What's the Point of a Fly-By When We Have the Tech to Go Into Orbit?

New Horizons’ fly-by of Pluto and its moons is the latest in a historic string of missions to objects in the solar system. But given that a fly-by lasts for just a short time, how much can we really get out of it? There’s no doubt that the mission will yield a great deal of interesting data, but surely more would be… »7/16/15 4:15am7/16/15 4:15am

Your Children Won't Be Able To Live In Space, Without A Major Upgrade

We all dream of journeying (or living) among the stars. But space is a spectacularly awful place for humans, and we’re not suited for life there at all. And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are all the ways we’ll need to re-engineer the human body, in order to make space our home. »6/18/15 3:35pm6/18/15 3:35pm

Humanity's Future Will Be In Caves ... On the Moon

While I talked with the legendary roboticist Red Whittaker in his lab at Carnegie Mellon, a half-moon shaped remnant of a Lifesaver was resting on his knee. He nibbled on it as we talked about sending autonomous robots to explore the Moon. That’s when he told me about the Moon caves that could be humanity’s future… »6/15/15 1:20pm6/15/15 1:20pm

After Earth Falls, Will Interstellar Space Travel Be Our Salvation?


It may be just a matter of time before the Earth becomes uninhabitable. As astrophysicists and avid science fiction fans, we naturally find the prospect of interstellar colonization intriguing and exciting. But is it practical, or even possible? Or is there a better solution? »1/23/15 10:23pm1/23/15 10:23pm

We're Running Out of the Nuclear Fuel That Powers Space Travel

Rosetta's lander lasted just 60 hours on a comet after it bounced into the dark shadows of a cliff, where its solar panels couldn't power the vehicle. Why didn't it carry a more reliable power source, say a nuclear battery like one that's unfailingly fueled Voyager for decades? It's a simple question with a… »12/02/14 12:30pm12/02/14 12:30pm

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 8:15pm11/12/14 8:15pm

SpaceShipTwo's Surviving Pilot Ejected Into -70 Degree Air at 50,000 Feet

Investigators are still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong with the tragic crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. While the National Transportation Safety Board has been looking into an issue with the braking system, the agency has released details from surviving pilot Peter Siebold about how he managed to… »11/12/14 1:12pm11/12/14 1:12pm

Wernher von Braun Predicted We'd Send Men to Mars No Sooner Than 2050s

Student researchers at MIT have concluded that given current technology, any colonists to Mars would die after about 68 days. Mars One, the company that hopes to put people on Mars by the 2025 (and film a reality TV show there, so you know they're legit) insists that the MIT researchers are wrong. But as any student… »10/15/14 1:20pm10/15/14 1:20pm