All posts by Zand Space

Crashing into the Moon (version 1)

Watch the updated version on:

A whole new space race has begun. Over the next decade, the United States… Germany… England… Japan… India… China… Russia… and even a few private companies… have plans to send rockets to explore the moon.

They will map the lunar surface… search for clues to its origins… and find out what’s there that humans can use to survive.

A Russian mission will send seismic detectors into the soil to monitor moon-quakes… and study the flow of heat from the moon’s core.

A Japanese mission will use x-rays to search for rare minerals.

An American mission is prospecting for water in the shadowy craters at the Moon’s poles.

But governments aren’t the only ones joining this new race to the Moon;

With more missions on the drawing boards…

– and the chance to actually make money developing space businesses –

private ventures are angling to supply launch or human transport services….

And even begin exploiting space resources like energy…materials…and the freedom from gravity itself.

Private robotics teams, vying for the 30 million dollar Google Lunar X-Prize, are designing, building and planning to launch rovers with video cameras to explore lunar landscapes.

It’s inspired by the Orteig prize Continue reading Crashing into the Moon (version 1)

Flattr this!

Saturn’s Mysterious Moons (V1)

Watch this and other space videos at

Make sure you see version 2 of this video. Some 900 million miles from the Sun,orbiting the planet Saturn, lies a mysterious world. Enceladus is enveloped in ice. Because nearly all of the sunlight that manages to hit its surface is reflected back into space, it’s one of the brightest objects in the solar system.

At its equator, the temperature is –315 degrees Fahrenheit. But, at the poles, the temperature is at least 15 degrees warmer… and as much as 65 degrees warmer in grooves that stretch across the south like tiger stripes.

In 2005, the Cassini spacecraft spotted a complex plume of water vapor shooting out into space from several locations near the south pole. That may mean that Enceladus harbors a remarkable secret below its frigid surface:

A liquid ocean… and maybe… some forms of life. This discovery was the culmination of a search that began over three decades ago. Back in 1979, the outer planets of the solar system lined up in such a way that mission planners were able to dispatch the Voyager spacecraft to fly past each of them.

The two Voyagers sent back tens of Continue reading Saturn’s Mysterious Moons (V1)

Flattr this!

The Asteroid that Flattened Mars

Just about every two years, the planet Mars makes its closest approach to Earth… around 36 million miles.

That’s when we pack our robotic emissaries off to the Red Planet, timing their launches to spend the least effort to get there.

Some fly around it… snapping pictures…

Others land … to sample its surface….

…a few to crawl around its canyons and craters.

These probes may pave the way for human explorers… and, perhaps permanent settlers… who’ll dig deeper still… in search of answers to our most pressing question:

Did Mars develop far enough — and stay that way long enough — for life to arise?

And, if so, does anything live now within Mars’ dusty plains… beneath its ice caps… or maybe somewhere underground?

Mars does not give up its secrets easily … it’s almost as if the little planet is embarrassed.

Over a century ago, a few observers thought they saw clues that Mars is alive.

In 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli noted markings… which he saw as a latticework of lines. He called them “canali” in Italian… meaning nothing more than “shallow channels” in English.

American astronomer, Percival Lowell, found the lure of Continue reading The Asteroid that Flattened Mars

Flattr this!