Earthly Physicists Designed the Perfect Cup for Space Espresso 

Last week the International Space Station got a special delivery: An Italian astronaut arriving at the station brought along a gift in the form of the first espresso machine in space. But enjoying espresso in zero gravity is easier said than done—and a team of Portland-based coffee fans (and physicists) have… » 12/01/14 4:15pm 12/01/14 4:15pm

What Actually Goes Down on the International Space Station

The main purpose of the International Space Station is to provide an international laboratory for experiments within the space environment. Which, despite all our technological advances, is nearly impossible to replicate here on Earth. Because for many of those experiments, the key parameter is—you guessed… » 11/07/14 4:46pm 11/07/14 4:46pm

Yes, Time Travel Is Possible; Here's How

Time travel's been one of man's wildest fantasies for centuries. It's long been a popular trend in movies and fiction, inspiring everything from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine to the Charlton Heston shrine that is The Planet of the Apes. And with the opening of Interstellar » 11/05/14 1:25pm 11/05/14 1:25pm

Orbital Sciences: Yep, That Old Soviet Engine Probably Blew Up Antares

When the Antares rocket exploded on the launchpad last week, a lot fingers pointed toward its 70s-era Soviet engine. Indeed, Orbital Sciences now confirms a malfunctioning turbopump in the engine was the likely cause of the explosion. The company remains committed to fulfilling its space station resupply contract… » 11/05/14 12:09pm 11/05/14 12:09pm

How Astronauts Use Laptops on the International Space Station

When the ISS was being designed, its architects wisely concluded that installing physical interfaces into the structure of the ISS was not a good idea. It's very hard to upgrade and/or repair interfaces that are part of the vehicle, whereas if laptop computers are used, upgrading or repair is as simple as launching a… » 11/05/14 11:24am 11/05/14 11:24am

The Space Station Had to Change Its Orbit to Avoid Space Junk

If you've seen Gravity, you know how it goes: Even a tiny speck of paint shooting through space at 18,000 mph can be catastrophic. So when a hand-sized piece of space debris was going to fly by the International Space Station last week, the European Space Agency fired up the thrusters on a resupply ship docked at the… » 11/04/14 1:52pm 11/04/14 1:52pm

How NASA Deals With Odor Inside the International Space Station

Space may be a vacuum, but at least aboard the International Space Station, smells still have plenty of room to waft. And considering the ISS has 6 living, breathing, excreting human beings living in such close proximity, some of those smells could get to be a major problem. Fortunately, NASA's accounted for that. » 10/21/14 4:00pm 10/21/14 4:00pm

Extraordinary video of the ISS floating in space taken from Earth

ESA's Optical Ground Station took this extraordinary video of the International Space Station on October 8 as it was being illuminated by a 3.6-Watt 532-nm green laser. The video was taken at 7 frames per second, but the final effects is amazing. It's incredible to see it moving like that. » 10/15/14 9:02pm 10/15/14 9:02pm