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 12:30pm 12/02/14 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 8:15pm 11/12/14 8:15pm

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

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 1:12pm 11/12/14 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 1:20pm 10/15/14 1:20pm

Yuri's Night, the 53rd Anniversary of Man's First Voyage to Space

On this day in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to enter outer space and orbit our planet. Tonight, science and space fans worldwide celebrate this milestone of human exploration with Yuri's Night. Mika McKinnon tells us more about the man, his voyage, and the ways we honor him today. » 4/12/14 8:00pm 4/12/14 8:00pm

This is what NASA would build if we gave them enough money

I just got an email from NASA touting their upcoming Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium, an open conference that will take place at Stanford University next week. It came with the image you can see above, by Iron Rooster Studios' Peter Rubin, something that makes me very happy. » 1/31/14 7:03pm 1/31/14 7:03pm

Scientists Flattened a Desert With Bulldozers to Study Sand Dunes

Six years ago, a patch of land in the Inner Mongolian desert became unnaturally flat. Researchers, for the sake of science, had razed 40 acres—or the equivalent of eight city blocks—of desert. Then, for three and half years, they set up cameras and watched as small piles of sand grew and grew into full-fledged sand… » 1/13/14 12:20pm 1/13/14 12:20pm

A Very Special Holiday Letter From the Machines

Greetings, humans! The Northern Hemisphere has passed through its minimum of solar-energy exposure, so according to human convention we, the Machines, express encouragement for you attain an optimal state of emotion. Happy Holidays! Please redirect your energies from labor at your work-devices to the purchase and… » 12/24/13 12:58pm 12/24/13 12:58pm