All Space stories

Iron rain on an alien world

Artist's illustration of the iron rain. Photo: ESO/M. Kornmesser

A telescope in Chile has found a world 640 light-years from Earth that rains liquid iron, adding to the strange tapestry of planets far from our own.

Why it matters: The more that scientists understand about planets circling other stars, the closer they get to finding out just how unique (or common) our solar system — and therefore life — is.

Go deeperArrowMar 17, 2020 - Science

Europe, Russia delay Mars mission to 2022

Artist's illustration of the rover on Mars. Photo: ESA/ATG medialab

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos announced on Thursday that their joint ExoMars mission expected to launch this year is now delayed to 2022.

The big picture: The decision to postpone the mission was made due to technical issues around the spacecraft's development and possible travel restrictions resulting from the unfolding novel coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - Science

Curiosity rover captures a Martian panorama

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The hiking on Mars must be pretty sweet. A new panoramic image taken by NASA's Curiosity shows the mountains of the Red Planet in all their glory.

Why it matters: The 1.8-billion-pixel panorama is the highest-resolution photo of its kind taken by Curiosity so far.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Science

Voyager 2 to lose contact with Earth until 2021

Artist's illustration of Voyager 2 in space. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Voyager 2 — one of the farthest-flung spacecraft ever built — won't be able to receive commands from Earth until 2021.

Why it matters: If something goes wrong with the spacecraft in the next 11 months, it could mark the end of the long, iconic mission that is now exploring interstellar space, 11.5 billion miles from Earth.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Science

Space startups raised $5.7 billion in financing in 2019

A SpaceX rocket launch timelapse. Photo: SpaceX

Space-focused startups raked in $5.7 billion in financing in 2019, far surpassing the $3.5 billion raised in 2018, according to a new report from Bryce Space and Technology.

Why it matters: The report and others like it show investors still see the industry — buoyed by investor interest and new international companies — as ripe for investment.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Science

Astronomy's continuing harassment problem

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Astronomy is still dealing with its own sexual harassment reckoning that came two years before the #MeToo movement swept through the entertainment industry.

Why it matters: Harassment, bias and discrimination lead to the underrepresentation of women — and particularly women of color, women with disabilities and LGBTQ+ women — in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Science

Axiom and SpaceX plan to launch private crew to International Space Station

Artist's illustration of Axiom Space's private space station. Photo: Axiom Space

Axiom Space, a company aiming to operate the first commercial space station in orbit, is planning to fly a crew of private citizens to the International Space Station (ISS) as early as next year using SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as NASA is working to expand commercial operations on the space station. These kinds of space tourism flights are expected to be a big part of that.

Go deeperArrowMar 6, 2020 - Science

NASA's next Mars rover is named Perseverance

Artist's illustration of the Perseverance rover on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's next Mars rover, expected to launch to the Red Planet in July, is officially named Perseverance.

The big picture: Once on Mars, the mission is designed to search out possible signs of past life on the planet and cache samples for a future mission to return back to Earth one day.

Go deeperArrowMar 5, 2020 - Science

NASA spacecraft snaps a fortuitous shot of a black hole 30,000 light-years away

Gif: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/MIT/Harvard

Sometimes the best photos are taken by accident. NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was exploring an asteroid not far from Earth when it unexpectedly caught sight of a black hole 30,000 light-years away.

What they found: OSIRIS-REx detected the black hole using an instrument designed to measure the effect solar particles are having on its target asteroid, Bennu.

Go deeperArrowMar 3, 2020 - Science

Applications are now open to become a NASA astronaut

Photo: NASA

Applications are now open for every fifth grader's dream job: NASA astronaut.

Why it matters: The space agency doesn't put out a call for new astronauts unless they have a need to fill.

Go deeperArrowMar 3, 2020 - Science