A small Earth-orbiting probe has sampled the interstellar wind for the first time, detecting four types of atoms that originated in distant stars and traveled across the universe. The new measurements from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer give astronomers a glimpse of the cosmos outside our sun’s sphere of influence, and provide some clues about how and where our solar system formed.
Days before Phobos-Grunt reenters the atmosphere, a new video captures the failed Mars probe traveling backward above the Earth. Its solar panels face away from the sun and there’s no sign of it tumbling, which most spacecraft are designed to do to maintain stability.
Strong winds in the upper atmosphere forced NASA to scrub Thursday's planned launch of its newest moon mission. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory is now set to lift off at 8:33 a.m. EDT or 9:12 a.m. PDT Saturday — but the weather is still not cooperating.
This is the best job perk we’ve seen in some time: Work for Boeing, go to space.
The aerospace firm is planning to send its own employees to the International Space Station on the first crewed mission of its CST-100 ship, the company said Friday. Apparently internal interviews are already ongoing, because Boeing wants its astronauts to help drive further development of the space capsule.
Exploring the final frontiers requires a delicate balancing act between competing engineering needs. To probe the mysteries of inhospitable places, from ocean trenches to the blistering atmosphere of the sun, scientific instruments must be tough yet ultra-sensitive — they have to survive their environments but remain exposed just enough to do their jobs. Balancing protection and intentional vulnerability can be a major challenge. A NASA spacecraft launching this morning marks a new leap forward in meeting this balance.
The beautiful final landing we watched yesterday was a last in more ways than one — with the exception of a couple tourist space planes, next-generation spacecraft will not land on runways. Instead they’ll splash down in the ocean a la Apollo, Mercury and Gemini.
NASA just completed building a million-gallon pool to test these splashes, and managers have been dunking a test model of the space agency’s next crew vehicle.
Both NASA and the ESA can see the decommissioning of their current spacecrafts on the horizon, but a new collaboration between the two could see a jointly designed U.S.-European spacecraft akin to the current ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) later this decade.
In the last century, Russia and the United States engaged competitively in both a space race and a nuclear technology race. In this century, it appears the two are considering collaborating in turning the fruits of those Cold War showdowns into workable technology that could expand spaceflight operations beyond Earth orbit. On April 15, Russia and NASA (and a handful of other “nuclear club” countries) will convene to talk about building a next-gen, nuclear powered spaceship.