Where Do You Draw the Line Between the Sky and Space?

On his 108-minute flight in 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space, reached a peak altitude of 327 kilometres (203 miles), after blasting off the planet atop a mighty Vostok rocket. After launch shook his tiny capsule violently, Gagarin experienced the feeling of weightlessness, and…

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Distant Ruins: How Scientists Hunt Space for Dead Alien Civilizations

‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ says Ozymandias’s ruined statue in the desert of Shelley’s imagination. Shelley’s sonnet is often interpreted as a sober warning that human works are fleeting, but when I read it as a young boy it kindled a sense of adventure; it suggested a wonderfully mysterious past…

Parallel Worlds: How Human History Turns on the Tilt of the Multiverse

Andy Murray’s unexpectedly strong start against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon 2012 final put the Daily Telegraph columnist Matthew Norman in a science-fiction mood. Contrasting Murray with the doubles champion Jonny Marray — who still rents a flat and drives a Ford Fiesta, despite holding a Grand Slam title — the …