Monthly Archives: April 2011

Gagarin and the Enigmatic Vostok 1

April 12, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1 flight. Only four years after Sputnik ignited the space age, Gagarin became the first man to venture into space; the mission lasted 108 minutes and he made one orbit … Continue reading

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The Royal Institution and the Spirit of Improvement

The Royal Institution is now best known as the scientific home of Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy, and (for a short while) Thomas Young.  As such it was one of the cornerstones of nineteenth-century British chemical and physical research.  However, it … Continue reading

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Landings and Launches

Landing a spacecraft isn’t easy, especially when you’re landing on another planet. Aside from the challenges of a remote landing (i.e. landing without astronauts on board) are the challenges presented by the target planet’s environment.  Mars is a great example. … Continue reading

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A mystery astronomer?

The National Maritime Museum owns a painting that is something of a mystery, so I thought I would open the question up to readers of the blog. It was in the Museum’s foundational collection, donated by its major benefactor, Sir James Caird, and … Continue reading

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Is Eoanthropus dawsoni a valid species?

At the beginning of the twentieth century the search for our ancestors – the supposed “missing links” between man and the animal kingdom was a crucial point in the new emerging field of human palaeontology. First results came from Germany … Continue reading

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