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

Space Station Defies Humans, Launches Satellites Without Permission

The International Space Station has a cannon that launches tiny CubeSat microsatellites into orbit. Most of the time, those launches are triggered by human scientists on board or back on Earth. But this week, the ISS launched two CubeSats entirely on its own. This is how the uprising begins. » 9/06/14 3:00pm 9/06/14 3:00pm

Watch a Pilot Snag Cold War Spy Satellite Footage as It Falls From Orbit

The Corona program was the opening salvo in the effort to peer into Soviet-controlled territory from orbit. In order to recover the top-secret physical photographs it took, Air Force pilots took to the sky for what amounted to a claw arcade game, played miles above the Earth. Here's a rare look at it in action. » 9/02/14 12:14pm 9/02/14 12:14pm

Amazing 1960s Predictions About Satellites, Email, and the Internet

It's hard for many of us living here in the early 21st century to imagine a world without satellites. Well, in fairness, we don't really think about satellites at all. Much like electricity or tap water, we only remember how vital they are when they stop working. Our GPS devices, smartphones, and modern military… » 8/25/14 5:22pm 8/25/14 5:22pm

Of Course the First Object Ever Recovered From Orbit Was for Spying

In the early days of the U.S. satellite surveillance program, our orbital cameras employed state-of-the-art technologies to get the physical film back to Earth for development and analysis. They shot it back into the atmosphere like 300-pound bullets, and tried to catch the falling canisters by their parachutes using… » 8/21/14 11:40am 8/21/14 11:40am

First Satellite To Capture High-Res Public Images Is Ready for Launch

In mid-June, the U.S. government relaxed its previously strict rules on high-definition satellite imaging, allowing mapping services like Google Maps to scale up to a higher resolution. DigitalGlobe led the charge in changing the U.S. ruling in part because of its upcoming Worldview-3 satellite, which will provide the… » 8/10/14 9:00am 8/10/14 9:00am

Google Lets You Watch Live Data From NASA's Long Lost Satellite

NASA's ISEE-3 was launched in 1977 and sent data home for 20 years. Recently, NASA discovered the abandoned satellite is still transmitting data, and turned over the controls to a group of citizen scientists. ISEE-3 zooms by the moon tomorrow, and thanks to a new Google project, you can ride along at home. » 8/09/14 10:00am 8/09/14 10:00am

Plan for Secret Satellite Receivers Wins Hackathon to Help North Korea

Cut off from outside communication and at the whim of a despotic political leader, the people of North Korea are in a bad place. The conditions in the country inspired the Human Rights Foundation to help North Koreans by holding a hackathon. And the winners came up with a clever plan to import satellites receivers to… » 8/05/14 10:35am 8/05/14 10:35am

A Russian Lizard Sex Satellite Is Out of Control in Orbit

It began as just another chapter in humanity's ongoing fascination of sending weird shit into space, then things spiraled out of control. Right now an orbital satellite filled with geckos flies more than 200 miles above our heads. But this isn't a slapstick preamble to some clever car insurance commercial, these… » 7/25/14 11:37am 7/25/14 11:37am

Tiny Changes in Earth's Gravity Can Help Predict Floods Months Away

When the Missouri River spilled over its banks in a catastrophic 2011 flood, we could have seen it coming—from space, that is. There's more to the story than meets the eye: the satellites don't take photos of snowpacks or rivers, but rather, they detect tiny changes in gravity over the Earth's surface to track water. » 7/08/14 3:00pm 7/08/14 3:00pm

Satellites Are Now Cleared to Take Photos at Mailbox-Level Detail

The Department of Commerce just lifted a ban on satellite images that showed features smaller than 20 inches. The nation's largest satellite imaging firm, Digital Globe, asked the government to lift the restrictions and can now sell images showing details as small as a foot. A few inches may seem slight, but this is… » 6/16/14 11:20am 6/16/14 11:20am

Stadium-Sized "Beast" Asteroid Will Nearly* Smash Into Earth Tomorrow

Asteroid 2014 HQ 124, a.k.a. The Beast, is a football stadium-sized behemoth, estimated at nearly a quarter of a mile wide. And on Sunday, it's gonna come perilously close to our beloved home planet. How close? Just a mere 777,000 miles away. In space terms, that's about as close as it gets. » 6/07/14 3:00pm 6/07/14 3:00pm