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The 24 Best Space Moments Of 2013

A new pale blue dot, a Martian iguana and hearing interstellar space for the first time. It was a very good year indeed.

1. When we learnt that astronauts look a bit like zombies when they sleep in space.

 

2. When this huge solar flare erupted from the Sun in April.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

When it left the sun it was traveling at 600 miles per second.

3. And then this 200,000 mile long “canyon of fire” totally outdid it in October.

4. When the Curiosity rover discovered water on Mars.

Nasa / Reuters

Each cubic foot of Martian soil contains about two pints of water.

5. And also spotted this Martian iguana.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Via mars.nasa.gov

Ok, it’s an iguana-shaped rock. But it does look very convincing.

6. When Chris Hadfield showed us that you can’t wring out a cloth in space.

Here’s the full video.

7. Or cry, because the tears just stick to your face.

Don’t worry, Hadfield wasn’t crying real tears.

8. Did you do an Easter Egg hunt this year? Because Chris Hadfield set one up for his colleagues. IN SPACE.

9. When William Shatner called the ISS and had a chat with Hadfield.

And asked him about the future of the US space programme! And becoming one with the universe! And dealing with the fear of going to space!

Hadfield’s reply to that last one: “You can’t live a worthwhile life without taking risks.”

<3

10. Actually just everything Chris Hadfield did while he was on the ISS.

Including showing us all the Canadian food he has.

11. When these three tiny satellites were released from a robotic arm on the space station.

NASA / Via nasa.gov

Cubesats should be called cutesats.

12. When Karen Nyberg made sure we never again complained about washing our hair on Earth.

By showing us how it’s done on the space station.

13. And made a quilt square while she was up there.

Everything is so much more exciting when you do it in space.

14. When the UK got its first ever astronaut.

Flickr: bisgovuk / Creative Commons

Major Tim Peake’s 2015 mission to the ISS was announced in May this year. He won’t be the first Brit in space, but he’s the first astronaut to officially represent the UK.

15. When the LADEE spacecraft launched and looked spectacular.

AdamParent/AdamParent

The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) blasted off from Nasa’s Wallops flight facility in Virginia. This is a long exposure that shows the rocket passing over the Assateague Light House.

16. And this poor frog got caught in the crossfire.

Nasa / Reuters / Chris Perry

RIP space frog.

17. When the Olympic torch went on its first ever spacewalk.

Nasa / Reuters

18. When ISS astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins and showed us how they celebrate Thanksgiving.

It all starts with floating food pouches.

19. When Voyager 1 left the solar system.*

NASA/JPL/Caltech / Via nasa.gov

*Ok, so that depends on your definition of solar system. But it’s definitely in interstellar space now. It’s been there since August 2012, though we didn’t find out until September 2013.

20. And we heard the sound of interstellar space for the very first time.

21. When the Cassini spacecraft looked back at Earth and took this photograph of us.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute / Via photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov

Earth is the bright dot on the right in the middle of the photo.

22. And zoomed in to see Earth and the moon together, from 900 million miles away.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute / Via photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov

Carl Sagan would be proud.

23. When Comet ISON got THIS close to the sun.

ESA/NASA/SOHO/SDO/GSFC / Via nasa.gov

It doesn’t appear to have survived the encounter, but it sure gave us a good show.

24. And of course when Chris Hadfield covered “Space Oddity” from space and it was the best thing ever.

EVER.

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