For a few years now, we’ve been excited about the possibility of a cable-based space elevator as an alternative to expensive rocket launchers. To date, though, the various attempts to make it happen–including annual contests and Japan’s recent initiative–have come up short. The problem? Space elevators have one major hang-up: most designs call for braided cords of extremely strong nanotubes, which unfortunately don't exist yet.
Japan's Kaguya lunar surveyor craft has sent back fresh HD clips as its orbit slowly degrades, bringing it closer than ever to the surface. In two days it will crash-land, bringing its mission to an end, but until then, it's keeping the ultra-crisp, almost surreal lunar footage coming.
Who do you trust with your thirst mutilating needs, an athlete or a rocket scientist? Well, NASA is hoping that you're sick of watching basketball players hock sports drinks. Instead, they're hoping you'll turn to their new product, The Right Stuff, for all your extreme hydration needs. It's got what astronauts crave.
Doesn't it seem that all movies and television shows suggest that space will one day be populated by nothing but dashingly lithe men and buxom women? Well there's a reason it's called science fiction, because extended space travel could actually leave astronauts a gross, bloated, unattractive mess. Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnel projects that long-term exposure to zero gravity has the potential to ravage your looks in the most unappealing ways.
Of all the subatomic particles that make up matter, neutrinos are the smallest. So small, in fact, that a billion neutrinos pass through your body every second without hitting a single atom. However, a new study postulates that some ancient neutrinos, born shortly after the Big Bang, may now be as large as some galaxies.
When humans eventually live on the moon and Mars, the discomforts of eating freeze-dried food and drinking our own urine will hardly be our only space nuisances. Apparently, our feet will tingle, we'll get headaches and toothaches, our eyes will be runny, and we'll have chronically stuffy noses.
Scientists have a pretty good notion of what will happen to your body when you're walking on the moon or traveling gravity-free for two years en route to Mars -- thanks to a cadre of bed-ridden test subjects.
Since January 20th, NASA has been flying without a pilot. Now, President Obama has appointed former Marine General and Space Shuttle pilot Charles Bolden, Jr. to grab the rudder and take right the craft.
Bolden inherits a tough job. With the impending end of the Space Shuttle program, no successor space craft available for a number of years, budget constraints, a debate over the future of manned flights to the moon and Mars, and a general apathy in the public about space flight, Bolden may be in for a rocky ride to rival his trips over Vietnam and into space.
Filming an IMAX 3D feature about NASA's last manned mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope created challenges that even Christopher Nolan's crew never faced on the set of "The Dark Knight." Using only eight minutes of film, astronauts had to capture the essence of five long spacewalks using a custom-made IMAX camera as big as a submarine. Thankfully, IMAX director and producer Toni Myers was there to help.
Earlier today, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis released the Hubble Space Telescope back into orbit after a successful mission to repair and upgrade NASA's famous orbiting observatory.
The mission was intensive, especially considering almost all of the repairs that were performed during a series of TK spacewalks were on parts that were never intended to be serviced by astronauts in space. Equally intense (and beautiful) are the 180 tools NASA employed for the job--with 116 of them created specifically for this mission.
On Tuesday, a Hubble astronaut posted on the micro-blogging site from the great beyond. Stay tuned -- @Astro_Mike likes to update. Coming soon, we hope, @PopSci goes to space.
Also in today's links: robots ask for help and make art, spacing out is good for you, and more.