A Peek at the Real Neil Armstrong

By Amy Shira Teitel | November 13, 2018 2:19 pm

img456-2“First Man” gave us a look at a side of Neil Armstrong we don’t see too often, focusing on the family side of his life over the science element, but even that only gave us a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes home and family life of the notoriously stoic first man on the Moon. Now, the brand new Armstrong-Engel Family Gallery has published personal, never-before-seen images of Neil and his family beginning in 1955 during his Edwards days gong all the way to 1969 and the Moon landing.

The gallery is the legacy of Neil Armstrong’s mother, Viola Armstrong, née Engel. Family legend has it that Viola researched the best types of film for different of cameras to make sure the prints would stand the test of time, bought a camera from a local shop in Neil’s hometown of Wapakoneta, and took the pictures that show us the real Neil. 

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

One Apollo Historian’s Thoughts on “First Man”

By Amy Shira Teitel | October 12, 2018 1:24 pm

s66-24380~origI managed to get to a preview screening of First Man this week! And as someone who has been steeped in Apollo and space history for the better part of her life (I learned about the Moon landing when I was seven and have been obsessed ever since) I have some thoughts about it… Heads up: there are spoilers. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

Should a Scientist Run NASA?

By Amy Shira Teitel | September 29, 2018 11:51 am
I got a little excited the first time I met then-Administrator Charlie Bolden in 2012! I did take a proper picture after, but this is just so good!

I got a little excited the first time I met then-Administrator Charlie Bolden in 2012! I did take a proper picture after, but this is just so good!

With every President comes a new NASA administrator, and the current admin, Jim Bridenstine, has raised a number of eyebrows. The strongest reaction to Bridenstine’s appointment comes from his lack of a science background, though more recent reports say he has changed his mind on climate change and does believe humans are responsible and can curb the effects we’re having on the planet. Nevertheless, the immediate knee-jerk reaction I saw from the space community raised the question is of whether a scientist is really the right person to run NASA.  

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About the Space Force

By Amy Shira Teitel | September 14, 2018 4:18 pm

800px-Boeing_X-37B_inside_payload_fairing_before_launchSpace Force, Trump’s proposed sixth military branch that would be responsible for all defence activity in space, has been met with mixed reviews, to say the least. But keen-eyed space fans will recognize that this is neither the first time America has proposed a military space program nor is it the case that space is free of military activity. So let’s look at the long history of military activity in space. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

The Enduring Myth of Phantom Cosmonauts

By Amy Shira Teitel | September 5, 2018 8:30 pm
Valentin Bondarenko, the burned man doctors thought was a killed cosmonaut. via Astronautix.

Valentin Bondarenko, the burned man doctors thought was a killed cosmonaut. via Astronautix.

There’s an ongoing fascination with the idea of phantom cosmonauts. The story goes something like this: a handful of Soviets launched into space before Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth, but because they all died their missions and deaths were covered up. The stories are myth. No one flew in space before Gagarin. Even X-15 flights above the Karman line came after 1962. But like any enduring myth, there is a kernel of truth in this story.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration

NASA Once Promised us Rocket Shoes!

By Amy Shira Teitel | August 3, 2018 2:37 pm

According to the 1950s, we should have jet packs and flying cars by now. Another lost transportation method from yesteryear: jet shoes. In the 1960s, NASA engineers built jet shoes for astronauts, which, in the revised history of everyone’s dreams, could have eventually trickled down to a consumer version. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

America Once Considered Nuking the Moon

By Amy Shira Teitel | July 2, 2018 1:55 pm

unnamedThe American reaction to Sputnik was diverse, to say the least. Some people were terrified. Some were excited by the scientific prospects of the now-dawned space age. Others immediately jumped to ways to match then beat the Soviets. And one Air Force Physicist, Leonard Reiffel, thought the best course of action in the wake of Sputnik was to nuke the Moon… Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class

By Amy Shira Teitel | June 8, 2018 3:51 pm
Valentina Tereshkova. NASA.

Valentina Tereshkova. NASA.

On June 16, 1963, Valeriy Bykovsky had been orbiting in Vostok 5 for a little under a day when he gained a companion: Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6. After more than a year of intensive training, she became, on that Sunday afternoon, the first woman in space.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics

How the Search for Life on Mars Got Smarter

By Amy Shira Teitel | May 25, 2018 12:06 pm

Humans have been captivated by Mars almost as long as we’ve been watching the night sky.

The ancient Greeks and Romans watched nightly as a reddish dot moved among the stars, growing dimmer and brighter in a two-year cycle. Each named it for the god of war; the Roman version, “Mars,” stuck. Renaissance astronomers became fascinated with the planet’s apparent backward movement, the so-called retrograde motion that could only be explained with the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the solar system. Modern scientists have looked to Mars as a potential home for extraterrestrial life, a search that has reshaped how we explore and think about other planets.

What is it about our celestial neighbor? Is it the planet itself that mesmerizes us? Or are we still, after centuries of speculation, hoping that learning more about Mars will tell us something more about ourselves? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

Peanuts: The Traditional Space Launch Snack

By Amy Shira Teitel | May 4, 2018 3:25 pm
Holding the current bottle of peanuts in the MSA. Teitel.

Holding the current bottle of peanuts in the MSA. Teitel.

Next to the Deep Space Network’s main control room at JPL is the aptly named Mission Supply Area. It’s an area used for major mission events like launches, landings, and orbit insertion burns, and if you go there on a tour someone will offer you peanuts. It’s tradition, a tradition that gained a lot of popularity when the world watched engineers eating peanuts during Curiosity’s 2012 landing on Mars. There’s even a cardboard cutout of NASA’s very own mohawk guy, Bobak Ferdowsi, behind the glass-encased bottle of peanuts that was in the room that night! But the tradition is far older. It dates back to 1964 when America was desperate for a successful lunar mission.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Vintage Space

Vintage Space is all about digging into the minutia of the space age. Rather than retelling glossy stories of astronauts, Vintage Space peels back that veneer to look at the real stories -- the innovations that failed, the unrealized technologies, and the human elements that are less publicity-friendly so often remain buried. Gaining a clear picture of spaceflight's past ultimately helps us understand our present position in space and have a more realistic expectation of what the future might bring.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar
+