New Horizons flies by Pluto

Enormous heart feature on Pluto. Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI
July 14, 2015

 Oh wow! Today the New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Pluto at 30,800 mph (49,600 km/hr), just 476,000 miles (768,000 kilometers) from the surface. I was expecting something cool, but not a heart 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) across. The heart is quie near Pluto’s equator (the photo mostly shows the northern hemisphere) and it seems remarkably flat. The best guess is that it’s geologically new, because much of the rest of…


Sputnik 1

1957: Sputnik 1
October 4, 2011

  The first ever artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Russians on October 4th, 1957. It weighed just 83.6 kg (184.3 lb) (less than me, I’m sorry to say) compared to the International Space Station which weighs 450 tonnes (rather more than I do.) Sputnik 1 had a very elliptical orbit, taking 96 minutes to complete one orbit, which means that it averaged a little higher than the…