On International Asteroid Day let’s have a look at one of the Polish Superstars of Astronomy – a mechanical device, constructed by Polish scientists as a part of the European Space Agency’s mission Rosetta, with the aim to explore the interior of a comet for the first time ever!
Digging into a comet in a gravity free environment seems like an impossible mission? Not for the scientists and MUPUS – Multi-Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science. This Polish-made geological instrument installed on a lander Philae touched the surface of Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko in 2014. Looking a bit like a hammer, it enabled the penetration of one of the most mysterious objects in the Solar System and provided insight to its thermal and physical properties.
Such an amazing step in space exploration with the Polish contribution!
In his homemade observatory on a rooftop in Gdańsk, he drafted the first precision maps of the . No wonder he’s called a founder of lunar topography! He also discovered and named 10 constellations, including Leo Minor and Sextans. Seven of these names were approved by the International Astronomical Union and are still used today!
After Hevelius’ death, his wife Elisabeth completed his last work– an atlas of 1,500 stars! To honour her contribution, a small planet and a crater on Venus were named ‘Koopman’, Elizabeth’s maiden name.
52 years ago, Apollo 15 landed on the ! It was the first mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle while exploring the surface. Also called the ‘Moon buggy’, the LRV was an extremely complex piece of engineering. However, not for a #PolishSuperstarOfAstronomy – Prof. Mieczysław Bekker!
Since early childhood, Prof. Mieczysław Bekker was fascinated by the solar system and dreamt of making his mark on the moon. The dream became reality in 1961 when NASA launched a competition for an all-terrain vehicle to be sent to the moon. The winner was General Motors, where Bekker was lead engineer.
His revolutionary design for the rover’s wire mesh wheels allowed the LRV to negotiate the moon’s rocky, dusty surface while hauling a load twice its own weight. Apparently, he got the idea from how kitchen strainers sift flour! Bekker’s surprising solution earned him a well-deserved place in the history of space exploration.
On the Night of Shooting Stars look up at the sky with Rozalia Szafraniec! A mathematician, astronomer and great #PolishSuperstarOfAstronomy who never tired of studying the heavens. In the 1960’s, she held the world record for eclipse star observation with a score of 50,000! She even discovered 2 new stars of this type. Nothing came between Szafraniec and her passion. Not even a serious case of frostbite, which she got from pressing her face against the ice-cold eyepiece of her telescope in winter. Instead of treating it properly, she continued her observations wearing a menacing-looking balaclava with small holes cut out for her eyes. Nobody could tell then whether she was a scientist or a professional burglar. Her university colleagues used to call her “Rosa Volans”. Wonder why? Check it out!
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