All Space stories

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

Childhood cancer survivor named 2nd crew member for all-civilian mission to space

Hayley Arceneaux in front of a SpaceX rocket. Photo: Inspiration4

St. Jude physician assistant and childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux has been selected as the second crew member for an all-civilian mission to space expected to launch later this year.

Why it matters: The mission is a marker of a new age of commercial spaceflight, one in which private citizens and companies are able to go to space without government backing.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 19, 2021 - Science

Mars is coming into focus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Three new missions that just arrived at Mars — including the latest U.S. rover that landed Thursday — will help paint a brand new picture of the Red Planet.

Why it matters: Scientists think that Mars was once a relatively warm and habitable world. These missions from China, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. will help researchers get a more holistic view of what the planet was like billions of years ago, with an eye toward past life — if the countries collaborate scientifically.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 18, 2021 - Science

NASA's Perseverance rover lands on Mars

Perseverance's landing site. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

NASA's Perseverance rover — designed to further the hunt for past life on Mars — successfully touched down on the Red Planet Thursday.

Why it matters: Mars was once a relatively warm, wet and habitable world, and Perseverance — nicknamed Percy — could help NASA figure out if it was inhabited billions of years ago.

Commercial space station developer raises $130 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Axiom Space, a Houston-based developer of what would be the world's first commercial space station, raised $130 million in Series B funding led by C5 Capital.

Why it matters: Axiom represents what many believe is the future of space, whereby NASA becomes a customer everywhere in low-Earth orbit so that it can focus on the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 16, 2021 - Science

The European Space Agency is looking for new astronauts

Photo: NASA

The European Space Agency is on the hunt for a new, more diverse group of astronauts.

The big picture: This is the first time ESA has put out the call for more astronauts since 2008.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 16, 2021 - Science

Breaking down the role nuclear power could play in getting people to Mars

Artist's illustration of a nuclear propulsion system and habitat around Mars. Image: NASA

Nuclear power is a good bet to get people to and from Mars, according to a new report. However, there's still a long way to go before it's viable.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s, but the technology needed for such an extreme mission is still in development.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 16, 2021 - Science

Perseverance rover nearing Mars arrival

Artist's illustration of Perseverance on Mars. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Perseverance rover, which launched to Mars in July, is set to arrive at the Red Planet Thursday.

Why it matters: The rover is expected to hunt for signs of past life in the remains of what scientists think was once a river delta billions of years ago.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 16, 2021 - Science

Scientists seek better understanding of black holes from star cluster

NGC 6397 seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo: NASA/ESA/STScI

A cluster of stars 7,800 light-years away has a group of relatively small black holes hiding in its center.

The big picture: By learning more about this unexpected arrangement of stars and black holes, scientists might be able to piece together a better understanding of the complexities around how black holes behave.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Feb 16, 2021 - Science

Biden takes Trump's lead in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration is staying the course set out by the Trump administration when it comes to space, at least for now.

Why it matters: Administrations often abandon their predecessors' goals in favor of new ones when they come to power. That kind of "moonshot whiplash" can leave NASA stuck on Earth because it takes consistency between administrations to accomplish large exploration goals.

Afrofuturism: The rise of Black science fiction and fantasy

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Gérard Sioen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

More Black writers and artists are turning to science fiction — and an artistic movement known as Afrofuturism — to tackle issues around race and inequality and give fans an escape from the harsh realities on Earth.

The big picture: Afrofuturism was long an underground movement. Its roots date back to W.E.B. Du Bois, though its name wasn't coined til the 1990s. But it has been gaining a bigger mainstream profile in recent years with the blockbuster movie "Black Panther" and the HBO series "Lovecraft Country" and a national racial reckoning.