Universe Guide

2015 - A Year in Review

Real Space

Now 2015 is just a memory, one of many many years that has gone before since the start of the universe, known globally as the Big Bang. It was a year in which we had our first look at Pluto, the ninth planet until that it, it was downgraded to dwarf planet status. There's already a campaign going on in getting it reinstated as a planet. It was downgraded because its path around the Sun was obstructed and not clear. If they had kept Pluto as a planet, then we'd probably have had a tenth planet in the form of Eris, an object in the kuiper belt that is roughly the same size as Pluto. Eris was the reason why Pluto status was looked at. At the time, Eris was thought to be bigger but Pluto is a touch bigger. New Horizons won't be redirected to Eris as its too far from Pluto. The reason why such interest was shown in Pluto was because of the arrival of the New Horizons probe finally arrived and took some stunning pictures. It was the first time we'd seen a picture of the planet so clear. New Horizons isn't the furthest object from Earth, that accolade goes to the voyager space probes which were launched some twenty-thirty years previous and are still going.

rosetta space probe complete with the lander Philae caught up with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and did some experiments to ascertain whether we could have possibly hitch-hiked on a comet to Earth. The initial results was that the comet had the wrong sort of water for human amino acids causing the critics to say it was a waste of time. It could be we chose the wrong comet or comets are not sources for the right amino acids full stop. Later on there was oxygen found in the surrounding gas cloud so not total waste. ref:guardian

Britain got its second astronaut in space, this time the astronaut was sponsored by the Government rather than industry working with the Russian government to get someone up there. The first Briton up in space was Helen Sharman in the earlier nineties. Helen had won a competition to be the first British astronaut. Other "British" astronauts such as Michael Foale and Piers Sellars had to gain American nationality to get into space because it was then British Government policy not to put people into space. Major Tim Peake, an ex-test pilot lifted off just before Christmas and is to stay up for six months doing over 200 experiments.

Although not yet covered on this site is National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.)'s Dawn probe which visited Ceres, a dwarf planet. Ceres is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even though Ceres is a lot closer than Pluto, it took nearly eight years to get to Ceres because of the route it took to get to the planet. It took the long way round, doing a large number of solar orbits till it caught up with Vesta, another asteroid in 2011 and then Ceres in 2015. When Pluto got downgraded, Ceres got upgraded from asteroid to dwarf planet.

Fictional Space

You can't have not noticed that the biggest film out this year was Star Wars - The Force Awakens, the first film from Disney after having brought the entertainment franchise for $4 Billion a few years ago. It was expected and was true to form to become the biggest film of the year. The fact that it was released to the paying public in December, its release period unlike Jurassic World has not finished and Star Wars has not yet been shown in China with its billion people. The Star Wars film saw the return of the main three characters from the original trilogy, the smuggler Han Solo, the farmboy turned hero Luke Skywalker and his sister, the princess also a courageous rebel alliance fighter, Princess Leia. The film also introduced us to the new heroes, the A.W.O.L. stormtrooper called Finn and the scavenger turned Jedi Rey. It was teased by Kathryn Kennedy that Han Solo might return somehow probably in flashbacks in the next film when she announced that everyone who people saw standing beside her was returning. ref:Daily Mail.

Defiance, the aliens on Earth television series was cancelled after three years. The attached MMO game will continue even though the series has come to an end. Other television series such as Doctor Who was broadcast as usual but Clara who had been the current Doctor's companion had decided to leave after having been the longest serving companion since the series came back back in last decade.

A Sad Farewell

Veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who was more famous for appearing in Hammer Horror films passed away in June aged 93. He will be best remembered for his Count Dooku in the second two Star Wars prequel films and of playing the Wizard Saruman in both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films of which the last of the Hobbit films came out in 2014, just over a year ago.

The only news connected to the Star Trek entertainment franchise was bad news. Leonard Nimoy, who had played Spock, the Enterprises' chief science officer had passed away at the age of 83 in February. He last played Spock in the last Star Trek film in 2013 Star Trek, Into Darkness albeit a minor role. Before that, he played Spock in the first of the rebooted films, the first of which was Star Trek XI.

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