Scientists Build Incredible “Mars In A Bottle” Simulation Chamber

Environmental conditions on Mars are uniquely suited to destroying the billions of dollars of scientific equipment we send to study the Red Planet. To better protect our investments, three researchers have built a simulation chamber to assess the resilience of high-tech instruments before they are launched. » 4/09/14 11:20am 4/09/14 11:20am

Can Six Astronauts Live Together for 17 Months And Not Go Crazy?

The "Mars500" project was the most ambitious attempt yet to simulate the conditions of an expedition to the Red Planet. A newly published study assesses the psychological well-being of the crew during their "mission"—and reveals what it was like to live in cramped quarters with 6 people for 520 days. » 4/02/14 7:40am 4/02/14 7:40am

How to power a starship with an artificial black hole

According to theory, it may be possible to create an advanced propulsion system that would harness the available energy from an evaporating black hole, a so-called Schwarzschild Kugelblitz drive. Here's how it would work. » 1/16/14 4:00pm 1/16/14 4:00pm

Proposed 'deflector shield' could protect astronauts from radiation

As if Star Trek didn’t already provide enough futuristic inspiration, scientists from the UK are working on an actual deflector shield that could protect astronauts from dangerous levels of radiation. And it would work in a way that's very similar to how we're protected right here on Earth. » 6/27/13 3:20pm 6/27/13 3:20pm

This is what it would really look like to travel at near-lightspeed

It's one of the most iconic images in all of science fiction: the stretching of stars as a ship makes the jump to lightspeed. But as a group of physics students at the University of Leicester has revealed, it wouldn't actually look like this. Instead, and assuming a ship could travel at nearly the speed of light, a… » 1/15/13 8:00am 1/15/13 8:00am

Simulated mission to Mars made astronauts sleepy, lethargic, and less…

Back in November 2011, a multinational crew of six ended their 17-month long simulation to Mars and back. Confined to a trailer for 520 days, the pretend-astronauts had every detail of their lifestyle tracked, including their sleep-wake cycles, physical movements, intellectual activities, and light exposure. Now,… » 1/08/13 7:20am 1/08/13 7:20am

Engineer petitions White House to conduct a feasibility study on…

Earlier this year, an engineer who goes by the name of BTE Dan, proposed building a full-sized, ion-powered version of a Constitution-Class Enterprise — from Star Trek — saying it could be built with current technology and could be completed within 20 years. Now, BTE Dan has started a White House petition — not to… » 12/27/12 10:20am 12/27/12 10:20am

What’s on the menu for Mars-bound astronauts?

While we have a pretty good idea what the first humans will eat on Mars, we're a little less certain about what their meals will look like on the way there. Alas, because there are no drive-throughs between Earth and the red planet, food scientists are having to come up with innovative, healthy, and tasty food options … » 7/17/12 5:00pm 7/17/12 5:00pm

"Nuclear slapshots" could propel a spacecraft to Mars in just weeks

Scientists at UAHuntsville have proposed a scheme that could see a spacecraft propelled through space by using a pulsed nuclear fusion system. To do so, a series of "nuclear slapshots" would apply magnetic pulses in order to slam nuclei into each other inside a hockey puck like structure made of a special lightweight… » 6/27/12 10:20am 6/27/12 10:20am

Within 50 years, governments will either put people on other planets,…

"I think it's essentially a binary choice. In 50 years time, we will either have Antarctica-style research stations elsewhere in the solar system or the era of government-funded manned space exploration will be over for good."
— John Logsdon, space historian and professor at the Space Policy Institute at George… » 4/18/12 10:20am 4/18/12 10:20am

1950 letters from wannabe space travelers hoped for canine astronauts…

In 1950, the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium promoted its Conquest of Space exhibition with a peculiar stunt. They solicited letters from the general public, inviting them to reserve seats on the first flight into space. Letters poured in from around the country, reflecting the public's grand… » 2/04/12 1:00pm 2/04/12 1:00pm