NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is getting progressively closer to Ceres. And we’re getting some amazing views — this remarkably detailed shot shows the dwarf planet’s cratered surface from a distance of only 3,200 miles (5,100 km). »
The aurorae here on Earth are a pretty impressive sight to behold, but, just like Earth, it turns out that Mars also has aurorae visible to the naked eye — with one pretty startling difference. »
By using the Gemini Planet Imager, an international team of astronomers have captured an image of a protoplanetary disc that shares remarkable similarities with our own Kuiper Belt — though as it was at a much earlier time in our Solar System’s history.
There’s gold in them thar’ space rocks, say the miners of the future. There’s also platinum, rare earth elements, and even water. Mining in space may sound like science fiction, but as the founders of two space mining companies recently told me, their plans are very real. »
We’ve been using the Hubble Space Telescope to watch a jet of material coming out of galaxy NGC 3862 for over twenty years. Only recently, after piecing together a string of pictures, have we seen what’s really happening.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 20 million miles (32 million kilometers) since it last beamed back images of Pluto. The latest set of photos hint at a complicated and high-contrast surface — including more evidence in support of the theory that the dwarf planet features a bright polar cap. »
Yesterday was Towel Day, a day for celebrating the works of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti apparently agrees with Adams about the supreme usefulness of a towel, and demonstrates how astronauts use them aboard the International Space Station. »
The Curiosity Rover has been a remarkably resilient piece of machinery, but even the toughest robot occasionally needs a tune up. So how does that happen when we’re down here and Curiosity is all by its lonesome up on Mars? »
Saturn’s icy moon Rhea, which measures a mere 949 miles (1,527 km) across, features an irregularly shaped landscape battered by craters. This new image taken by the Cassini spacecraft shows the tortured surface in glorious detail. »
Astronomers are calling it the “Nasty 1,” but the hefty, rapidly aging star that shines in the center of the image above sure is beautiful. It’s also damn peculiar, and it may hold clues to a stellar mystery that’s puzzled scientists for decades. »
Using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), astronomers have catalogued 20 previously undetected galaxies that are so bright they belong to an entirely new class of objects, including one that releases 10,000 times more energy than the Milky Way — even though it’s smaller. »
For everything that is good out there, there’s always someone to naysay it. So how to respond when the haters come for our solar sails? With poetry, friends, only poetry. »
Located 1,500 light years away and measuring four light-years across, the gorgeous Medusa Nebula offers a sneak preview of what our Sun will look like when it finally enters into its final death throes.
To travel to space you need a lot: gear, funding, a ship, years of prep time, not to mention serious training in math, engineering, and science. But eventually, space travel will be available much faster and to more people, and then travelers will need something else — they’ll need an itinerary. »
Famed scifi author Neal Stephenson’s new novel Seveneves is out today, and one of the most exciting things about it is that it’s packed with realistic representations of space megastructures where humans live. We talked to Stephenson about his ideas, and have some exclusive art from Weta showing what they look like. »
This week on Meanwhile in the Future, we ask what would happen if Earth had a second moon. How exactly that happens I won’t reveal — you’ll have to listen! But once it does, there are some really interesting things that we might notice on Earth, from tides and the night sky, to the potential destruction of Earth. »
Spending more time in space requires the right tools for the job — and since these tools need to stand up outside the bounds of our own atmosphere, we have to make new tools.And of course, before they go up into space, they need to be tested. Here’s how — and where — they do it. »