NASA to Send Messenger on a Final Trip So Close to Mercury It Could Melt

Over a decade ago, NASA shot Messenger into space, and in 2011, it became the first probe to orbit around Mercury, sending back our first closeups of the planet. But all good things must come to an end, and Messenger is running out of fuel. In one last tour, Messenger will fly lower than ever over Mercury—so close… » 1/05/15 4:15pm 1/05/15 4:15pm

In 2003, half the mercury in U.S. wastewater came from your dentist

Despite how often mercury is commercially employed throughout the U.S., the primary source of mercury pollution in our water supply comes not from heavy industry but rather from a far more dreaded source: your dentist. And the EPA is finally about to do something about it. » 10/03/14 11:27am 10/03/14 11:27am

This Incredible Animation Was Made By Code That Could Fit on a Floppy

This is no 20 GB video file, painstakingly pulled from a render farm. All of it was generated in real time by one tiny algorithm. And it's amazing. » 4/20/14 2:00pm 4/20/14 2:00pm

Buying Pieces of the Space Race at Bonhams' Space History Auction

This week, Bonhams hosted an auction of historical space items in Manhattan. The Space History Sale featured troves of objects and documents, both American and Soviet, dating back to the heyday of the space race. And Gizmodo got the chance to take a peek. » 4/10/14 4:00pm 4/10/14 4:00pm

Can a Sponge Absorb Mercury?

A sponge is a sponge because its porous material is able to absorb liquid of any kind. But what about liquid metal? Can a sponge actually absorb the heavy quicksilver material known as mercury? Not at all. At best, a little bit of mercury goop gets caught on top of the sponge and slides away like its T-1000 shaping… » 10/23/13 9:00pm 10/23/13 9:00pm

NASA Probe Found Han Solo on Mercury's Surface

Not at all long ago, in our galaxy just two planets away, NASA's Messenger probe discovered what appears to be a raised human shape in the surface of Mercury—and it bears a striking resemblance to Star Wars' Han Solo. » 9/18/13 10:40am 9/18/13 10:40am

Unique Photo Shows the Ridiculous Size of America's First Spaceships

One of the things that always shocks me when I go to the Kennedy Space Center is the tiny size of the Mercury (left) and Gemini (right) capsules—the missions that jumpstarted the American space exploration program. This unique photo clearly shows how ridiculous these tin cans are. » 5/31/13 6:26pm 5/31/13 6:26pm

Watch This Hypnotizing Footage Of a Rainbow Mercury Spinning Through…

While Curiosity's off drilling into the surface of Mars, plenty of other man-made, space-bound machines are surveying the rest of the solar system, and coming with some pretty cool stuff. NASA's MESSENGER, for instance, put together quite the mesmerizing footage of Mercury's spin. » 2/22/13 4:20pm 2/22/13 4:20pm

Mercury Sure Looks Good in Blue

It might look like poor old Mercury is feeling a bit blue, but fear not - these are false-colour images produced by NASA's Messenger space probe. » 2/20/13 8:13am 2/20/13 8:13am

NASA Finds Water and Organic Matter In Mercury

NASA has confirmed a surprising, counterintuitive discovery. The burning hell known Mercury—the closest planet to the Sun—has water. Frozen water. Three new research papers, based on data obtained by the Messenger spacecraft, show undeniable evidence. » 11/29/12 2:03pm 11/29/12 2:03pm

Giant Smiley Discovered In Mercury

NASA scientists are having a lot of fun with Messenger, the spacecraft now orbiting Mercury. Not only they are documenting the planet at a resolution of 200 meters per pixel, but they are spotting all kinds of fun stuff. A few weeks ago it was the Sesame Street's cookie monster. Today it's a smiley crater. » 11/09/12 1:02pm 11/09/12 1:02pm

NASA on Mercury's Craters: "Anyone Else Think This Looks Like the…

The Messenger spacecraft has photographed some neat craters on Mercury's surface and NASA thinks they look like the cookie monster. What kind of magic cookies are you eating, NASA? Hmmm, wait. I think they are right. » 10/12/12 11:50am 10/12/12 11:50am

Mickey Mouse Spotted On Mercury!

The image on the left was just captured by NASA's Messenger spacecraft, now orbiting Mercury. The image on the right is a famous rodent. I wonder when Disney's lawyers would sue the solar system for intellectual property theft. From NASA: » 6/15/12 10:40am 6/15/12 10:40am

NASA Shot the MESSENGER—Into Orbit, Around the Iron Planet

And you thought hitting a thermal exhaust port was tough? Try shooting a 1,000-pound satellite 4.9 billion miles across the solar system into orbit around a planet less than half the size of Earth, and just 28.5 million miles from the Sun. » 5/16/12 11:30am 5/16/12 11:30am

Man Killed With Poisonous Umbrella

This is really bad: a man hit with a poisonous umbrella in a street of Hannover, Germany, has died after a long struggle in the hospital. It sounds like a James Bond movie, except that it's real and it sucks. This is what happened: » 5/14/12 4:20pm 5/14/12 4:20pm

Frozen Water Found in Scorching Hot 752F Mercury Hell

NASA's Messenger has found very strong indications of frozen water in Mercury. But how can there be frozen water in a hell like Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, boiling at 752º Fahrenheit (400ºC)? » 3/22/12 10:25am 3/22/12 10:25am

Vaccines Don't Cause Autism, Please Vaccinate Your Children

Yet another study has found no association between vaccines and autism. Mercury, the ingredient in vaccines suspected of causing learning disabilities, hasn't been used to preserve the medicines since 2001. And since then, the incidence of autism has still increased. » 2/16/12 4:40pm 2/16/12 4:40pm

Get These Spacenerdgasmic NASA Ringtones for Your iPhone and Android

Attenshun space nerds with NASA underpants! NASA is now offering some really awesome ringtones for your iPhone, Android or whatever other phone you have. You must must must get these. MUST. » 9/23/11 8:08pm 9/23/11 8:08pm

How Architects Saved An Ancient Abbey From Destruction

St. Maurice's Abbey in Switzerland was built in a rather precarious place. Constructed in 515, the building stands tall against a steep cliff that is prone to rock slides. Damaging rock slides. » 9/06/11 11:15pm 9/06/11 11:15pm

The Rocket That Launched the First American into Space

John Glenn and Neil Armstrong are household names in the US. But on May 5th, we remember the less-talked-about Alan Shepard, the first American to make it to outer space. And the rocket that got him there. » 5/05/11 2:30pm 5/05/11 2:30pm