The Best Tool for Tracking Our Crumbling Infrastructure Is In Orbit

The sad state of America’s bridges is a perennial topic amongst engineers and a regular talking point for politicians, all of whom have a plan to fix them. An interesting post from the European Space Agency shows how one of the best tools for repair is actually hanging out in Low Earth Orbit. » 5/18/15 11:00am 5/18/15 11:00am

The Himalayas Dropped 3 Feet After the Nepal Earthquake

The earthquake in Nepal was so violent it moved mountains. Satellite imagery shows that the parts of the Himalayas sank three feet—and the area around it as much as five feet—as tectonic plates snapped under extreme pressure. But the mountains will regain their height, slowly but surely, thanks to the geologic forces… » 5/13/15 7:00pm 5/13/15 7:00pm

Thank God the FAA Is Switching to Satellites for Air Traffic Control

As unnerving as it is to hear, air traffic control has always been pretty piecemeal. Relying on a combination of instrumentation—namely, radar, radios, and GPS—as well as good old fashioned eyeballs, pilots do a pretty good job navigating the sky. But they’re about to get a lot better with a new satellite-based system. » 4/30/15 3:30pm 4/30/15 3:30pm

We Finally Know Something About What The Shadowy X-37B Will Do In Orbit

In an unprecedented disclosure from the DoD, we have finally been told at least something in regards to what the USAF’s secretive X-37B spaceplane’s goals are for its upcoming flight. Among other things, it will test an exotic form of thruster propulsion that could have huge implications for future space development. » 4/27/15 6:30pm 4/27/15 6:30pm

The Minority Report Of Famine Prediction Knows Where To Send Aid

On a day spent dodging Periscope unboxings of Apple Watches on the other side of the country, it’s difficult to believe that there’s too little information in the world. But when it comes to life-and-death predictions of agriculture in Africa, our system is woefully inadequate, and the only hope is space. » 4/24/15 5:50pm 4/24/15 5:50pm

How to Understand These Gorgeous Satellite Data Maps of the Earth

NASA's Earth Observatory has spent over fifteen years using satellites to collect hordes of real-time data across our planet's surface. They reveal everything from temperature and energy use, to how much radiation we beam into space. Here's how to understand satellite data maps to understand our planet's vital signs. » 2/26/15 11:39am 2/26/15 11:39am

Elon Musk Confirms He's Building A 700-Strong Satellite Fleet

Earlier this weekend, a Wall Street Journal report linked Elon Musk, the big entrepreneur success story, with a plan to use a fleet of small satellites to achieve global internet coverage. Although he hasn't mentioned the internet part, he just confirmed the satellite part on Twitter, and said we'll have to wait a few… » 11/10/14 10:02pm 11/10/14 10:02pm

"Starquakes" May Be the Reason Behind Massive Solar Eruptions 

In early 2009, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope observed an unprecedented solar storm emanating from a distant neutron star with gigantic columns of magnetized flares stretching thousands of miles into space—only the third time such an eruption had been observed. Five years later, NASA boffins think they've… » 10/23/14 6:15pm 10/23/14 6:15pm

Space Detective Is Now a Job That Exists

Want to use some damning images from Google Earth to back up your case in a lawsuit? Right now it's not quite that easy. Which is why a satellite imaging specialist and space lawyer (actual thing) have just formed what is about to become every NASA-loving kid's dream job: the world's very first space detective agency. » 10/08/14 4:20pm 10/08/14 4:20pm

The Most Detailed Map of the Ocean Floor Ever Was Made From Space

The bottom of the ocean is dark, mysterious, and vast—nearly all of it unmapped. Today, however, scientists reveal the clearest map of the ocean floor ever. They didn't explore the ocean floor. They didn't even send instruments into the water. Instead, they used gravity measurements from two satellites orbiting in… » 10/02/14 4:50pm 10/02/14 4:50pm