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The App That Makes You an Astronaut: Skyview

We are starting our newsletter with an application that will be indispensable for astronomy enthusiasts. This application will deepen your sky view a little more and open you up to galaxies. Skyview is an application in the education category that has reached 5 million users on the Google Play Store. It allows you to explore everything in the sky using Augmented Reality technology. You will be able to observe the distance to you of planets and stars that we cannot see with the naked eye, their names, which galaxy they are in, or the past or future positions of celestial bodies, and you will even be able to access the location information of a specifically selected star and its astrological meaning. In addition, thanks to the night mode, your vision will be protected while you observe your surroundings with red and green colors. It is also a great convenience that it can work without the need for Wi-Fi. For the application, you need to activate the GPS feature of your device. You can start examining all celestial objects by turning the camera opened in the application, which automatically detects your location, towards the sky. All you have to do is point your phone’s camera towards the sky and follow the application’s instructions. With Skyview, you will now be able to learn the objects in the sky, their names and all the other details you want.

Skyview App Photo

Which Experiments Will Alper Gezeravcı Make in Space?

On January 19, 2024, at 00:49, the first Turkish astronaut to journey into space, Alper Gezeravcı, conducted a successful launch. Within the scope of this mission, he will perform experiments in 13 different fields. The experiments, CRISPR-GEM and ALGALSPACE, are being conducted by Yıldız Technical University. In this article, we will introduce our university’s experiments specifically and other experiments visually.You can find which experiments were carried out on which day on the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) website and social media accounts.


In this experiment led by Prof. Dr. Didem Özçimen from Yıldız Technical University, the growth performance of microalgae species capable of surviving in the harsh conditions of Antarctica will be observed in the space environment. Biochemical analyses will be conducted on samples brought back to Earth to explore the potential of these algae in supporting life support units, water purification systems, and food production applications in space.


In this experiment conducted by Yıldız Technical University, genetic modification will be attempted on the Arabidopsis Thaliana plant with the CRISPR method, one of the techniques developed in recent years in the field of molecular biology and genetic engineering. With the information obtained as a result of the experiment, we will gain important experience on making genetic modifications on plants under microgravity conditions. There will be more people in space in the future, and new plants need to be developed to provide the nutrients these people need and to support environmental controls in closed living spaces. We are taking the first step in this field with the CRISPR-GEM experiment. Tuğçe Celayir is the manager of the project.

You can review the image below for other experiments to be carried out.

History of Sending Rockets to Space

Humanity has supported studies on space, which has always been an element of curiosity in our minds, throughout its history. They found that traveling to space was possible with rockets, and these invention processes began to play a role in the beginning of the story of space travel.

According to sources, the Chinese invented the first rocket in 1045, using bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder. Later, in 1650, Polish firearms expert Kazimierz Siemienowicz drew a rocket plan. In the 19th century, Europe and America hosted various developments in the field of rocketry. Meanwhile, other countries also contributed to rocket development. There was another name who laid the foundations of today’s system; Russian scholar Tsiolkovsky worked on missile systems with a reactive propulsion system in 1903, and on the mechanism of the engine with his studies on liquid hydrogen and oxygen.

Space Races in the Cold War

The USSR and America, who united against Nazi Germany in World War I, entered the Cold War period, which was a matter of prestige, after the war ended, and this process lasted 18 years. The Sputnik-1 satellite, which was sent into space with 7 rockets from the USSR’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 1957, entered the atmosphere and burned up 23 days later. Sputnik-2, the second attempt on November 3, 1957, did not have a return mechanism and a dog was on duty during the flight… Laika.


Sputnik-2 was in Earth orbit, but Laika lost her life due to the firing system. In fact, Laika would never be able to come back. They wanted to do an endurance test in flight, and the result caused a reaction when it cost the life of a living creature. Meanwhile, the United States also made a counter move. The Explorer 1 satellite, developed by the California Institute of Technology when NASA was not yet established, was much smaller than Sputnik-1. (Explorer-1 satellite: 13.3kg, Sputnik-1 satellite: 83kg). Subsequently, NASA was established on October 1, 1958. Pioneer, which was launched for the first time within NASA, made a big impact on October 11, 1958.

Explorer 6

Seeing this, the USSR sent Luna 1, Luna 2, and Luna 3 to the Moon in 1959, respectively. Luna 1 became the first object to pass near the Moon and orbit the Sun.

The USA took the first photo of the Earth from space in 1959 with its Explorer 6 vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Soviets sent humans to space for the first time. Yuri Gagarin became the first spaceman to reach Earth orbit on April 12, 1961, aboard the space shuttle Vostok 1. It made a full orbit around the Earth and came back to Earth.

Yuri Gagarin in preparation for flight

The Soviets again achieved great success and achieved the first soft landing on the Moon. Luna 9 was launched into space by the Molniya rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and Luna 9 became the first spacecraft capable of soft landing on the surface of the Moon on February 3, 1996.

The USA landed the first people on the Moon. Astronauts set off on the Apollo 11 spacecraft on July 16, 1969, and set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969. It included Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins.

Although the developments did not end here, these steps opened bright doors for us in our developing history related to Space, and our missions did not end here. Many successful and unsuccessful attempts have been made to continue the developments we have mentioned, and we hope that there will be more to come…

How Much of the Universe Do We Know?

Alex Flippenko, a professor of astrophysics and astronomy at the University of California Berkeley, gave a conference on the subject of ‘Accelerating Expansion of the Universe’ within the scope of Boğaziçi University’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. Alex Flippenko, who discovered the concept of “dark energy” and won an award for this discovery, stated that the universe is 14 billion years old and there are billions of galaxies in the universe. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding. According to Hubble, close galaxies were moving away at a low speed, distant galaxies were moving away faster, and it was thought that this expansion would continue at a slower pace. In 1998, Berkeley and Australian research groups attempted to measure the change in expansion rate using the Chilean Observatory. According to the result, contrary to Edwin Hubble’s opinion, the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate and it is thought that the universe will expand twice every 10 billion years. It is thought that what causes this expansion is “dark energy”. Dark energy is currently one of the most mysterious concepts in physics and it is unknown how it emerged. According to what is known today, the energy distribution of the universe is 5 percent of the matter made of atoms as we know it, 25 percent of dark matter and 70 percent of dark energy. In the part representing 5 percent, half percent of the distribution covers all galaxy stars. The remaining large area is made up of extinct stars and intergalactic space. According to this information, we know only 5 percent of the universe. Flippenko, who was chosen as the ‘Best Professor’ nine times by the students of the university where he works, is among the world’s leading scientists in the study of Supernova (the expansion of the universe at an increasing speed and then its destruction with supernova explosions). Alex Flippenko, who discovered the concept of dark energy arising from the expansion of the universe, received the Science Magazine award in 1998 for this discovery. Over time, we will be better exploring the universe, only a small part of which we know, with developing technology and telescopes.

This Week in Our Art Corner

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Humans have always wanted to find answers to the big questions: Why do we exist? Are there others in the universe other than us? How do black holes form? Can robots take over the world?..

In fact, the biggest reason for the development and progress in our journey as humanity is the effort to find answers to these questions.

We can say that this book, which contains the big questions that have crossed everyone’s mind at least once, is a gem created by compiling Hawking’s last writings before his death. In the book, these big questions that seem to come from a child’s mouth are answered expertly.

  1. Is there a God?
  2. How did it all start?
  3. Is there intelligent life other than us in the universe?
  4. Can we predict the future?
  5. What’s inside a black hole?
  6. Is time travel possible?
  7. Will we be able to survive on Earth?
  8. Should we colonize space?
  9. Will artificial intelligence prevail over us?
  10. How do we shape the future?

Additionally, Stephen Hawking answered in his book why we should ask big questions before answering these questions.

Although the questions are approached scientifically, the book also contains hopeful words that will warm your heart. We strongly recommend that you read “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” and we end our newsletter with a small quote:

“So to remember to look up at the stars and not down to your feet. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination, Shape your future.”