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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
As the U.S., China and others focus on launching rockets and putting boots on the Moon, the tiny Gulf nation of the United Arab Emirates is set on building a settlement on Mars in 100 years.
Driving the news: Last week, the UAE sent its first astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The big picture: The UAE's space program resembles a startup spaceflight company like Virgin Galactic more than NASA or Roscosmos.
The intrigue: The UAE — which launched its space program in 2014 — invested about $383 million into the agency in 2018, according to Euroconsult.
"They also want to leap ahead of where everybody is and start developing the capabilities that people are going to need in 100 years," Marquez said.
Yes, but: The UAE's approach to space travel isn't without its risks, however.
The impact: For now, the space agency’s plans for a Martian outpost are more about inspiring people to get involved in the challenge, said Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation.
Relativity's 3D printer. Photo: Relativity Space
Relativity Space just raised $140 million to fund its plan to 3D print its rockets.
Why it matters: The company is working to break into an increasingly crowded launch industry by sending relatively small satellites to orbit. This funding round puts Relativity on track to launch its first rocket — called Terran 1 — by 2021.
State of play: 5 new investors and a number of previous funders are now backing the company, which has so far announced a handful of commercial customers for rides to space aboard Terran-1.
But, but, but: While the funding round is expected to help Relativity get up and running, the long-term sustainability for small satellite launchers is still very much an open question.
A comet discovered at the end of August is just the second interstellar object spotted on a path through our solar system, but scientists think it may be a harbinger of more to come.
Why it matters: These objects, which include this year's 2I/Borisov — formerly called C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) — and 2017's 'Oumuamua, represent the best chance scientists have to study material from distant solar systems at close range.
Details: The new study suggests that interstellar objects may be flung out of their solar systems during the planet formation process.
Yes, but: This study is based on limited data, outside experts told Axios, and it will take new tools coming online in the coming years to truly characterize how many of these interstellar objects pass through the solar system annually.
SpaceX's Starship prototype in Boca Chica, Texas. Photo: SpaceX
How trolling Iran with classified satellite imagery could backfire on the U.S. (Sandra Erwin, Space News)
NASA is now accepting proposals for landers to take people to the Moon (Loren Grush, The Verge)
NASA's planet hunter spots black hole shredding a star (Ashley Strickland, CNN)
Elon Musk reveals SpaceX's Starship prototype (Axios)
Photo: ESO/VMC Survey
The Large Magellanic Cloud — a dwarf galaxy only 163,000 light-years from our own — shines in a photo taken by the VISTA telescope in Chile.
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