How science fiction inspires the future

How science fiction inspires the future

The central message of Tomorrowland is that optimism about science and its role in the future is preferable to the fashionable despair of dystopia and destruction. And what better symbol of American scientific progress and idealism than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)? While much of Tomorrowland is concerned with the more pulpy and outlandish… (more…)

Design and build a 3D-printed space habitat, win $2.25M

Design and build a 3D-printed space habitat, win $2.25M

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel “Red Mars,” the first human colonists to arrive on the red planet use bricks made of indigenous materials to construct their habitats, presenting a solution to what has, in recent years, become an intractable problem insofar as establishing extraterrestrial colonies is concerned. With recent advances in 3D-printing, the idea of using… (more…)

International Space Station orbit fixed on second try

International Space Station orbit fixed on second try

For three astronauts aboard the International Space Station, coming back to earth just got a little easier. A second attempt to adjust the ISS orbit was completed Sunday, following a failed attempt Saturday by Russia's space agency, Sputnik International reported. The earlier try to correct the orbit sputtered after the engines on a cargo spacecraft docked… (more…)

The psychological effects of a year in space

The psychological effects of a year in space

On March 27, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko were launched into space, embarking on a mission at the International Space Station that will assess how a year in zero-gravity affects the human body. Scientists have already established that spending four to six months — the average duration of these expeditions — can… (more…)

'Science guy' backs solar space travel

‘Science guy’ backs solar space travel

Bill Nye, beloved Science Guy and popular proponent of all things educational, is trying to raise money to fund a LightSail mission to space. The project, starting with a test flight next week followed by a complete launch in 2016, involves a “solar sail” spacecraft uses the sun's radiation for propulsion. Nye is now the CEO… (more…)

Curtains, not discrete geysers, erupt on Enceladus

Curtains, not discrete geysers, erupt on Enceladus

Phantom jets on Enceladus in simulated images produced by scientists line up perfectly with some of the features seen in real Cassini images. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SSI / PSI In 2005, NASA’s Cassini-Huygens spacecraft found evidence of an icy spray issuing from the southern polar region of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus. Now, just two months after scientists confirmed the presence of hydrothermal activity on the moon, researchers have claimed that the eruption...

Mercury's magnetic field is ancient

Mercury’s magnetic field is ancient

Messenger’s four-year mission at Mercury ended last week when the NASA spacecraft was deliberately crashed on the surface of the planet. Now, the treasure trove of data gathered by the spacecraft before its demise is helping scientists answer questions about the solar system’s innermost planet in unprecedented detail. Based on magnetic field measurements taken by the… (more…)

Will massive solar flare affect Earth?

Will massive solar flare affect Earth?

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured these images of a solar flare May 5, 2015. Each image shows a different wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights a different temperature of material on the sun. Image Credit: NASA / SDO / Wiessinger The sun popped off a powerful solar flare this week, its biggest burst in 2015 and one that temporarily knocked out radio communications in the Pacific region, according to NASA. It was an intense...

In case you're in space, watch out for brain injury

In case you’re in space, watch out for brain injury

A recent study may have thrown a serious wrench into potential space travel aspirations. Apparently, all those cosmic rays are seriously hazardous to brain health and can cause permanent cognition impairments. As NASA plans to send astronauts on a long-term journey to Mars as early as the 2030s, this is a factor that astronauts will need… (more…)

Rare pulsar-neutron star system detected

Rare pulsar-neutron star system detected

An artist's impression of pulsar PSR J1930-1852 shown in orbit around a companion neutron star. Discovered by a team of high school students, this pulsar has the widest orbit ever observed around another neutron star. Image Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO / AUI / NSF A team of astronomers has confirmed that a pulsar discovered in 2012 by a group of high-school students is, in fact, part of an extremely rare binary system. This newly-discovered pulsar...