Venus Express Blasts Out One Last Message From Beyond The Grave

The Venus Express spacecraft was declared scientifically dead in December when, finally out of propellent, it decayed into an uncontrolled spin. After a few accidental communications when pure luck pointed its antenna at Earth, it let out one last bleat of full-volume noise. » 1/23/15 2:00pm 1/23/15 2:00pm

The Ongoing Scientific Legacy of Old But Not Outdated Solar Satellites

These satellites first started looking at Earth-Sun interactions when green text on black backgrounds was stylish (with cutting-edge blink tags!) and pagers were a key part of pop culture, yet they're still bringing us new science today. That's just impressive! » 1/18/15 9:00am 1/18/15 9:00am

This Is Every Place In The Solar System Ever Occupied Entirely By Robots

Is Mars really the only planet solely inhabited by robots? Yes, but no. The truth behind this meme is an excellent opportunity to investigate just how adventurous our robotic explorers are in visiting all sorts of places we squishy humans haven't. » 10/12/14 8:00pm 10/12/14 8:00pm

This Spacecraft Spine Will Support An Entire Telescope

Engineers unfolded the James Webb Space Telescope's spine in the world's largest clean room in preparation for decking it with mirrors like a giant, glittering Christmas tree. » 8/19/14 8:00am 8/19/14 8:00am

This Is What Space Debris Can Do To Kevlar Shielding

The hole that you are looking at is the "exit wound" from an aluminum bullet — 0.3 inches in diameter — fired at Kevlar-Nextel fabric that shields the European Space Agency's ATV freighter, which ferries supplies to the International Space Station. » 6/25/14 7:40am 6/25/14 7:40am

This Mission Plan Could Get NASA To Europa On The Cheap

NASA is currently accepting ideas for a mission to Europa — the moon voted most likely to harbour alien life. But thanks to recent budget cuts, it can only consider the most affordable solutions. The fine minds at Draper Labs may have just come up with the answer. » 6/20/14 11:01am 6/20/14 11:01am

Today, A Spacecraft From 1978 Took Our Lunch Money

A spacecraft from 1978 resurfaced, today — and then it took our lunch money. This is not a story about time travel, though. It's a story about the internet, money, space, and, of course, lunch. And it's all true. » 4/16/14 3:40pm 4/16/14 3:40pm

Can This 1970s Spacecraft Explore Again?

The countdown is on to rebuild communications with a spacecraft before it drifts past this summer. The craft has functional instruments, but NASA has no budget to reactivate the program. It's up to private donors and dedicated volunteers to recapture the abandoned spacecraft. » 4/15/14 12:00pm 4/15/14 12:00pm

Explorer 24: The Death Star Disco Ball Satellite

Once upon a time, NASA launched an inflatable disco ball into orbit. For nearly four years, Explorer 24 was used to determine atmospheric density in all its polka-dotted balloon glory. » 3/28/14 12:00pm 3/28/14 12:00pm

Contact with Curiosity may be lost during its descent to the Martian…

As NASA prepares for the August 6 landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, its scientists have made the disturbing realization that communication will likely be lost during its harrowing seven minute descent to the surface. Engineers attribute the fault to a critical support satellite, Odyssey, which is currently… » 7/17/12 11:23am 7/17/12 11:23am

Is this a disco ball or a spacecraft part?

This beauty may look like the love child of a flying saucer and a disco ball, but is actually a key component of Europe's most powerful rocket launcher. » 9/25/11 10:30am 9/25/11 10:30am

Abandoned remains from the Soviet Shuttle Program

What happens when space programs are left to die? In the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, the Buran reusable spacecraft program was canceled, leaving the launchpads and equipment to decay. » 5/28/11 1:30pm 5/28/11 1:30pm

The very best home videos . . . in space

Launching your own short-term space satellite is now pretty easy - you just need a weather balloon and a hardy mobile camera for documentation. Here's a terrific set of videos showing the successful flights of spacecraft created by ordinary people. » 4/13/11 8:00am 4/13/11 8:00am

NASA picks the awesomest DIY space art from Etsy

The results of the "space craft" contest sponsored by NASA and Etsy are in, and the finalists include some of the coolest home-made space art we've ever seen. Here are some of our favorites. » 3/22/11 1:40pm 3/22/11 1:40pm

The wheels on the moon go round and round

Ideally, at least, that's what they do. In practice, they have to deal with low gravity, uneven surfaces, and lots of grit. The iRing provides a new way to do it. » 1/04/11 6:30am 1/04/11 6:30am

Happy 50th Birthday to Sputnik 5, Proof That Space Travel Is Survivable…

Fifty years ago today, the Soviet Union launched the Korabl-Sputnik 2 spacecraft—known as Sputnik 5 in the west—carrying two dogs named Belka and Strelka, along with mice, rats and flies into space. More surprising? Everyone came back alive. » 8/19/10 9:55am 8/19/10 9:55am

Hoop sails: an interstellar possibility?

What are hoop sails, and — assuming we get the physics right — how could these curious devices help spacecraft travel the stars? » 8/15/10 3:32pm 8/15/10 3:32pm