Commercial space ventures are taking off and opening up space like never before. With its culture of risk and game-changing startups, Silicon Valley is playing a starring role in many of these new space companies. But risks and costs emerge with the increasing privatization of space.
There's been a great deal of anticipation surrounding Comet ISON—and a great deal of debate about whether it will become a Comet of the Century, or fizzle out like so many other comets of the century have in the past. ISON is now visible in binoculars, which may bode well for a good sky show in the coming weeks.
Every 11 years, the magnetic field of the sun changes its polarity (in fact, this may already be happening) sending a ripple of changing current out way past Pluto, to the outer reaches of the heliosphere. This solar "flip" is happening now.
The Chelyabinsk meteor was a 65-foot hunk of space rock that entered the Earth's atmosphere at about 12 miles per second before exploding with a force equal to 600,000 tons of TNT, enough to level buildings and send 1,200 people to local hospitals.
A NASA scientist sums it up: “If we ever get star travel, we’ll probably see a lot of traffic jams.”
Over centuries of observing the planet Jupiter, we have but scratched the surface of the deep mysteries held secret beneath its thick clouds. Now NASA's Juno probe, currently en route to the king of planets, is preparing to pierce the veil of Jupiter's mystery and give us a peek inside.
Maybe a week before it passes closest to the sun, the dark side of Comet ISON is expected to begin turning into the sunlight. The sudden exposure to the intense radiation could cause a strong outburst of gases into the coma--like a celestial popcorn kernel suddenly bursting.
NASA's "Engineer with a Mohawk" has become a pop culture phenom (62,000 Twitter followers isn't too shabby). But under that comb beats the heart of a true explorer, as we found when he dropped by for a visit.
NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has raised some eyebrows by something it has not detected: methane. And, much farther out, the Cassini spacecraft has made a positive detection of plastic in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.
The moon often seems like an ancient relic of space exploration, that dusty, dry, airless ball of rock and soil that we visited decades ago and have since left alone—possibly because we found nothing there but dust, rock, and soil? Not so fast. Exploration in the past few years has revealed aspects of the moon that contradict what we were taught in school.
A comet named ISON has been hailed as a possible "comet of the century." But scientists aren't sure yet if it will survive a hairpin turn around the sun.
In 1972, an Apollo 17 astronaut glimpsed a strange phenomenon of streaming light from the window of the command module as it orbited the dark side of the moon. Now, a new NASA mission aims to discover what caused that phenomenon, and whether it could be a hazard for future lunar landings.
If you think the list of achievements of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is impressive, consider that its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, will sport a mirror 21 feet across, with more than 20 times the light-collecting capability of its predecessor!
UC Davis is acquiring a chunk of meteorite that landed in Northern California last year. The meteorite's age makes it rare and valuable. It contains dust from ancient stars that exploded, the same stuff that eventually formed our solar system.
It's time to enjoy the annual Perseid meteors, the Old Faithful of meteor showers that lights up the August night and thoroughly delights those sleepy souls willing to stay up past midnight for one of nature's original fireworks shows.
The science of earthquake prediction is fraught with the human tendency to seek conclusions beyond the reach of the data. In this setting, even the fruitless hypothesis of sunspots is seductive.
On July 19, NASA's Cassini probe captured a picture of the Earth and Moon, offering us a perspective of all of humanity on one tiny dot in space, and a reminder that Cassini is still out there exploring the distant reaches of the Solar System.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its high-powered HiRISE camera has been capturing extremely detailed pictures all over the surface of Mars for a few years now. MRO now reveals a number of surprising, curious, and often captivating landscape features, many of which have inferred the action of dynamic weather processes on Mars.