Going to Mars

NASA recently announced that it is ready to launch a mission to Mars.

According to an article in the “National Conspirator,” NASA’s director of public information, Doug Blastoff, stated the space agency was hoping to launch the mission quietly and then alert the public after the astronauts reached space.  When asked why, he just replied, “Wouldn’t  you?”

The planned mission would be launched on board the new Galaxy Class Space Shuttle Enterprise.  Mr. Blastoff felt this new class of space shuttle will “boldly take this mission where no man has gone before.” Continue reading “Going to Mars”

It’s Jupiter! It’s Saturn! It’s a Planet Head?

What do you get when you combine a fundraiser for cancer assistance with paint and shower caps or shaved heads?  You get Planet Head Day, of course!

What is Planet Head Day?  It is an opportunity to help raise funds that are used to assist local cancer patients.  Planet Head Day is one of two annual fundraisers held by the local nonprofit group “Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery – C.A.N.C.E.R.” Continue reading “It’s Jupiter! It’s Saturn! It’s a Planet Head?”

Happy New Year from Ultima Thule

On Jan. 1, 2019, NASA’s New Horizons space probe will pass by Ultima Thule.  Ultima Thule may sound like a robot from the Transformers movies, but in actuality, it is a Kuiper Belt asteroid orbiting the sun at a distance of four billion miles.  What makes Ultima Thule so special is that it is the second member of the Kuiper Belt (the solar system’s second asteroid belt) to be visited by the New Horizons space probe.  The first was the dwarf planet Pluto. Continue reading “Happy New Year from Ultima Thule”

The Martians Are Coming!!!

It happened on Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938 – 80 years ago.  The Martians arrived and war broke out around the world.  Well sort of….

On the night of Oct. 30, 1938, the Mercury Radio Theatre aired a performance of H. G. Wells’ 1896 “The War of the Worlds.”  The radio play was performed so well that some people panicked, ran from their houses and warned their neighbors of the impending invasion.  Stories also provide information of water towers being shot at in New Jersey and a woman in Pittsburgh wanting to take poison instead of being killed by aliens.     Continue reading “The Martians Are Coming!!!”

Astronomy in Aroostook County

     Hello everyone and welcome to or back to the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  If you are interested in astronomy, we have several treats for you in and around the Presque Isle area.

     The University Times runs this ongoing series of articles about astronomy.  The topics vary from edition to edition and will contain news related to astronomy.  Although I have some articles in mind, I would like your input on possible articles.  If you have any questions or would like to suggest an article, please feel free to email me at: jimamdbeckystepp@gmail.com.       Continue reading “Astronomy in Aroostook County”

Summer 2018

     The summer of 2018 will be a rather boring summer for astronomical events.  Perhaps the biggest event of the summer will be the Perseid meteor shower.  This year’s shower will last from August 8 to August 17.  The moon will be approaching or just past new moon throughout the meteor shower, so moonlight blocking out dimmer meteors will not be an issue.  Warm August weather should make it comfortable to sit outside or lie down on a blanket and look toward the northeast.  At its peak, the Perseids will produce and average of a meteor per minute.  The best time to view the meteors is after midnight.  Below is a listing of the days of the shower and the number of meteors that may be expected on that date. Continue reading “Summer 2018”

The Next Vacation Spot

     All of this cold weather has me thinking about taking a vacation.  I really want to head to some place warm and with no snow outside the window.  A place were all my worries would be hundreds of miles away.  If you feel like this too, I know where we can go.  Let’s start making our plans to go to the Aurora Station.

     Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger unveiled the Aurora Station concept on April 5 at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, Calif.  What is the Aurora Station?  It is a new hotel that is expected to be the premier destination for space tourists.  The Aurora Station will be launched into low Earth orbit in late 2021.  The reservation counter is now open for rooms beginning in 2022.  Continue reading “The Next Vacation Spot”

Elon Musk’s Tesla Picks Up Hitchhiker

     On Feb. 6, 2018, at 3:45 p.m., the Falcon Heavy Rocket launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  During this launch, the first ever for the Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk sent his 2008 Tesla Roadster into space as a test payload.  Images of the cherry red, electric-powered sports car were soon seen all over the world–and apparently elsewhere. Continue reading “Elon Musk’s Tesla Picks Up Hitchhiker”