially tied to more space travel.

When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon 50 years ago, it was an inspiring moment for people around the world.

But another kind of explorer is responsible for much of the modern enthusiasm for space exploration.

"Since the days of Apollo, the greatest adventures in space have been these robots that have gone all over the solar system," says Emily Lakdawalla, a self-described planetary evangelist at the Planetary Society.

When a rocket carrying the first module of the International Space Station blasted off from Kazakhstan in November of 1998, NASA officials said the station would serve as an orbiting home for astronauts and cosmonauts for at least 15 years.

In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced a goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" before the end of the decade, the mission seemed all but impossible.

"[The U.S.] didn't have a spaceship that could fly to the moon," journalist Charles Fishman notes. "We didn't have a rocket that could launch to the moon. We didn't have a computer small enough or powerful enough to do the navigation necessary to get people to the moon. We didn't have space food."

Historic preservationists are hoping that the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this summer will persuade the United Nations to do something to protect Neil Armstrong's footprints in the lunar dust.

That's one giant leap for China.

China state television announced Thursday that China's Chang'e 4 lunar explorer, which launched in early December, "became the first ever probe to soft-land on the far side of the moon." The probe touched down at 10:26 Beijing time, the China Global Television Network said.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the tradition dinner, even in space.

So a shipment of smoked turkey breast, cranberry sauce, candied yams and, of course, fruitcake was rocketed to the International Space Station Wednesday with delivery expected by Saturday.

But as the Associated Press reports, the launch was delayed by a day because food for some of the station's other residents was moldy.

NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office

These days, the word 'asteroid' usually only comes up when we're talking about the extinction of the dinosaurs. But astronomy contributor Jean Creighton notes that a near-Earth object,or NEO, is either a comet or asteroid that gets within 30 million miles from the Earth's surface. But what would we do if a massive object were hurtling toward Earth today?