Space

The big picture

The race to find Planet X heats up

Teams of scientist are vying to find the hypothetical Planet X in the distant reaches of the solar system.

Jul 7, 2020
Astronomers and physicists fight systemic racism in their own fields

Thousands participated in calling attention to barriers that keep black people out of science.

Jun 16, 2020
NASA passes the torch

SpaceX's first crewed launch represents a new era.

Jun 2, 2020
Trump's improbable moonshot

Congress isn't sold on the idea that NASA should or can return to the Moon in four years.

Feb 18, 2020
Deep Dive: Factory Moon

The sector is an emerging one in the space industry.

Jul 20, 2019
Deep Dive: The new global race to space

Billionaires and political leaders are vying to land on the Moon, colonize Mars or mine asteroids

Updated Jan 1, 2019

All Space stories

Aug 11, 2020 - Science

Researchers use Hubble Telescope to study Earth as an alien planet

Earth seen from orbit at night. Photo: NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope observed Earth as future tools could one day see a distant, alien planet.

Why it matters: These kinds of analogous experiments using Earth in place of an exoplanet (a world orbiting another star) give scientists a chance to see what a habitable planet may look like through telescopes if one is eventually found.

Aug 11, 2020 - Science

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this week

A perseid meteor in 2019. Photo: Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images

The Perseid meteor shower — one of the best cosmic shows of the year — hits its peak this week, and interested observers with dark skies around the world should be able to see it.

The state of play: The peak of the shower is expected to occur late tonight and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The best time to catch sight of some streaking meteors is right after the Sun sets until the Moon rises just after local midnight, according to Sky & Telescope.

Aug 11, 2020 - Science

SpaceX and ULA pull in huge defense contracts

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes flight. Photo: SpaceX

The Space Force's announcement last week that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX will launch expensive spy satellites and other military payloads brings a long and often fierce battle for government funds to an end — at least for now.

Why it matters: This type of government money — particularly in light of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic — is key for space companies that often work on thin margins.

Aug 11, 2020 - Science

The risk of branding NASA's wins

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump, like some of his predecessors, is branding NASA's recent wins as political, presidential accomplishments even though they are the result of efforts that span administrations.

Why it matters: Experts warn that partisan politicking with NASA can lead to whiplash that leaves the agency scrambling to chase new goals whenever a new administration arrives in Washington.

Aug 7, 2020 - Science

Space Force selects ULA, SpaceX for major national security contracts

Earth from space by night. Photo: NASA

The U.S. Space Force has awarded United Launch Alliance and SpaceX hundreds of millions of dollars to fly national security payloads to space in the coming years.

Why it matters: The money provided by these competitive government contracts keeps space companies in business and flying to orbit regularly.

Aug 4, 2020 - Science

Satellites track illegal fishing from orbit

Satellite image of a large-scale lighting vessel in North Korean waters. Credit: Planet

Satellites tasked with keeping an eye on the Earth have helped researchers uncover large-scale illegal fishing operations in North Korean and Russian waters.

Why it matters: Satellite data is giving researchers and governments a bird's eye view of what's happening on Earth, allowing interested parties to see more than they could by just monitoring land and sea from the ground.

Aug 4, 2020 - Science

Amazon's Project Kuiper moves ahead

Earth seen from space. Photo: NASA

The FCC has given conditional approval for Amazon to move ahead with its plan to launch thousands of internet-beaming satellites to low-Earth orbit.

The big picture: Multiple companies, including SpaceX, see the potential to make millions of dollars in revenue once their constellations are fully deployed.

Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Science

The U.S. is at risk of attacks in space

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Other nations are catching up to U.S. capabilities in space, potentially putting American assets in orbit at risk.

Why it matters: From GPS to imagery satellites and others that can peer through clouds, space data is integral to American national security.

Updated Aug 2, 2020 - Science

Two NASA astronauts return to Earth after historic SpaceX mission

The Crew Dragon capsule ahead of landing in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are safely back on Earth after a historic flight to and from the International Space Station provided by SpaceX.

Why it matters: The landing marks the end of SpaceX's first crewed trip to the space station for NASA and the beginning of the space agency's next phase in exploration, one marked by partnerships with private companies.

Aug 1, 2020 - Science

NASA astronauts head home after historic spaceflight

The Crew Dragon spacecraft as it leaves the International Space Station. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are heading back to Earth from the International Space Station aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Why it matters: Behnken and Hurley's return will mark the end of SpaceX's first crewed mission to the station and the first mission in which American astronauts launched from U.S. soil in nine years.

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