Author Archives: seanmcsolsys

Blog #6 The Future of Mining

Due to Earth being a terrestrial planet, much of our world’s material falls into the categories of rock and metal. An incredible motivator through humanity’s history has been our love of gold, silver, platinum and now other rare earth metals. We have been willing to blast open mountains and strip open land in the quest […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #5 Venus and Venera 7

Barely a year after we landed a man on the moon, one of our space probes successfully landed on an alien world and transmitted data back to Earth. The Soviet space probe Venera 7 was the first time a lander had survived a surface landing on another planet, even with a damaged parachute. Despite the […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #4 Spacecraft and “Gold Foil”

If you’ve ever seen pictures of satellites being prepped in clean rooms, you’ve probably seen the immense amounts of gold foil covering the crafts. You might think the foil’s purpose is to keep the probe clean until launch, or that gold’s conductive and malleable properties aid the function of the vehicle. For space travel, it’s neither. […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #3 James Webb Space Telescope

The flagship of the next generation telescopes launches in October 2018. The James Webb Space Telescope is an infrared telescope with its focus on the very first light from the Big Bang. With its 6.5 meter primary mirror and various cameras and spectrometers, the JWST will study the boundaries of the observable universe as well […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Historical Astronomers in Context

Johannes Kepler Birth December 27, 1571 Death November 15, 1630 The Emperor Rudolph in Prague was in political trouble with his brother Matthias in 1611. Rudolph was forced to give up his position as King of Bohemia. Kepler’s advice was sought out by both brothers. He had been part of Rudolph’s court and Matthias’ rise […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #2 Observation

Much of what has been covered in class so far has been from the perspective of an observer on Earth. We know that light pollution from cities makes it difficult to see starlight with the naked eye. With that in mind, observatories tend to be far away from city limits. Additionally, they tend to be […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #1 Vast Size and Scale

From Chapter 1 of our course textbook, we dived deep into the vastness that is space. We explored what our cosmic address is, how long it takes to travel among the stars in terms of light-years, and measured our distance from the center of the Milky Way. Despite this almost unimaginable expanse, the chapter doesn’t really […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Blog #0 Starting Up

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