Articles by Jay Bennett

The lunar module Eagle, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, ascends back up to the command module Columbia with Michael Collins. It is often said that Michael Collins is the only human, living or dead, who is not in this photograph.

Future of Space Exploration

Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins on the Past and Future of Space Exploration

On the occasion of the lunar landing's 50th anniversary, we spoke to the former director of the National Air and Space Museum

2020 is shaping up to be a great year for sky watching.

Ten Celestial Events You Don't Want to Miss in 2020

Whether you are a telescope enthusiast or just want to step outside to enjoy the night sky, these are the phenomena to look out for this year

Dust-rich outflows of evolved stars similar to the pictured Egg Nebula are plausible sources of the large presolar silicon carbide grains found in meteorites like Murchison.

Meteorite Grains Are the Oldest Known Solid Material on Earth

The oldest dust sample, perhaps 7 billion years old, predates the formation of our planet and the sun

These are ten of the biggest strides made by scientists in the last ten years.

The Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of the Decade

Breakthroughs include measuring the true nature of the universe, finding new species of human ancestors, and unlocking new ways to fight disease

The 1966 Honda CB77, or Super Hawk, that Robert Pirsig rode on his 1968 trip from Minnesota to California that inspired the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The Cycle From 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' Comes to the Smithsonian

The 1966 Honda Super Hawk featured in Robert Pirsig’s book on values was recently acquired by the National Museum of American History

The Ten Best Science Books of 2019

New titles explore the workings of the human body, the lives of animals big and small, the past and future of planet earth and how it's all connected

Left to right, top to bottom: Sheperd Doeleman, Michael Johnson, Sandra Bustamante, Jonathan Weintroub, James Moran, Aleks Popstefanija, Daniel Palumbo; Feryal Ozel, Joseph Farah, Neil Erickson, Peter Galison, Katie Bouman, Dominic Pesce, Garrett K. Keating; Nimesh Patel, Alexander Raymond, Kazinori Akiyama, Vernon Fath, Mark Gurwell, Gopal Narayanan, Peter Schloerb

American Ingenuity Awards

Meet the Global Team That Captured the First Image of a Black Hole

Never before had scientists seen the phenomenon until they rallied colleagues around the world to view a galaxy far, far away

Based on the speed and trajectory of a newly detected object, astronomers believe it came to our solar system from beyond. This illustration shows the first known interstellar object to fly though our solar system, 'Oumuamua.

Astronomers Spot a Comet That Likely Came From a Different Solar System

After 'Oumuamua, the newly detected rock is just the second known object to visit from interstellar space

An artist's illustration of the planet K2-18b and another planet, K2-18c, that orbits closer to the parent star. Both planets orbit a red dwarf about 110 light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo.

Water Vapor Detected in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet in the Habitable Zone

The planet K2-18b, about 110 light-years away, could have swirling clouds and falling rains of liquid water droplets

This artist's illustration depicts the exoplanet LHS 3844 b, which is 1.3 times the radius of Earth and orbits an M dwarf star. The planet's surface may be covered mostly in dark lava rock, with no apparent atmosphere, according to observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Astronomers Spy the Surface of an Airless, Mercury-Like World

The rocky exoplanet orbits an M dwarf star, leading scientists to question whether such environments could support atmospheres and life

A natural color view of Titan and Saturn taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 6, 2012, at a distance of approximately 483,000 miles (778,000 kilometers) from Titan.

Dragonfly Spacecraft to Scour the Sands of Titan for the Chemistry of Life

The NASA rotorcraft, resembling a large quadcopter drone, will fly through the orange clouds of the ocean moon in the outer solar system

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Future of Space Exploration

Interactive Map Shows All 21 Successful Moon Landings

Humans have walked on the moon six times, and robotic probes have been touching down on the lunar surface for decades—but there is still much to explore

In 2019, 50 years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit stands as one of the most significant artifacts in the world.

Apollo at 50: We Choose to Go to the Moon

Neil Armstrong’s Restored Spacesuit Put Back on Display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

The spacesuit, which Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon during Apollo 11, is available for public viewing and as a 3-D model online

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin works at the deployed Passive Seismic Experiment Package on July 20, 1969. To the left of the United States flag in the background is the lunar surface television camera.

Apollo at 50: We Choose to Go to the Moon

The Best Books About the Apollo Program and Landing on the Moon

From astronaut autobiographies to definitive accounts from leading historians, these are the must reads about the landmark mission

The Apollo 10 Command Module, "Charlie Brown," as seen from the detached Lunar Module, "Snoopy."

A Smithsonian Curator Reflects on Apollo 10, the Mission That Made Landing on the Moon Possible

Fifty years ago, the astronauts who crewed the “dress rehearsal” for Apollo 11 paved the way for history to be made just a couple months later

Image of planetary nebula NGC 7027 with illustration of helium hydride molecules. In this planetary nebula, SOFIA detected helium hydride, a combination of helium (red) and hydrogen (blue), which was the first type of molecule to ever form in the early universe. This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe.

Future of Space Exploration

NASA’s Flying Telescope Spots Oldest Type of Molecule in the Universe

An infrared telescope mounted in a Boeing 747 has detected the first type of molecule to form after the big bang

The image reveals the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 billion times that of the sun.

Astronomers Capture First-Ever Image of a Supermassive Black Hole

The Event Horizon Telescope reveals the silhouette of a black hole at the center of a galaxy 55 million light-years away

Despite statistical methods that help sports fans improve their brackets, the probability of a perfect bracket remains something of a mystery in mathematics.

The Mathematical Madness Behind a Perfect N.C.A.A. Basketball Bracket

Picking a perfect bracket is so unlikely that it will almost certainly never occur, even if March Madness continues for billions of years

Apollo 14 Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. assembles equipment on the lunar surface on February 6, 1971.

Earth’s Oldest Known Rock May Have Been Found on the Moon

Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut in space, collected the rock sample during Apollo 14

A picture taken on January 21, 2019 in Duisburg, Germany, shows a view of the Super Blood Moon above an industrial plant during a lunar eclipse.

Ten Stunning Photos of the Super Blood Wolf Moon Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse was visible across much of the world last night, bathing the moon in a reddish glow