A Swarm of Satellites Will Soon Keep Us Safe From Fires

The GIF above, created by NASA, may leave you wondering why our government is building a planetary shield. Something you’re not telling us, NASA? According to the space agency, NASA’s shield plan has nothing to do with intergalactic threats—it’s protection against a danger on the ground. The space agency wants to… »Friday 7:40pm11/20/15 7:40pm


A Satellite Mishap Is Letting Physicists Test Einstein's Theory of Relativity

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? That, at least, is the motto the European Space Agency seems to have embraced with respect to two wayward satellites, which are being repurposed to provide the most accurate assessment yet of how gravity affects the passage of time. »11/14/15 5:30pm11/14/15 5:30pm

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 5:00pm6/20/15 5:00pm

Satspotting Adventures: Why Are Different Orbits Needed for Satellites?

Congratulations: perhaps you’re a new space-faring nation, looking to place a shiny new payload around the planet Earth. You’ve assembled the technical know-how, and seek to break the surly bonds and join an exclusive club that thus far, only contains 14 nations capable of indigenous spaceflight. Now for the big… »4/04/15 2:15pm4/04/15 2:15pm

Size matters: Elephants and whales are the only two animals that show up from space when tracked usi

Size matters: Elephants and whales are the only two animals that show up from space when tracked using "commercially available" resolutions. Satellite images have been used to prevent poaching, as well as to keep track of creatures that manage to be as elusive as they are enormous. »3/28/15 6:10pm3/28/15 6:10pm

A Tax On Smartphones Could Help Pay For The Removal Of Space Debris

So far, governments have opted to deal with the problem of space junk by implementing policies to reduce the creation of more debris. But that alone won't cut it — we also need to be removing stuff from orbit. One way to cover the high costs of space junk disposal would be a $1 tax on every GPS chip in a smartphone. »12/15/14 4:40pm12/15/14 4:40pm