Moon Mission 2024: The plan to return to the lunar surface — and the tech that’ll get us there

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface in 1969 (credit: NASA)

UNLESS you’ve been living under an enormous rock or are a conspiracy theorist (in which case past form says you might get a punch in the face from Buzz Aldrin), you’ll know tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing that made heroes out of the Apollo 11 crew — Neil Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins’ mission was the first of six that saw astronauts leave footprints on the lunar surface.

Although truly revolutionary for its time, some of the technology that landed humans on the Moon was mind-bogglingly primitive by today’s standards. Even the smartphone in your pocket/handbag/manbag has thousands of times the processing power of the computer that guided the astronauts there.

In the 47 years since humans last set foot on lunar soil, tech has moved on — and in just a few years’ time, it could help us go back…

The full article appeared in the 19 July 2019 issue of Metro and can be also be viewed in the e-edition.

How Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit was saved using 3D scanning

Neil Armstrong's spacesuit (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)

The historic garment was painstakingly restored using light scanning and 3D mapping ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission launch

On 16 July 1969, three men flew to the moon. Their spacesuits have since been kept at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, but nothing lasts forever. The suit Neil Armstrong was wearing when he became the first man on the Moon hasn’t been on display for 13 years – until the museum decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign in July 2015. Dubbed ‘Reboot the Suit,’ it has 9,477 backers and has managed to raise more than $700,000 (around £539,000).

On 16 July this year, exactly 50 years after the flight, freshly restored Armsrtrong’s suit will go back on public display. First on temporary display, it’ll later become the centrepiece of the museum’s upcoming Destination Moon exhibition, slated for launch in 2022.

Armstrong’s historic garment is among the most fragile items in the museum’s collection. So how did the Smithsonian go about preserving it for future generations?

You can read the full article at Wired UK (originally published 8 July 2019).

Get into the groove: High-definition vinyl promises to be the next big thing in analogue music

Cambridge Audio Alva TT

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT

THE big vinyl comeback is no one-hit wonder. In 2018 sales of vinyl LPs rose for the 11th consecutive year to a whopping 4.2 million, according to music industry body BPI. To put that in perspective, just 205,000 LPs were sold when the format was floundering in 2007.

But while you’re listening to Arctic Monkeys’ retro-futurist triumph Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino — last year’s top seller out of the 12,000 LPs released on vinyl, incidentally — consider this: a new format will be amping up the analogue audio party when it hits shops at the end of the year. It’s called HD vinyl and it’s going to inject some big improvements into the audio quality of those polyvinyl chloride discs.

So with vinyl facing a next-gen upgrade and the dizzy rate at which new turntables are released, it’s no wonder that Record Store Day, which sees 200 UK independent record shops band together to celebrate and sell limited-edition releases, is back again this Saturday. Read on to make sure you’re ready for the latest high-def debate…

The full article appeared in the 12 April 2019 issue of Metro and can be also be viewed in the e-edition.

Good news for budding astronauts! Brownies can now earn a new space badge

Credit: Girlguiding

Girlguiding has teamed up with the UK Space Agency and the Royal Astronomical Society to introduce a new Space badge for Brownies.

The new interest badge is designed to encourage the astronauts and scientists of the future by giving them the skills and confidence to engage in astronomy and space science.

Available to 200,000 girls aged seven to ten, the new badge is part of a wider move to update the activities available to Brownies and Girl Guides.

Some 800 new activities and badge challenges have been launched to replace more outdated subjects and introduce areas that are more relevant to the modern world…

You can read the full article on Mirror Online (published 24 August 2018).