All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 22, 2021 - Science

SpaceX set to launch new crew of astronauts for NASA Friday

The Falcon 9 rocket stands on its pad ahead of launch. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX is slated to send four new crewmembers to the International Space Station on Friday.

Why it matters: This will mark the third crewed flight for the company, which has big plans to one day launch people to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

Apr 20, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Where to see the Hubble Space Telescope over Tampa Bay this week

The Hubble Space Telescope drifts through space in a picture taken from the Space Shuttle Discovery during Hubble's second servicing mission in 1997. Photo: NASA via Getty Images

Starting Tuesday, the Hubble Space Telescope will pass almost directly over St. Petersburg several nights this week.

What to look for: Heavens Above, a nonprofit satellite prediction site, says the HST will look like a bright star slowly moving from west to east.

Apr 19, 2021 - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hovering the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.

Apr 16, 2021 - Science

Elon Musk's SpaceX wins contract to build NASA's lunar lander

Elon Musk Photo: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NASA announced Friday it has awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a $2.89 billion contract to build a spacecraft that will carry astronauts to the Moon's surface.

Why it matters: NASA hopes to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, which if successful, would be the first time since the last Apollo mission. SpaceX beat out Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics for the contract.

Major satellite program launches to hunt for methane, carbon "super-emitters"

Map of part of the Permian Basin, showing methane emission hotspots in red. (Carbon Mapper)

A new era in monitoring compliance of environmental regulations is quickly approaching, signaled in part by plans announced Thursday to deploy a network of satellites that can pinpoint sources of of methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

Why it matters: The new nonprofit, known as Carbon Mapper, aims to launch its first satellite in 2023 that can detect methane super-emitters and track carbon emissions. If successful, it could transform the way policymakers regulate greenhouse gas emissions and also generate a wealth of data for public use.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 13, 2021 - Science

NASA helicopter set to become first aircraft to fly outside of earth

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's little Ingenuity helicopter on Mars will have to wait a bit longer to take to the Martian skies for the first time after a problem was detected during a test last week.

Why it matters: If the eventual flight is successful, this will mark the first time an aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to a new type of planetary exploration.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 13, 2021 - Science

Discoveries point to a speed limit on how fast "failed stars" can rotate

Artist's illustration of a brown dwarf. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists have discovered the three fastest spinning "failed stars" yet found, suggesting there might be a speed limit to how fast they can rotate.

The big picture: These objects — called brown dwarfs — are thought to be "failed stars" that didn't collect enough mass to ignite fusion in their cores needed to be considered a star and too large to be a gas giant planet like Jupiter.

The push to define workers' rights in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As humanity stretches into orbit and beyond, experts are still grappling with how rights afforded to workers on Earth apply to those living in space.

Why it matters: In order to create businesses and perhaps societies in space — where the biological necessities for sustaining human life, like air and water, aren't readily available — there will need to be fundamental rights agreements to guarantee laborers aren't exploited.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Updated Apr 10, 2021 - Science

NASA's delays Mars helicopter test flight

Ingenuity (left) with Perseverance on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA announced Saturday it rescheduled its Ingenuity Mars helicopter's first experimental flight, originally planned for Sunday.

The latest: "During a high-speed spin test of the rotors on Friday, the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration," NASA said in a statement. "This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from ‘Pre-Flight’ to ‘Flight’ mode."

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 6, 2021 - Science

NASA's InSight lander feels Mars quake beneath it

InSight on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's InSight lander on Mars felt two relatively large quakes shake the Red Planet last month.

Why it matters: InSight uses these shakes on Mars — caused by volcanic activity — to learn more about the interior of the planet.