World Space Week Quiz Answers! #WSW2013

Dreams of Other WorldsIn case you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat since you took our World Space Week Quiz, dying to know why you got a 91% instead of 100%, anticipate no longer! Check out the answers below and be sure to also pick up a copy of Chris Impey and Holly Henry’s brand new book, titled Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration.

1) Which unmanned spacecraft landed on Mars for the first time in US history in 1976?

Viking! The Viking probes were the first to orbit and touch down on Mars, taking high-res photos and exploring for any potential signs of life. (no signs of any Martian activity yet…)

2) Which space probe collected cosmic dust from the comet Wild 2 in 1999?

Stardust! The Stardust followed Wild 2 (a comet approximately 5 kilometers in diameter) to follow samples and take photos of its surface.

3) Which satellite was the first to map the stars and was named after a Greek astronomer?

Hipparcos! Named in reference to the Greek astronomer, Hipparchus, the Hipparcos contains various datasets for known stars, allowing us to catalog their position and distance.

4) Which two spacecrafts were known as the “Tireless Twins” for their long-distance exploration of other planet’s systems?

The Voyagers! This gruesome twosome was originally supposed to just explore Jupiter and Saturn, bu they ended up going all of the way out to Uranus and Neptune as well.

5) Which space telescope launched in 1999 allowed NASA to observe X-rays outside of Earth’s atmosphere?

Chandra! Known as one of the four “Great Observatories”, Chandra is still observing X-rays from space today.

6) Which spacecraft launched in 1995 monitors the “humming” of the Sun’s sound waves?

SOHO! The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (or SOHO) both explores the outer layers of the Sun and gets readings of radiant energy (in the form of sound waves) to learn about its interior structure.

7) What two spacecrafts were the first of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Missions to explore the surface and geology of Mars?

Spirit and Opportunity! This dynamic duo has been exploring the surface of Mars for quite some time, taking samples that help determine whether or not there was ever water on Mars, the general geology of the planet, and whether or not life could potentially be supported there.

8) Along with COBE, which spacecraft helps to map the radiant energy let off by the Big Bang?

WMAP! The WMAP measures differences in the temperature of the Big Bang’s remnant radiant heat in the sky to help us better understand the Big Bang as a model.

9) Which space telescope, launched in 2003, has the ability to see through interstellar dust to observe the distant formation of stars?

Spitzer! The Spitzer Space Telescope was the first infrared telescope of its time, allowing it to take photographs in space that were far better than any we had seen up until that point.

10) Which space telescope observes Earth atmosphere and has been in operation for over three decades?

Hubble! Probably the most famous of all the spacecrafts in this quiz, the Hubble Space Telescope is the only telescope designed to be serviced by astronauts in space.

11) Which spacecraft launched in 1997 orbits Saturn, exploring both the planet and its rings?

Cassini! After launching in 1997, it took Cassini seven years to reach Saturn’s orbit.

Proud of your score? Tweet it! #WSW2013

Want to see what these sorts of spacecrafts look like? Check out the infographic below!

“Dreams of Other Worlds”: The Mars Rovers #WSW2013

MERHouston, we have lift off!

All week long for World Space Week, we will be posting exclusive excerpts from Chris Impey and Holly Henry’s new book, Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration. Each day will include an excerpt from a different chapter about a different unmanned spacecraft, along with a picture of the craft that doubles as an iPhone background!

Today’s excerpt is from Chapter 3, and it talks about our strategy for learning more about Mars, and what the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are doing to help us with that.

Tomorrow will bring another chapter and another adventure, so stay tuned!

Decoding the Red Planet

As we saw in the last chapter, Mars seems dead to the orbiters that daily send back images of the surface. The atmosphere is tenuous, ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays scorch the soil, and it rarely gets above freezing even on the balmiest summer day.15 It’s unlikely any form of life could exist on the surface now, but Mars has not always been so inhospitable. NASA’s strategy in searching for life in the Solar System is to “follow the water,” and even if there’s no surface water now, there was in the past. Each of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, was designed for just a ninety-day mission. In the end, they have vastly exceeded expectations with their indomitable traverses of the forbidding Martian terrain. Think of them as twin robotic field geologists whose primary goal is to search for the signposts of water.16 The record of past water can be found in the rocks, minerals, and landforms on Mars, particularly those that could only have formed in the presence
of water.

Think you know all about these missions? Take our quiz and find out!
Proud of your score? Tweet it! #WSW2013

Welcome to World Space Week! #WSW2013

In honor of the 2013 World Space Week, we are celebrating all week long with all sorts of space-themed articles, quizzes, pictures, and more! To start of the week, which last from October 4th-10th, we put together a little quiz about some of the most famous and important unmanned space explorations in our nation’s history.
Feeling a little stumped? Fear not! Pick up a copy of Chris Impey and Holly Henry’s brand new book, titled Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration, which talks all about spacecrafts, probes, telescopes, rovers, and of course, the solar system.

Comment what your score is below and if you want to see the answers, click here.
Proud of your score? Tweet it! #WSW2013

Happy Space Week!