: Just in time to mark a year since a spacesuited mannequin was blasted into space while seated in a sports car riding atop SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket, Hot Wheels has released its version of the Tesla Roadster with Starman. The new diecast toy car features a red metallic finish, spoked wheels and a plastic miniature of the Starman, similar to the Mattel Hot Wheels toy mounted to the dashboard of the Roadster now out beyond Mars.
Curry's Moon Landing:
One month after he joked about his belief in the Apollo missions, basketball player Stephen Curry has listed a pair of his "Moon Landing" shoes on eBay to raise funds for STEM education. Curry wore the hand-painted sneakers during a Golden State Warriors' game versus the Houston Rockets. The shoes borrow their colors from the Apollo astronauts' moon boots and feature a crater-pocked lunar surface upper design.
First on the far side:
China made history on Wednesday (Jan. 2), achieving the first-ever landing of a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. The robotic Chang'e 4 lander touched down in Von Kármán crater within the South Pole-Aitken basin, where it will deploy a small, six-wheeled rover. The mission is also the first to transmit data from the moon back to Earth using a relay satellite in a halo orbit.
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New year, New Horizons:
Four years and 1 billion miles beyond its encounter with Pluto, NASA's New Horizons probe flew by "Ultima Thule" (2014 MU69), a city-size object in the Kuiper Belt, on New Year's Day (Jan. 1). The history-making flyby was the first visit to a world discovered after the mission launched and the most distant encounter with a planetary object to date. The data from the flyby may inform theories about how the solar system was formed.
Moon landing prints:
Made using the same processes used to print U.S. paper currency, a new set of collectible engraved cards mark 50 years since astronauts first landed on the moon. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has opened enrollment for its limited edition Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Engraved Print Collection.
Astronaut Hall of Fame:
James Buchli and Janet Kavandi are the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees for 2019. The veteran space shuttle mission specialists will be honored as the Hall's 98th and 99th members on April 6 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. A public ceremony and gala will welcome Buchli and Kavandi into the Hall and celebrate their achievements in space.
: Sergey Prokopyev, Alexander Gerst and Serena Auñón-Chancellor landed from a 195-day stay aboard the International Space Station. The trio returned to Earth on board Russia's Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft to a touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan. Prokopyev, Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor performed science experiments and oversaw cargo logistics as Expedition 56/57 crewmembers.
American Indian space coin
: The U.S. Mint will recognize the role of American Indians in the space program on a 2019 coin. Engineer Mary Golda Ross, whose work advanced the Agena rocket stage, features prominently on the Native American $1 coin, along with the contributions of American Indian astronauts including John Herrington. The U.S. Mint is scheduled to release the coin on Feb. 24.
: Three new model kits celebrate the past and future of U.S. spaceflight. From Metal Earth, comes steel scale models of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo spacecraft for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. A third model kit reproduces Boeing's Starliner crew capsule, which is slated to begin flying to the space station in 2019.
SpaceShipTwo reaches space
: For the first time in history, a commercial spacecraft built to carry paying passengers has been piloted into space. Mark Stucky and CJ Sturckow on Thursday (Dec. 13) rocketed to an altitude of 51 miles (83 km) on board Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. The flight earned the pair FAA Civilian Astronaut Wings.
Toys to touch down
: Maisto Tech has been chosen by China's lunar exploration program to make toy models of the now in lunar orbit Chang'e 4 lander and rover. The toys, which are based on the first spacecraft to attempt a landing on the moon's far side, will feature motorized action (with an obstacle avoidance sensor), lights and sounds.
Spirit of Apollo
: NASA and the Smithsonian joined together at National Cathedral to mark 50 years since the first mission to fly humans to the moon. The Tuesday evening (Dec. 11) event, entitled "The Spirit of Apollo," featured Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell, who shared some of his own revelations made in lunar orbit and reflected on the reading from the Book of Genesis on Christmas Eve in 1968.
The Borman Collection
: Frank Borman, the commander of the first mission to fly humans to the moon, has donated his memorabilia to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). "The Borman Collection" debuted at the EAA Aviation Museum in Wisconsin on Saturday (Dec. 8), with a selection of the astronaut's Gemini 7 and Apollo 8 artifacts.
To the far side
: China launched a probe and rover to the moon on Friday (Dec. 7), in a bid to become the first mission to explore the far side. The Chang'e 4 spacecraft lifted off on a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. The mission is planned to land in the South Pole-Aitken Basin in early January.
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