All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 29, 2021 - Science

Equality in space through new radiation limits

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

NASA's proposal to update its radiation limits for astronauts would make space a more equal place for women.

The big picture: Historically, female astronauts haven't been able to fly as often as their male counterparts, in part because of strict limits on the amount of radiation exposure NASA finds allowable.

Pacific Northwest heat dome roasts more than 25M

Computer model projection of temperature departures from average (degrees Celsius) on June 28. Image: Tropicaltidbits.com

One of the worst heat waves on record to hit the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia is underway, with temperatures soaring into the triple digits Saturday before reaching unprecedented levels Sunday and Monday.

Why it matters: Extreme heat events are dangerous to public health, with heat ranking as the nation's top weather-related killer annually. In addition, extreme heat events such as this one are a clear manifestation of human-caused climate change.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 26, 2021 - Science

Why UFO sightings are here to stay

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. government's hotly anticipated report on UFOs does not lend any credence to the belief that intelligent aliens have visited Earth. But that idea is in many Americans' heads, and it's there to stay.

The big picture: People want to believe.

Jun 25, 2021 - Science

Virgin Galactic approved to carry passengers on spaceflights

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson at the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Virgin Galactic got federal approval to carry passengers on future spaceflights — one of the final hurdles for Richard Branson's company to launch tourists into space.

The backdrop: There's a who-can-get-to-space-first battle brewing between Branson and fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 24, 2021 - Science

NASA should change astronaut radiation limits, report says

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA should update its radiation limits for all astronauts as it considers sending people on long-duration missions to destinations like Mars, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Why it matters: Radiation exposure is a major risk for astronauts, who, when exposed especially to high-energy galactic cosmic rays in deep space, can be at increased risk of developing cancer, cognitive issues and cardiovascular problems.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 24, 2021 - Science

Looking at Earth like an alien planet

Earth and the Moon as seen from Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Twenty-nine potentially habitable planets orbiting relatively nearby stars were in in a position to spot Earth in the past 5,000 years and possibly detect radio waves from our planet, according to a new study.

Why it matters: If intelligent life is out there, chances are it's searching for us too and any theoretical astronomers on these worlds would have been in a position to observe our planet in much the same way as Earthlings study distant stars and planets today.

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

Missing: Dark matter from an unusual galaxy

The galaxy DF2 seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo: NASA/ESA/STScI/Yale/IAS

Scientists have confirmed the discovery of a strange galaxy 72 million light-years from Earth that appears to be missing its dark matter.

Why it matters: It's long been thought that dark matter — the invisible stuff that makes up much of matter in the universe — is a key ingredient for galaxies, but the discovery complicates that picture.

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

Trouble with the Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope. Photo: NASA

NASA still hasn't managed to bring the Hubble Space Telescope back online after a computer glitch sidelined the spacecraft on June 13.

Why it matters: The Hubble has transformed our understanding of the universe over the course of its more than 30-year life in orbit.

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

Another billionaire space battle is brewing

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Arif Hudaverdi Yaman (Anadolu Agency), James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The race between billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson to make suborbital space tourism a viable business is heating up.

Why it matters: The disagreements between Bezos and Elon Musk capture the limelight, but the competition between Bezos' Blue Origin and Branson's Virgin Galactic could soon make space a destination for ordinary citizens.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 12, 2021 - Science

Blue Origin auctions off a trip to the edge of space for $28 million

A test dummy flies aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard. Photo: Blue Origin

A seat aboard Blue Origin’s first crewed flight to suborbital space fetched $28 million during a live auction on Saturday.

Why it matters: While the market for suborbital tourist flights to space may not be huge, experts say it's an important, public-facing part of the space industry that could popularize it as more people start flying.