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Out of this world: space news for 2019

As we gear up to celebrate 50 years since the first moon landing, there's a whole range of ways you can get starry-eyed in 2019

By Tamsin Wressell
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:58 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 16:08 BST


Photograph by Getty Images

Log on
Get a taste of what might be out there thanks to NASA's Exoplanet Travel Bureau. Launched last year, the online virtual reality platform offers a glimpse of exoplanets through detailed artist's impressions. Root around the Star Wars-esque Kepler-16b with its two suns, or examine puddles of 'hypothetical water' beneath the blood-red skies of TRAPPIST-1d — a planet experts believe may support life. 

Brush up
The Smithsonian Institution has put together the most comprehensive book on space exploration we've ever seen. By former chief historian of NASA, Roger D Launius, The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration looks at space discovery from Ancient Greek astronomy right through to modern innovations. RRP: $40 (£31) (Smithsonian Books

Look up
Feed your inner astronomer at the Dark Skies Festival, kicking off on 15 February. Mostly taking place in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks — both ideal places for stargazing since they're designated Dark Sky Reserves — the programme of events includes after-dark zip-lining, night-time photography workshops and thought-provoking expert talks on our place in the universe. 

Tune in
National Geographic's going cosmic for 2019 with new series StarStruck — a brand-wide celebration of space that's running throughout the year, from TV programming to a series of live events. 

Take off
Fancy heading into space after just two days' training? That's what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to do with his rocket company, Blue Origin. The mogul's aiming to take six 'paying astronauts' into space this year with the 'safest space vehicle in the history of space vehicles'. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, meanwhile, is hoping to recreate a lunar landing by 2023 with his company, SpaceX. Why settle for the Med when you can have the Moon?  

Did you know?
The first liquid drunk on the Moon wasn't celebratory champagne when the Apollo 11 crew landed in 1969. In fact, devout Presbytarian Buzz Aldrin took communion with holy wine, poured into a chalice he'd been lent by his church, before reading from the gospel.

Follow @TamsinWressell

Published in the March 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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