The International Space Station is upgrading its timepiece. An atomic clock constructed by EADS Astrium will arrive at the ISS in 2014, providing the most accurate timekeeping to date in space, better synchronization of clocks on Earth, and the opportunity to learn a few things about time itself.
The space power race is on. Japan announced a plan
in September to put a small solar-power-harvesting demo satellite into orbit by 2015 that will beam energy back to earth via microwaves. Now Europe’s biggest space company, EADS Astrium, is vowing to put its own solar-collecting demonstration satellite into orbit on a tighter timeframe--by decade’s end.
Energy shields haven't arrived just yet, but this magnetic heat shield could do nicely in the meantime. European researchers have created a magnetic field technology that can protect spacecraft from fiery atmospheric temperatures during reentry, and perhaps cut back on the need for traditional heat shields.
NASA astronauts Edward Lu and Stanley Love first proposed using a robotic spacecraft to nudge space rocks away from Earth using the gentle force of gravity a few years ago. Now a European aerospace giant has begun seriously investigating the concept.