Vintage Space Favourites of 2012

The Earth as seen by the crew of Apollo 10, 1969. Credit: NASA

The Earth as seen by the crew of Apollo 10, 1969. Credit: NASA

The past twelve months have been very good ones. I’ve met and worked with some incredible people, ventured into the (often awkward) world of podcasts and webcasts, and have read and written more than I ever did in grad school. Of the hundreds of articles I’ve written, a few stand out as favourites. And so, in no particular order, here are my top picks of 2012. These aren’t the big news items or the articles that got the most traffic. These are the ones that were fun to research and write, and the ones that taught me something new. [Read more…]

How JPL’s Peanut Tradition Started

A bottle of peanuts in JPL’s mission control on August 5, 2012. Credit: NASA

Last Sunday night, everyone watching NASA’s feed of Curiosity’s landing saw engineers in JPL’s mission control eating peanuts before the rover entered Mars’ atmosphere. Eating peanuts at particularly nerve-wracking points during a mission is a long standing tradition at JPL that dates back to the Ranger program. Specifically Ranger 7. The first peanuts eaten in Mission Control were a distraction for engineers during that very tense launch on July 28, 1964. Read the whole story on Discovery News.