space

  • The Space Debris Threat And How To Handle It

    The Space Debris Threat And How To Handle It

    Yesterday marked a momentous day in U.S. history as NASA launched its final space shuttle, ending a 30-year era. Four astronauts—commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus—are leading the 12-day Atlantis mission, the 135th and final flight of the storied space shuttle program. After Atlantis returns to Earth, NASA will officially retire the… Read More

  • Meet Saturn's Great White Spot That Really Isn't A Spot Anymore

    Meet Saturn's Great White Spot That Really Isn't A Spot Anymore

    Think Arizona’s dust storm was huge? Check out the Great White Spot on Saturn. What first started as a small but bright dot last December, has grown to a massive storm that is currently encompassing a vast part of the planet’s upper half. The Cassini spacecraft first picked it up on December 5, 2010 and then astronomers then noticed the bright dot. Cassini then observed lightning… Read More

  • Europe Launching Gigapixel Probe To Map Milky Way

    Europe Launching Gigapixel Probe To Map Milky Way

    We've come to love the fantastic and sublime images of space taken from such satellites as the Hubble, but the truth is that the technology that created those images is incredibly out of date. And while you can't argue with the results, it has gotten to the point where the sensitivity, angle of view, and data collection rate just need to be moved up to 21st-century standards. The European Space… Read More

  • NASA Cheekily Restores Pluto As A Planet

    NASA Cheekily Restores Pluto As A Planet

    This might be a bit of inside baseball but NASA has added Pluto to its roster of planets, at least indirectly. The Register found an image on NASA’s home page showing the tiny “dwarf planet” wending its merry orbit out at the edge of our solar system, oblivious to its demotion to “big space rock.” Read More

  • Lacking Funding, SETI Puts $50 Million Radio Array On Hiatus

    Lacking Funding, SETI Puts $50 Million Radio Array On Hiatus

    Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence has always been a slightly controversial topic, not because we don't want it to happen, but because it requires sophisticated and expensive equipment. Can millions really be spent on scanning the heavens when here on earth, there's a very real shortage of funding for things like education and social services? It's a loaded question, of course, and a… Read More

  • NASA Will Start Flying Coach With "Commercial Crews"

    NASA Will Start Flying Coach With "Commercial Crews"

    After the retirement of the Shuttle program, NASA will begin flying along with - and funding - multiple "commercial crews" including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin group and Elon Musk's SpaceX. NASA is paying out $270 million to SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada (not the beer) and Boeing. This program, begun in 2009 and is now vitally important as it pairs NASA's scientists and astronauts with… Read More

  • Working With Nasa, Russia To Propose Nuclear Spacecraft

    Working With Nasa, Russia To Propose Nuclear Spacecraft

    Get ready for a nuclear-powered spacecraft—maybe! The Russian Federal Space Agency says that it will hold talks with Nasa and a number of countries on April 15 to see if they can't get started on creating a “nuclear engine” by 2012. Such an engine, it's believed, would only cost around $600m to develop. Read More

  • End Of The Road For Spirit Mars Rover?

    End Of The Road For Spirit Mars Rover?

    Although the Mars rovers have gone way, way beyond the call of duty (the original mission was for 90 days; Opportunity is still active after more than six years), the dream has to end sometime — and evidence is mounting that for Spirit, the first of the two rovers to touch down, may be down for the count. After a year of being trapped in sand, its last big hope was a big solar boost over… Read More

  • Brits Believe They'll Soon Be On The Moon

    One in ten Englishmen and Women believe that one day Brits will routinely vacation on the moon, bringing their Carling beers and jolly demeanors to the verdant plains of that satellites’ firmament by at least 2020. 40% of them believe, also, that there will be a tunnel between the US and the UK. And they say that ecstasy doesn’t damage the brain. Read More

  • Iran Sends First "Life Capsule" Into Near Orbit

    Iran Sends First "Life Capsule" Into Near Orbit

    Iran has just sent a small "Life Capsule" capable of carrying a monkey into space on the Kavoshgar-4 (Explorer-4) rocket, a step forward for the country's burgeoning space program. The AP is reporting that the capsule flew 75 miles up into orbit and follows launches of communications satellites as well as a capsule containing "a mouse, turtle and worms." Read More