All Space stories

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 1, 2021 - Science

The scientific hunt for life isn't about UFOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Proof of alien life is likely to come from decades of incremental scientific discoveries, not a blurry video of a UFO speeding through the atmosphere.

The big picture: Instead of a fringe science, the search for life today has become integral to NASA's mission.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 25, 2021 - Science

A total lunar eclipse arrives Wednesday

A total lunar eclipse in 2010. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

A total lunar eclipse will grace skies around the world Wednesday.

The big picture: This is the first total lunar eclipse since January 2019, and it should be a pretty one for anyone able to see it.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 25, 2021 - Science

A bold mission to map the cosmos

A view of part of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC

A team of scientists is embarking on a five-year mission to map 30 million galaxies.

Why it matters: By locating the galaxies in relation to one another, the researchers hope to get closer to answering some of the biggest outstanding questions in astronomy and cosmology today, including how galaxies form and what spurs on the expansion of the universe.

NASA chief touts new Earth-observing satellites for climate

NASA's Terra satellite captured this thermal imaging view of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Credit: NASA.

The White House is providing fresh details of a major satellite program that administration officials call poised to reveal vital information about climate change and extreme weather events.

Why it matters: Known as the "Earth System Observatory," the program consists of at least five satellites to be launched through 2029 that will enhance, or in some cases revolutionize, the capabilities of the space agency's existing fleet of Earth-observing satellites.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 25, 2021 - Science

Welcome to the spaceflight revolution

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From competitions to send ordinary people to space to ambitious Mars landings and Moon missions, space is increasingly center of mind for people around the world.

Why it matters: The public has never before been presented with so many space activities going on at the same time. But experts still aren't sure that interest will help transition parts of the space industry away from its government reliance into a sustainable industry.

May 22, 2021 - Science

Virgin Galactic completes third flight into space

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, posing with a model of VSS Unity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in October 2019. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, completed its third rocket-powered flight into space on Saturday after taking off from New Mexico, the company announced.

Why it matters: The flight is a step toward the company being able to offer commercial trips to suborbital space.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
May 20, 2021 - Science

Ancient spiral galaxy may have formed not long after the Big Bang

The bright center of the spiral galaxy, with arms stretching out from it. Photo: ALMA/ESO/NAOJ/NRAO, T. Tsukui & S. Iguchi

A spiral galaxy similar in shape to our Milky Way may have formed just 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang, far earlier than these types of galaxies were expected to emerge, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Understanding how galaxies formed and evolved into what we see now is one of the enduring mysteries in astronomy, and this study takes astronomers one step closer toward solving it.

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

Rocket Lab investigates rocket failure

An Electron rocket on the launch pad in New Zealand. Photo: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is working to get to the root of an issue that caused the failure of one of its Electron rockets over the weekend.

Why it matters: This is Rocket Lab's second rocket failure in about a year, and it comes as the company is also working to go public via a SPAC.

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

Big and little black holes feed the same way

Galaxies like this one, M104, are thought to house supermassive black holes at their centers. Photo: NASA/STScI/AURA

No matter the size of a black hole, they all appear to feed the same way, according to a new study.

Why it matters: Black holes are some of the most extreme objects found in our universe. By studying the way they grow, scientists should be able to piece together more about how they work.

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

Blue Origin moves to the next phase of its spaceflight auction

The New Shepard capsule coming down to Earth. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin has unsealed the bidding for a seat aboard its suborbital space system. The current high bid is $2.6 million.

Why it matters: The Jeff Bezos-founded space company hasn't yet revealed a price per seat for rides aboard its New Shepard system, but this auction could help clarify demand in the market for these types of rides to the edge of space.