NASA Built a Grappling Claw With Just Household Objects and LittleBits

There were plenty of engineering-themed toys on view at this weekend's Toy and Game Fair in Chicago, but none of them came close to NASA's contribution in terms of sheer cred. On hand at the fair were NASA reps who demonstrated a mechanism built from the agency's new LittleBits kit. » 11/25/14 12:29pm Tuesday 12:29pm

Inside "The Domes," Where NASA Drives the Spacecraft of the Future

Deep in the belly of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, lie "The Domes." Step into one of them and suddenly you're standing on the surface of Mars, or you're flying high above the Earth, looking out from the International Space Station. This is the Systems Engineering Simulator, where we learned to fly,… » 11/19/14 12:16pm 11/19/14 12:16pm

Why NASA is sending a spacecraft to an asteroid to bring a piece back

Not to be outdone by their ESA colleagues, NASA is sending a spacecraft to an asteroid to bring a piece of it back. Her name is OSIRIS-REx, and she will be visiting Bennu—great name for an outpost in a sci-fi movie—one of the primordial asteroids that have been orbiting the Sun for millions of years. This is why: » 11/18/14 12:58pm 11/18/14 12:58pm

Here Are All 556 Asteroids That Bombarded Earth in the Past 20 Years

NASA has released a new map of every single asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere from 1994 to 2013. Although almost all 556 of the asteroids disintegrated harmlessly, this well splattered map shows us exactly how common asteroids strikes are and how often our atmosphere saves our skins. » 11/17/14 4:06pm 11/17/14 4:06pm

7 Of Mankind's Biggest Screw-Ups In Space

Space isn't having a great few months — from the exploding mishaps of Orbital Science's Antares rocket, to the terrible tragedy of Virgin Galactic's test flight, and the yay-but-oh-shit rollercoaster that's been the ESA's comet landing, things aren't going entirely to plan. This isn't without precedent, though: if you… » 11/15/14 3:00pm 11/15/14 3:00pm

How 2010: The Year We Make Contact Nails the Drama of Space Exploration

All this landing on comets business has got me thinking about the next chapter of space exploration in a totally new way. You can have your Armageddons and Deep Impacts with their Aerosmith soundtracks and Morgan Freeman presidents. What happened today reminded me more of 2010: The Year We Make Contact. » 11/12/14 8:15pm 11/12/14 8:15pm