Space

The big picture

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 - Science
The make-or-break moment for U.S. spaceflight

2020 is the year for the U.S. to reassert its dominance in human spaceflight.

Jan 7, 2020 - Science
Deep Dive: Factory Moon

The sector is an emerging one in the space industry.

Jul 20, 2019 - Science
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 - Science

All Space stories

The 30-year anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thirty years ago, a probe headed for distant space turned around and took a final photo of Earth.

Context: Known as the "Pale Blue Dot," the image has lived on, and last week NASA released a newly processed version of it that shows our world and everyone on it as a bright pixel nestled in a sunbeam.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Science

$100 million project to hunt for alien life releases trove of data

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A privately funded hunt for intelligent extraterrestrial life has turned up empty so far, but a newly released trove of data could aid in the search.

The big picture: The search for alien life has gone mainstream in recent years, with multiple scientific ventures looking for radio signals that could signify the presence of intelligent civilizations somewhere else out there.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Science

Cosmic rays change atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan

Hazes above Titan's atmosphere. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SScI

Galactic cosmic rays from outside of the solar system may change the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Titan is one of the most intriguing objects in the solar system — with a thick atmosphere and liquid lakes of hydrocarbons — and scientists think it could harbor the ingredients necessary to support life in some form.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Science

SpaceX inks deal to fly space tourists to orbit

NASA astronaut Suni Williams inside a mockup of a Crew Dragon capsule. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX has penned a deal with the space tourism outfit Space Adventures to launch private citizens to orbit aboard the company's Crew Dragon capsule.

Why it matters: SpaceX is building and testing the Crew Dragon to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, but this announcement shows they're thinking about orbital space tourism as a possible driver of revenue for them in the future.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Science

SpaceX botches 50th Falcon rocket booster landing

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk after an in-flight abort test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on Jan. 19. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What would have been SpaceX's 50th successful Falcon booster landing was foiled on Monday, after the booster missed its touchdown point in the Atlantic Ocean, the Washington Post reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Miriam Kramer: The most remarkable thing about SpaceX's failure to land one of its boosters is that this is the exception and not the rule.

Go deeperArrowFeb 17, 2020 - Science

Northrop Grumman sends cheese and sweets to International Space Station

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches on Feb. 15. Photo: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images

Defense contractor and aerospace giant Northrop Grumman successfully launched its 13th supply run to the International Space Station on Saturday afternoon, which included cheese and candy for station astronauts.

Details: The launch followed multiple mission attempts this week that were foiled due to bad weather and launch pad equipment concerns, per AP. The Cygnus NG-13 launch at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is carrying nearly 7,500 pounds of hardware, crew supplies and research, per NASA.

Go deeper: NASA looks to private companies to help commercialize low-Earth orbit

Astronomers capture a stellar deep space confrontation

Photo: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Olofsson, et al.

There's no match for the drama of a confrontation in deep space. Astronomers spotted this gas cloud created when one dying star became a red giant, growing large enough to encircle a companion star.

What's happening: The companion star then fell toward the dying one, forcing it to slough off its outer layers of gas, according to the European Southern Observatory, exposing its core.

Go deeperArrowFeb 12, 2020 - Science

We're about to learn a lot more about the Sun

The Sun is getting its due. Photo: NASA/SDO/AIA

The Sun is getting a long-overdue close-up thanks to a number of new missions designed to reveal the inner workings of our nearest star.

Why it matters: The mechanisms that govern the solar wind, the Sun's 11-year cycle and magnetic fields are still largely a mystery.

Go deeperArrowFeb 11, 2020 - Science

New company wants to transform the space industry through software

Sunrise from orbit. Photo: NASA

NewSpace Networks — which is emerging from stealth mode on Tuesday — will focus its efforts on making data collection and communication from space cheaper and easier through software, not engineering new satellites and rockets.

Why it matters: The price of launching satellites to orbit has gotten cheaper in recent years, but it still costs millions, if not billions, of dollars for companies to deploy and operate their own constellations of satellites.

Go deeperArrowFeb 11, 2020 - Science
More Space stories