All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 13, 2020 - Science

Blue Origin launches first test flight of 2020

The New Shepard booster coming in for a landing. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin launched an uncrewed test on Tuesday of the company's New Shepard space system designed to take paying tourists to the edge of space.

Why it matters: This suborbital New Shepard launch is the first of the year for the Jeff Bezos-owned company.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 8, 2020 - Science

Piecing together an asteroid's history

A global map of Bennu. Photo: Simon et al., Science (2020)

The space rock that eventually gave rise to the asteroid Bennu — currently being studied from close range by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft — may have had flowing water, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Why it matters: Asteroids are thought to be building blocks leftover from the early days of the solar system, and understanding their nature could provide insights into its evolution.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 6, 2020 - Science

Scientists spot new craters on Mars with AI

Scientists have used artificial intelligence to spot small, newly formed craters on Mars for the first time.

Why it matters: This use of AI could cut down on the time scientists spend combing through images of the Red Planet's surface taken by orbiters to find interesting features worthy of study.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 6, 2020 - Science

Nobel Prize in physics goes to Milky Way supermassive black hole researchers

The clouds of the Milky Way. Photo: ESO/S. Brunier

Three scientists are sharing the Nobel Prize in physics this year for their work on the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Why it matters: The laureates — Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez — have created a more full theoretical and observational view of the inner workings of our galaxy.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 6, 2020 - Science

China's newest astronauts

China has chosen a new class of 18 astronauts, another step along its methodical path to explore space in the coming decades.

Why it matters: The nation has plans to build a new space station in orbit and eventually send people to the Moon, making some in the U.S. concerned about the geopolitical implications of China's space ambitions.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 6, 2020 - Science

Brands are changing space

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: NASA

Space — once the purview of only the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations — is now open to brands, private citizens and commercial companies, all at NASA's urging.

The big picture: The commercialization of spaceflight has flung open the door to branding and marketing in space that will change everyone's relationship with the cosmos.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 29, 2020 - Science

Scientists discover 2 newborn stars encased in table salt

IRAS 16547-4247, a binary star system. Photo: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Tanaka et al.

A pair of newborn stars are enveloped in water vapor and sodium chloride — otherwise known as table salt — according to new data from the ALMA telescope in Chile.

Why it matters: Scientists are always looking to piece together new details of how star systems form, and the detection of salt in this binary star system could help researchers figure out how baby stars grow.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 29, 2020 - Science

NASA to send new $23 million toilet to International Space Station

The new space toilet being demonstrated on Earth. Photo: NASA

NASA is sending a new and much-improved toilet up to the International Space Station this week.

Why it matters: The new toilet is designed to be easier to use for female astronauts while in orbit.

Radiation-proofing the human body for long-term space travel

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers are working to find new ways to protect the human body from radiation in space in order to allow people to live far from Earth for years at a time.

Why it matters: Big thinkers like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos believe that one day people will be living and working in space, on the Moon and even on Mars for years at a time, but humans aren’t made to stand up for long to the extreme radiation environment they’ll face off Earth.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 23, 2020 - Science

Blue Origin to launch rocket Thursday

New Shepard taking flight. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin is planning to launch its 13th uncrewed flight of its suborbital New Shepard system on Thursday, the Jeff Bezos-founded company announced.

Why it matters: The flight will mark the first New Shepard test of 2020. This system last flew in December 2019.