The First Humans to the Moon, Apollo 8

This Christmas it is 50 years since the first humans got an up close and personal look at the Moon. Apollo 8 was launched on 21 December 1968 and entered lunar orbit on 24 December, just in time for the crew to celebrate Christmas further from the Earth than anyone had ever celebrated Christmas, or anything else, ever.

News from the Solar System

In New Zealand, Space Starts with Sheep; a new season is about to open for exoplanets as scientists discover an efficient method to predict microlensing; Earth’s Moon to be used as a giant radio telescope; “Hello, Andromeda calling”, gravitational waves might be used to carry information; 1500 km long water cloud appears on Mars after the planet-wide storm from last month, while InSider probe has only one month left hurling through space, and will land on Mars in November; scientists narrow down the landing sites for Mars 2020 rover;  change of plans, why not land among the clouds of Venus? Hubble and Chandra telescopes have been repaired, mostly by switching them on and off and stay tuned for the position of Uranus in the sky.

News from the Solar System

Riding on Elon Musk’s muscle power earthlings are preparing to invade the Moon again. There they will find that some of its craters have been renamed to honour the Apollo 8 mission, the first to orbit our natural satellite 50 years ago. Venus is hailed by the Parker Solar probe that swings by it, Jupiter’s Moon Europa has 15 meters ice spikes on the surface and Saturn’s rings are not just water nor all the lost airline luggage. Mars has to resign to the idea that earthlings have figured out how to grow plants on it. Not even perchlorates can stop them. And last but not least, New Horizons is unstoppable going towards Ultima Thule.

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