Sky & Telescope: Amateur Planet Hunters Have a New Online Resource. “Searching for planets outside our solar system might seem like a task best left to the pros. But amateurs have quite a bit to contribute as well. That’s the impetus for a new online database for collecting and archiving amateur exoplanet observations. The database, managed by the non-profit American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), will provide a central hub for the long-term monitoring that is essential for refining the orbits and properties of known exoplanets as well as looking for hints of worlds that have yet to be discovered.”
Phys .org: Jodrell Bank Observatory release 50 year-old audio archive of Soviet Zond 6 lunar mission. “Jodrell Bank is releasing audio recordings of a Soviet space mission from fifty years ago, just as the race to the moon was approaching the finish line. On November 10th 1968, the Soviet Union launched Zond 6. Its mission was to loop around the moon and return to Earth safely. Although there was nobody on board, it was planned as a precursor to a crewed flight around the moon, racing to beat the American’s Apollo 8 whose launch was scheduled for December 1968.”
Ubergizmo: SpaceX’s Moon Mission Will Be Live Streamed In VR. “SpaceX recently confirmed more details about its Moon mission that’s planned for 2023. It also revealed the identity of the company’s first paying passenger for the trip around the moon who will be accompanied by eight artists on the trip as well. If you’re not one of those people, don’t worry, you will be able to experience the entire mission in virtual reality.”
Google Blog: Step aboard Discovery with virtual reality. “Today, on the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s maiden voyage, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Google Arts & Culture have teamed up to bring visitors into the orbiter like never before. Two of the astronauts who helped deliver Hubble to orbit as part of STS-31—Maj Gen Charlie Bolden and Dr. Kathy Sullivan—take us on a 360 journey inside Discovery at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.”
NASA: NASA, University of Texas at Dallas Reveal Apollo 11 Behind-the-Scenes Audio. “NASA’s Johnson Space Center has the only functional remaining tape recorder capable of playing those approximately 170 remaining tapes. But the time and effort of converting them to current digital formats was daunting, and required the tape deck to be modified from being able to handle two-channels at a time to handle the 30 channels on the historic tapes. But through a collaborative effort with The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), the conversion finally has been completed, and the unique perspective of those at the core of supporting humankind’s ‘giant leap’ is available to download and listen to all 19,000 hours of audio recordings.” This is an incredible achievement. I posted in December about what it took behind the scenes to get this digitizing done.
Emory University: Preserving the Apollo 15 Flight Data Logs. “In 2017, Emory University took the unique opportunity to create a digital learning hub centering around the Apollo Space Program. Emory Library and Information Technology Services borrowed materials from the 1971 Apollo 15 mission (NASA’s fourth manned mission to the moon) to use in creating an interactive website featuring the digital archives from the mission.”
SPACE: ‘Spacing Out with the Everyday Astronaut’ Launches on Facebook Watch with a ‘Marswalk’. “The Everyday Astronaut will take you on a simulated trip to Mars today (May 4), just a few hours before NASA launches its latest mission toward the Red Planet. Photographer Tim Dodd created the Everyday Astronaut persona after buying a used Russian spacesuit in an online auction in 2013. What started as a lark has become a long-running, elaborate art-and-education project that takes Dodd around the world — and now, onto your computer screen, in the new Facebook Watch series ‘Spacing Out with the Everyday Astronaut.'”