A Space Lawyer Explains How We'll Forge a Civil Society Off Earth

Without even looking a century or so ahead when we’ll take a Virgin Galactic flight to spend our summers on Europa, there are many legal issues that are already confronting humanity in space. That’s why space lawyers are plenty busy today examining the particular economic and societal challenges found where Earth ends… » 6/20/15 3:00pm 6/20/15 3:00pm

What Would Happen If All Our Satellites Were Suddenly Destroyed?

Since their inception 60 years ago, satellites have gone on to become an indispensable component of our modern high-tech civilization. But because they’re reliable and practically invisible, we take their existence for granted. Here’s what would happen if all our satellites suddenly just disappeared. » 6/04/15 2:02pm 6/04/15 2:02pm

Amateur Satellite Trackers Found the Secret X-37B Space Plane in Orbit

The U.S. Air Force’s supersecret X-37B was launched into orbit for the fourth time last week, and amateur satellite watchers have promptly identified its secret orbit—also for the fourth time. There is, you see, a small army of amateurs who keep track of over 300 spy satellites, often with little more than a pair of… » 5/27/15 8:00pm 5/27/15 8:00pm

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