12 Everyday Objects We Have To Thank The First Apollo Mission For

A lot of debate has ensued surrounding whether or not is was worth it financially and otherwise to spend the fortunes used to put men on the Moon. The seminal Apollo Program that saw man landing on the Moon on 20th July 1969 produced the following 12 items that we regularly employ on a daily basis. Judge for yourself if it was worth it:-

  1. The invention of the CAT scanner for use on the first Apollo mission was at the time used to detect imperfections in space components on the Moon. Now it is widely and successfully used for detecting the presence of cancer.
  2. Integrated circuits that were initially used in the Apollo Guidance Computer equipment for the Moon landing have found their way into today’s modern usage. miniaturised and more powerful microchips have acceded their original intended usage, but nevertheless owe a lot to the first Apollo mission.
  3. The wide usage of the many cordless power tools making life easier today is all thinks to the first Apollo mission. All types of power drills and vacuum cleaners now use technology initially designed to drill for and collect moon samples.
  4. First pioneered for the Apollo mission was Freeze-dried food. Food weight and the increases of its shelf life, without sacrificing any of its nutritional value, was also an added bonus. Today, existing without frozen food is unthinkable.
  5. The first employment of a joystick was for the sole use on the Apollo Lunar Rover. It es originally used for the specific purpose of collecting samples and directing the vehicle. Now it is an essential computer gaming device adopted by every gamer.
  6. Returning to its original form, memory foam was originally created for aircraft seats in order to soften the aircraft landing. The is now used in multiple products including mattresses and shock absorbing helmets. This mass produced substance is all thanks to the Apollo Moon Landing of 1969.
  7. NASA can be said to have invented satellite television. The precise technology was needed and employed to fix errors in spacecraft signals and helped to reduce the scrambled pictures and sound produced from the received satellite television incoming signal. The millions of satellite and cable television viewers of today have NASA expertise and the Apollo Moon landing mission to thank.
  8. The humble pair of spectacles were made ten times more scratch resistant because of the Moon landing. NASA’s perfection and need for scratch resistant lenses that comprised the astronaut’s helmet visor coating, unknowingly benefited greatly those who came after the successful mission.
  9. The regularly used, ever present, smoke detector that is a stalwart of our health and safety conscious lifestyle and legislative must of today was perfected by NASA during the Apollo mission: NASA invented the first adjustable smoke detector with a sensitivity level that will prevent a false alarm.
  10. The material used to design the world’s fastest swimsuit was made using the same principles of reducing drag as was perfected by space travel to the Moon. There are those who believe this produces an unfair advantage but anybody can use the ‘Speedo’. It will ultimately depend on the quality of the athlete.
  11. Water filters are in common use today. Popular domestic versions use a technique NASA pioneered and developed to kill off bacteria in water that is taken into space. Even though rudimentary water filter systems can be traces back to as long ago as 5,000 BC, today’s daily usage stems from techniques pioneered following the Moon landing.
  12. Teflon was integral to the astronauts who flew in the first Apollo spaceship crafts. Teflon was used in astronauts space suits to protect them from harmful solar radiation and also protect them from micrometeoroids and other orbiting debris that could easily puncture and depressurise their space suits. Today Teflon is widely known for its non-stick properties regarding the myriad of pans and cookware available commercially. What is not widely known is that Teflon was liberally used by NASA but was invented as long as 20 years previously. This is a myth NASA does little to dispel.

10 Tips For Using Your First Telescope

10 Tips For Using Your First Telescope


  1. Firstly, choose an easy to find object in the sky or on land. Observing land objects during the daytime is a good way to become accustomed to the operation of your telescope. At night, try to observe the Moon at first or an extremely bright star.

  2. Never, never point your telescope directly at the sun. Looking at the sun directly through a telescope can cause instant and irreversible eye damage.

  3. The way to centre an object using your telescope is to first use the viewfinder to find the object you wish to observe. When the object is centered in the viewfinder, it should then be somewhere in the main telescope’s field of view.

  4. When observing an astronomical object, you will notice that the object will begin to move slowly through your field of view. This motion is caused by the rotation of the earth and makes an object appear to be moving. To keep the objects in the telescopes field of view, simply move the telescope up or down, or side to side. At higher powers, astronomical objects will seem to move through the field more rapidly.

  5. If an object starts to become fuzzy when you magnify it by increasing your viewfinder power, back down to a lower power. The atmosphere will not yet be steady enough to support higher powers.

  6. Avoid looking at sites where vibrations can cause image movement. Viewing from the top of a tall building may also cause image movement.

  7. Allow several minutes for your eyes to become accustomed to the dark before attempting any serious observations. You can use a red-filtered flash light to protect your night vision when reading star maps or adjusting your telescope. A filter can be easily be made by taping red cellophane over the flashlights lens.

  8. Avoid setting up your telescope inside and viewing through a open window. Images will appear blurred or distorted due to the temperature differences between the inside and outside air. Allow your telescope to reach the surrounding outside temperature before starting an observation session.

  9. Being patient is paramount when attempting to map the night sky. We live in an age when many people expect instant gratification. Stargazing is a hobby whereby biding your time prior to getting results is a prerequisite. Too often, a new telescope purchase can attract that run of cloudy nights! Even when the skies do become clear, viewing may not be ideal right away, hang fire.

  10. Above all, when the dark nights are upon us, wrap up nice and warm. It is pretty near impossible to be enthusiastic about exploring the Universe if you are shivering. Even summer nights can be pretty chilly under the right circumstances. Be prepared for all types of weather.

About Our Solar System

Our tiny little world has gazed out upon the cosmic ocean for thousands and thousands of years. Ancient stargazers and astronomers have observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They named these objects planets, which to them meant wanderers, and they later named them after Roman deities, like; Jupiter the king of the gods; Mars, the god of war; Mercury, the messenger of the gods; Venus, the god of love and beauty, and Saturn, the father of Jupiter and the god of agriculture. These stargazers also witnessed comets with sparkling tails, and also meteors or shooting stars apparently falling from the sky.

When the telescope was invented and put to use, three more planets have been discovered in our solar system: Uranus in 1781), Neptune in 1846, and Pluto in 1930. There are also hundreds of thousands of small bodies including asteroids and comets. Most of these asteroids orbit in a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, whilst the home of comets lies much farther beyond the orbit of Pluto, in the Oort Cloud.

The four planets that are closest to the Sun – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars – are described as the terrestrial planets because they have solid rocky surfaces. The four large planets beyond the orbit of Mars – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – are routinely referred to as gas giants.

The quite small, distant planet of Pluto has a solid but icier surface than the terrestrial planets. Practically every planet – and some of their moons – have some type of atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere is primarily made up of nitrogen and oxygen. Venus has a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, with traces of poisonous gases such as sulphur dioxide. Mars’ atmosphere, which is extremely thin, is carbon dioxide. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune have mainly hydrogen and helium based atmospheres. When Pluto moves near to the Sun, it has quite a thin atmosphere, but as Pluto travels to the outer reaches of its orbit, its atmosphere freezes then collapses to the surface of the planet. Pluto then acts like a comet.

141 natural satellites have been discovered – which are also referred to as moons – in orbit around the many planets in our solar system. They range from bodies larger than our own Moon, to small pieces of floating debris.

Many of these were discovered by planetary spacecraft. Some of these have moons that have atmospheres, like Saturn’s Titan. Some even have magnetic fields, like Jupiter’s Ganymede. Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system. An ocean may lie beneath the frozen crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa, while images of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede show historical motion of icy crustal plates. Some planetary moons may actually be asteroids that were captured by a planet’s gravitational pull.

Captured asteroids presently counted as moons, may include Phobos and Deimos, several satellites of Jupiter, Saturn’s Phoebe, many of Uranus’ new satellites, and possibly Neptune’s Nereid.

From 1610 to 1977, Saturn was thought to be the only planet with rings. We now know that Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have ring systems, although Saturn’s is by far the largest. Particles in these ring systems range in size from dust to boulders to house sized, and may be rocky and/or icy.

Most of the planets also have magnetic fields which extend into space and form a magnetosphere around each planet. These magnetospheres rotate with the planet, sweeping charged particles with them. The Sun has a magnetic field, the heliosphere, which envelops our entire solar system.

Ancient astronomers once upon a time believed that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, and that the Sun and all the other stars revolved around the Earth.  Copernicus proved that Earth and the other planets in our solar system orbit our Sun. Little by little, we are charting the Universe, discovering new planets all the time, and searching for the existence of other life forms. Are there other planets where life might exist?

The space-race is now undoubtedly under-way, with numerous public and private corporations vying to be the one to discover a habitable planets.

The 21st century will see space tourism expand exponentially to new heights.

Facts About Earths Moon

It is an opportune moment to dwell on this article as the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing which took place on 21st July, and the exploration of the planet’s surface which began the next day, following tests and experimentation to determine the safety of further progress, took place. The following is a look at our relationship with the Moon over recent years.


The regular daily and monthly rhythms of the Earth’s only natural satellite, the Moon, has guided timekeepers for thousands of years. Its influence on Earth’s cycles, notably tides, has also been charted by many cultures in many ages. More than 70 spacecraft have been sent to the Moon; 12 astronauts have walked upon its surface and brought back 382 kg (842 pounds) of lunar rock and soil to Earth over the last 50 years.


The presence of the Moon was discovered to stabilise the Earth’s wobble. This has led to a
much more stable climate over the billions of years of our existence, which may have affected the course of the development and growth of life on Earth.

How did the Moon actually come to into being? The latest theory tells us that a Mars-sized body of debris once collided with Earth. The resulting debris from both the Earth and the body of debris, accumulated to form the Moon. Scientists believe that the Moon came into being approximately 4.5 billion years ago (the age of the oldest collected lunar rocks). When the Moon formed, its outer layers melted under very high temperatures, forming the lunar crust, probably from a global “magma ocean.”

From Earth, we see the same face of the Moon all the time because the Moon rotates just once on its own axis in very nearly the same time that it travels once around Earth. This is known as “synchronous rotation.” Patterns of dark and light features on the nearside have given rise to the fanciful “Man in the Moon” description of children’s stories.

The light areas are lunar highlands. The dark features, called Maria, are impact basins that were filled with dark lava between 4 and 2.5 billion years ago. After this time of volcanism, the Moon cooled down, and has since been nearly unchanged, except for a steady rain of “hits” by meteorites and comets over the millennia.

The Moon’s surface is charcoal gray and sandy, with much fine soil. This powdery blanket is called the lunar regolith, a term for mechanically produced debris layers on planetary surfaces. The regolith is thin, ranging from about 2 meters on the youngest Maria to perhaps 20 meters on the oldest surfaces in the highlands.

Unlike Earth, the Moon does not have moving crustal plates or active volcanoes. However, seismometers planted by the Apollo astronauts in the 1970s have recorded small quakes at depths of several hundred kilometres. The quakes are probably triggered by tides resulting from Earth’s gravitational pull.

Small eruptions of gas from some craters, such as Aristarchus, have also been reported. Local magnetic areas have been detected around craters, but the Moon does not have a magnetic field resembling Earth’s one.

A surprising discovery from the tracking of the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft in the 1960s revealed strong areas of high gravitational acceleration located over the circular Maria. These mass concentrations may have been caused by layers of denser, basaltic lavas that filled the mare basins.

In 1998, the Lunar Prospector spacecraft team reported finding water ice at both poles. Comet impacts deposited water on the Moon. Some of it migrated to very dark, very cold areas at the poles. Much remains to be learned about our Moon. Researchers continue to study the samples and data returned by Apollo and other missions, as well as lunar meteorites.

Both private and public corporations are studying intensly for a method of one day colonising this fascinating planet.

Fact and Figures

Discovered By: Unknown (Known by the Ancients)
Date of Discovery: Unknown

Average Distance from Earth
Metric: 384,400 km
English: 238,855 miles

Equatorial Circumference
Metric: 10,916 km
English: 6,783 miles

Metric: 21,970,000 km3
Scientific Notation: 2.197 x 1010 km3
By Comparison: 0.020 x Earth

Metric: 73,483,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Scientific Notation: 7.3483 x 1022 kg
By Comparison: 0.0123 x Earth

Metric: 3.341 g/cm3
By Comparison: 0.606 x Earth

Surface Area
Metric: 37,932,330 km2
English: 14,645,750 square miles


Who are the Players? (the Kids in Space)

These exciting times have brought the space race back into the consciousness of a large section of the public. 50 years ago The Soviet Union and the USA were the two giants who fought for supremacy.

Today in a much more commercially oriented era, there are four major players. They are:- Elon Musk; Richard Branson; Jeff Bezos.

The following major players are listed in no particular order. They all have a passion for space exploration and pushing the boundaries of possibility.

Elon Musk – Spacex

Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneur, who is speedily approaching his forties, is literally attempting to take over the world. His many projects have left an indelible mark on the outcomes of many miraculous undertakings. Such as, the amazingly successful Australian lithium battery energy cost-saving, and the TESLA electric car, as well as Elon’s many other companies.

Initially in 2001, Elon Musk inaugurated Mars Oasis. This project aimed to successfully land a small experimental greenhouse on Mars. Colonizing Mars to this day is where Elon focuses his energies.

Some see Elon Musk as a maverick, some see his as a visionary. What is indisputable is the fact he gets things done. Moving forward to today, Elon Musk has founded SpaceX, developed and launched multiple successful rocket tests.

Elon Musk has always believed that the key to making space travel affordable is to make every rockets reusable again. To this end his quest is to still reduce the cost of space exploration by at least a factor of 10 thus making space travel affordable for all those who wish be a part of the space race.

Richard Branson – Orbit

Catching up fast with Elon Musk is Richard Branson. He launched his company Virgin Orbit in Long Beach California in 2017. The sole aim being to launch small satellites, and like Elon Musk potentially make available to the public, space-flight and tourism.

Although relatively new, Virgin Orbit employ 300 engineers who are dedicated to advancing aerospace design and satellite launch.

“Opening space for everyone isn’t just our ultimate business goal — it’s also the principle that guides how we grow and nurture our diverse team. The Virgin Orbit crew spans the breadth of human backgrounds, skills and experience, and there’s room for you, too.”  Richard Branson

The future for Richard Branson and Virgin Oribit as new kids on the block Virgin are to continue working hard as they advance towards their inaugural flight and keep making progress. As new phases of testing are reached and partnerships between governments and private industry coexist, space-flight opportunities for everyone open up.

Jeff Bezos – Blue Origin

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is the latest space-flight entrepreneur to pave the way for affordable commercial space travel. Although his company Blue Origin has been in existence for almost 20 years, it is only relatively recently plans have emerged for cost effective space colonisation and Blue Origin.

For Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, space exploration is more about finding habitable conditions and taming  inhospitable conditions in space. The Moon is his focus of exploration where testing has begun.

During 2015 Jeff Bezos announced that his brand new orbital launch vehicle was currently being development and constructed which would make its first flight in late-2017. Later, Blue Origin’s New Sheppard space orbital  launch vehicle had a successful launch into space reaching its planned test altitude of 100.5 kilometres before it executed a perfect vertical landing returning to its launch site in West Texas. In 2016, Jeff Bezos invited a select group of journalists to visit, tour, and photograph his West Texas facility.

Jeff Bezos announced that he is now confident of the eventual colonisation of areas of space before 2030.


Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) have recently been developed in the form of reusable vehicles which began back in 2006. A USA commercially operated cargo vehicle without a crew was tabled as uncrewed cargo vehicles to service the International Space Station as a mean of cost-cutting was tabled. Private investment to raise unspecified aounts of revenue were proposed to keep NASA viable in today’s market.

In late 2008 NASA gave CRS contracts to both SpaceX and Virgin Orbital.SpaceX used its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to reach the ISS. Orbital used its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft.

The program saw an average of four crew personnel visiting the ISS at any one time. They stayed docked for an average of 180 days, then returning to Earth. It was then recognised that further private investment was needed.

2010 saw NASA announce the winners of the next phase of the program. $50 million was equally divided among five US companies for further research and development concerning human spaceflight technologies in the private sector. 2011 then saw the winners of a further phase of the program. Another $270 million was divided among four companies. In 2012, winners of the third phase of the space program were eventually announced by NASA who were to provide $1.1 billion which was divided among three companies for further development of their crew transportation systems. 2014 saw the winners of the final round announced by NASA. SpaceX’s Dragon V2  received a contract which was valued at up to $2.6 billion, and Boeing’s CST-100 received a contract valued at up to $4.2 billion.

Private industry continues to lead the way in cost-effective space exploration, even though NASA has the lion’s share of expertise and infrastructure.


It was in the month of May in 2013 that Jeff Bezos met with the Chaiman of Virgin Orbit Sir Richard Branson. They thoroughly discussed the possibilities of commercial spaceflight opportunities and strategic practicalities. Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos are as all billionaires who prioritize spaceflight among their business vast interests. They have immense interests and aspirations in common.

Nasa is a huge government backed organisation that is finding it hard to compete in the fast-moving, cost-cutting, value for money needs of the industry today. All four still have their parts to play.

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