Apr 212024

First discovery of extrasolar planets (now called exoplanets) was announced in 1994. As of mid-April, 2024, NASA announced that data from the Kepler Space Observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, and other instruments had located 5,612 exoplanets. Scientists have observed another 10,170 exoplanets yet to be confirmed. In addition, experts have found 4,175 planetary systems. Children could learn more at the NASA site, especially the Interactives Tab, at: http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/.

May 042024

Magellan fixed inside Atlantis

Atlantis, an American shuttle spacecraft, was launched in 1989. It successfully deployed Magellan, which traveled to Venus to map the planet’s surface. Magellan encountered Venus on August 10, 1990 and began taking high-quality radar images on September 15, 1990. It continued to photograph the planet’s surface, making six complete mapping cycles. Magellan mapped about 98 percent of Venus’s surface. It was commanded to plunge into Venus’s surface, still sending data, on October 13, 1994. Children could learn more at: Magellan.

May 062024

The Channel Tunnel, also called the Chunnel, connecting the United Kingdom and France, opened in 1994. It is 31 miles long, 23 of those miles under water. Digging beneath the English Channel began in 1988. Today about 18 million people travel on trains through the Chunnel each year. Children could learn more at a very interesting site: http://www.eurotunnel.com/build/.

Jul 162024

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 began crashing into Jupiter in 1994. The comet was first observed by Carolyn and Eugene M. Shoemaker and David Levy on March 24, 1993. The comet had already broken apart into about 21 pieces, and scientists observed the explosions through telescopes, including the Hubble telescope. The last piece of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter on July 22, 1994. Scientists learned a great deal about Jupiter because the impacts caused ripples traveling at 260 miles per second on the planet’s surface. Children could learn more at: Shoemaker-Levy 9.