Nearly a decade ago, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab waved goodbye to the New Horizons spacecraft as it set out on a journey far away. Very far away. More than a billion miles away, in fact. And next week, New Horizons will finally reach its most distant point: Pluto.
According to the International Astronomical Union, all new planetary craters must be named after famous artists. Mars has an Asimov crater and a Tolstoy crater; Mercury has a Dickens crater. Now that a mission to Mercury (helmed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab) has mapped five more craters, they need names.
Yes, the movie Interstellar–which features a spacecraft entering a wormhole in the vicinity of Saturn, and zipping over into another galaxy–is fiction. But NASA is currently in the process of sending a a probe three billion (!!) miles through deep space in order to gain more information about Pluto and its moons.
Baltimore native and current International Space Station resident Reid Wiseman is the first astronaut celebrity of the social media age. From his home 200 miles above Earth, Wiseman has been tweeting up a storm, sharing dramatic photos of cities (including Baltimore), and even posting the first-ever Vine from space.
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with the stars? No, not those stars — I mean Betelgeuse and Rigel and Sirius. Those are some of the most notable stars in our night sky, and you’ll get a chance to see them in all their magnified glory at tomorrow night’s star party, hosted by the Space Telescope Science Institute.
This is a big deal: as of last week, the Voyager 1 spacecraft — staffed in part by teams of scientists from Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab and the University of Maryland’s Space Physics Group — made it out of our solar system and into interstellar space. It is the first man-made object to ever do so.
Every year, a few dozen specially-chosen educators get to go to space. Okay, well, space camp. Baltimore Fishbowl caught up with Tamirate Ajkig, a science teacher at Digital Harbor High School who was one of the special few who got to spend a week at Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
What was a typical day like?
The days were brutal! We’d wake up at 6am and might not get finished until 8pm. After a quick eat-and-run breakfast, we had classroom activities, simulations, team-building exercises, tours, and guest lecturers. We learned about everything from rocketry to robots to designing curricula.
Last week, NASA announced that Christina Hammock, an electrical engineer who works at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, is one of eight new astronaut candidates winnowed from a pool of more than 6000 applicants. Hammock heads to space school at NASA’s Johnson Space Center this summer. And I am officially so jealous.