TIME space travel

When Man Met Moon

The cover of Time Magazine on July 25, 1969
The cover of Time Magazine on July 25, 1969

Forty-five years after the giant leap for mankind, TIME remembers the July 25, 1969, issue

There’s always something grandiose about gazing back across the gulf of history. Today, we know so much about what was to come, and the people of the past knew so very little. It’s impossible to read through TIME’s July 25, 1969 issue—which was released 45 years ago this week, will be re-released in full on Time’s tablet edition next week and featured the epochal Apollo 11 moon-landing on its cover—and not indulge in some of that generational smugness. There is the good-news story about a lull in the fighting in Vietnam—a story that feels a lot less good when you know that the war would drag on for six more years and kill more than 15,000 additional American soldiers. There was the laudatory profile of Attorney General John Mitchell, the man nicknamed “Nixon’s heavyweight,” who would later come to be known less nobly as inmate number 24171-157, serving 19 months in prison for his part in the Watergate scandal.

There were the ads too—for sugar as a diet food (it can “turn your appestat back to low”), for Marlboro Longhorn 100′s, for RCA’s Octoputer, a computer mainframe that “works from way over here where you are to way over there where it is.” There was the story about the European Common Market, and the question of whether it would ever lead to a true European Union. (Answer: yes, sort of, eventually.) There was the speculation over what effect the Chappaquiddick accident, which occurred the same week as the moon landing, would have on Teddy Kennedy’s “nationwide constituency,” polite code for his Presidential prospects. (Answer: a bad one.) The folly of “the appestat,” the future of the computer, the bloody arc of Vietnam were all part of the unknowable future to the people of then and are just lines in the historical archives to the people of now.

But here’s the thing about those people, the ones who opened that edition of TIME two generations ago—that paper edition with its adhesive mailing label and its Louis Glansman acrylic painting of Neil Armstrong on the cover, which was the best color image of the moonwalk available since the Apollo 11 crew had not yet returned home with their hand-carried rolls of film that would still have to be taken to the lab for processing and then hand-distributed or sent by wire to the world: those people belonged to an age that could put human beings on the moon and you don’t.

They had achieved that momentous feat just days before TIME’s issue hit the stands and would do it again and again and again and again. They had gone from a standing start on a spit of land in eastern Florida in 1961 to the Sea of Tranquility in 1969, not only proving that the damned thing could be done, not only besting the Russians, who had long led the Space Race—the great meme of that pre-meme age—but making a war-torn, race-torn nation that had every reason to feel very, very bad about itself, feel, at least briefly, very, very good.

That the giddy forecasts that followed the mission never materialized—the boot prints on Mars in 1982, the 12-person space stations (“including the first American spacewoman,” TIME reported) by the 1970s—does nothing to diminish the thing that did happen. That thing happened two generations ago this summer, and it kept happening until 1972, when American astronauts left the moon for the last time—and for what has turned out to be a very long time. So hat tip to you, people of 1969; maybe we’ll grow up to be just like you.

TIME UAE

UAE Plans First Arab Spaceship to Mars in 7 Years

(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — The United Arab Emirates, already home to the world’s tallest tower, is now reaching for the stars. The energy-rich country on the eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula announced plans Wednesday to establish a space program to send the first Arab spaceship to Mars in 2021.

The ruler of the UAE’s emirate of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said the mission will prove the Arab world is still capable of delivering scientific contributions to humanity, despite the many conflicts across the Middle East.

“Our region is a region of civilization. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilize,” said Al Maktoum, who is also UAE’s vice president, in a statement.

For years, the UAE has been pushing Arab League nations to create a pan-Arab space agency similar to the European Space Agency.

A UAE Cabinet statement said the unmanned space probe is also aimed at diversifying the country’s economy and building up its local talent in the technology and aerospace fields.

The government did not say how much the program is expected to cost, but said the space agency would report to the Cabinet and be financially and administratively independent otherwise.

The UAE, which is comprised of seven emirates, says that its investments in space technologies already exceed 20 billion dirham, or roughly $5.4 billion. That includes investments in satellite data, mobile satellite communications and earth mapping and observation.

The Cabinet statement said the space technologies industry is estimated to be worth around $300 billion globally, and is increasingly important to the security of nations.

For hundreds of years up until the mid-13th century, Islamic advancements in science and technology experienced a golden age, but later fell behind. The ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and UAE President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan said the Mars probe “represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration.”

Several Muslim-majority nations such as Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran already have space agencies or programs.

Iran sent a monkey into space for the second time last year, returning it safely to earth, and says it aims to send an astronaut into space.

There have also been several Muslim astronauts from around the world. Saudi-born Prince Sultan bin Salman Al-Saud became the first Muslim and Arab to travel to space in 1985.

Meanwhile, Egypt became the first Arab country to launch its own communications satellite in 1998, dramatically transforming the broadcasting landscape in the region.

The Dubai ruler said his country chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because it inspires and motivates.

“The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward,” he said.

TIME space travel

Watch: Astronauts Aboard ISS Answer Your Questions

What simple pleasures are missing up in space? A nice, warm shower, for starters

+ READ ARTICLE

Three of the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station spoke with TIME this week, via video downlink, to answer some of our readers’ questions on their daily lives 240 miles above Earth.

Watch this video clip for answers to everything–from what types of cameras these three use in space to get stunning shots like this one, to they really miss about the old home planet.

TIME space travel

Photos: Life Aboard the International Space Station

Ahead of TIME's July 9 talk with the astronauts on board the International Space Station, take a look back at ISS Expedition 41.

TIME space travel

NASA’s New Rover May Soon Explore Frozen Waters in Outer Space

A new space rover prototype is being developed for underwater exploration in space, but in the meantime it is helping scientists gain a better understanding of Earth's seas

+ READ ARTICLE

Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have finally built a robot that will be able to chart the icy waters found in outer space — like on Jupiter’s moon Europa — going where no other space robot has gone before.

The Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration (BRUIE) is operated through satellite link and designed to cling onto the underside of ice with metal tires, transmitting measurements back to scientists and assessing whether the waters host other life-forms. Scientists have already built rovers that can withstand the dry terrain of the Earth’s moon and Mars, but this is the first such machine built to explore extraterrestrial aquatic bodies.

BRUIE is currently being tested in frozen Alaska lakes, but engineers hope that the robot will one day be flown to Europa. NASA maintains that although the rover is prototyping exploration on other celestial bodies, the test runs in Alaska are also allowing scientists to gain a better understanding of Earth’s frozen waters — at present, 95% of Earth’s oceans remain unchartered.

TIME space travel

NASA Is Using a Giant Laser to Transmit Videos From Space

Ditch your WiFI

+ READ ARTICLE

NASA has begun using a specialized laser to transfer high-definition video from the International Space Station, an innovation that will allow the agency to transfer information from space much more rapidly than it’s currently capable of doing.

The technology uses a focused beam modulated from a 2.5 Watt, 1,550-nanometer laser to transmit information through space, NASA said. The laser increases the speed at which information is transmitted from 10 to 1,000 times over current radio transmissions from space.

On Thursday, the agency transferred a 175-megabit video from space to the ground in 3.5 seconds.

NASA likened the innovation to an upgrade from dial-up to DSL.

“It’s incredible to see this magnificent beam of light arriving from our tiny payload on the space station,” Matt Abrahamson, the mission’s manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.

TIME space travel

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth With Space Station Research

SpaceX Dragon
In an image from video provided by NASA, the SpaceX commercial cargo ship Dragon prepares to leave the International Space Station on May 18, 2014. NASA/AP

The commercial cargo ship touched down in the Pacific Ocean Sunday with research samples that could help improve astronaut health. The Dragon, which arrived in the Pacific Ocean, will be retrieved by boats and taken to Los Angeles, then to SpaceX's McGregor, Texas facility

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship returned safely to Earth Sunday afternoon, NASA announced shortly after its arrival in the Pacific Ocean. Dragon touched down packed with more than 3,500 pounds of scientific samples and other cargo from the International Space Station.

Dragon will be retrieved by boats and taken to Los Angeles, California, then eventually to SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas facility. Some of its cargo, including frozen research samples, will be returned to NASA by Tuesday.

“The science samples returned to Earth are critical to improving our knowledge of how space affects humans who live and work there for long durations,” NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations William Gerstenmaier said in a statement. “Now that Dragon has returned, scientists can complete their analyses, so we can see how results may impact future human space exploration or provide direct benefits to people on Earth.”

The research materials carried by Dragon could help scientists to understand why antibiotics aren’t as effective in space as they are on Earth.

TIME

High-Res Imaging Satellite Prepped for Launch

A technician wearing a clean suit runs tests on WorldView-3, a new high-resolution imaging satellite owned by commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe, at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.
A technician wearing a clean suit runs tests on WorldView-3, a new high-resolution imaging satellite owned by commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe, at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Brennan Linsley—AP

DigitalGlobe's new satellite, WorldView-3, which is slated to launch in August, will be able to capture images of objects that are just 1 ft. in size while in orbit. The new gizmo was shown off at a facility in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday

A commercial satellite company is performing final tests on its new high-resolution imaging satellite in advance of an August launch date, officials said Tuesday.

DigitalGlobe and satellite builder Ball Aerospace Corp. displayed WorldView-3 at a facility in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. The satellite will launch sometime on Aug. 13 or 14 aboard the Atlas 5 rocket at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

From its location 383 miles above earth, the new satellite will be able to capture images of objects as small as 1 ft. across, although government regulations do not allow the company to sell footage with resolution finer than approximately 20 in.

Walter Scott, the founder and chief technical officer of the company, said DigitalGlobe can offer a 16-in. resolution and is hoping to get federal approval to sell those images.

DigitalGlobe, which provides images for both private clients and government agencies, has five satellites currently in orbit.

[The Republic]

TIME space travel

This Is NASA’s Spacesuit of the Future

NASA

This aesthetic design, with electroluminescent wiring, was chosen in a public poll, but the technology is an upgrade on a prototype that TIME said was one of the best inventions of 2012.

NASA on Wednesday unveiled a new prototype spacesuit as it moves forward with a project to send humans to Mars.

The Z-2 Spacesuit “Technology” design is the latest prototype for a spacesuit that will be able to provide the first astronauts on Mars with a safe and comfortable enclosure.

It’s an upgrade from the Z-1, a suit that provided more flexible joints and radiation protection and which TIME said was one of the best inventions of 2012. NASA says the latest iteration, unlike the Z-1, has a hard composite upper torso designed to provide longer durability. On top of that, some of the joints have been upgraded to optimize mobility.

The Z-2 will take on the “Technology” design, which was selected by 233,431 voters over two other designs, and be ready for testing in November. But the suit will remain in prototype mode, and NASA says improvements to this suit will lead to Z-3.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser