A Lunar Discovery Reveals The Secret To Building Deflector Shields

Radiation in space is one of the major obstacles to human exploration of the solar system. Astronauts on a round-trip to Mars could be exposed to radiation doses 66,000 times higher than on Earth. But recent research into magnetic fields on the Moon could help us design effective radiation shields. » 6/09/14 10:20am 6/09/14 10:20am

The Astronomer Who Wanted to Rearrange the Solar System, Using Nukes

CalTech astronomer Fritz Zwicky was the first to conceive of dark matter, supernovas and neutron stars. He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. » 5/14/14 11:00am 5/14/14 11:00am

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

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

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a… » 11/26/12 10:13am 11/26/12 10:13am