NASA wants to skip the rockets and develop a hypersonic space plane that can take off from a runway here on Earth and fly straight to Mars....
It's a crazy thought, but the world's only manned space station right now — one built by the sweat of countries all the world over — is celebrating ten years of being continuously inhabited by a crew. In fact, this very day marks that milestone, and to celebrate, we've scrounged up 25 of the coolest images showing what it's like to live in orbit.
We don't often think of the Sun's solar flares as a looming threat, but increased activity can wreak havoc our communications, electronics and even our power grid. With mounting worries that a massive flare could be in our immediate future, NASA is working on a plan that could keep us up and running.
The genius lads and ladies over at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been so kind as to set up a webcam in their state-of-the-art clean room, the very same one where they're assembling the Curiosity Mars rover. Tonight? They're working...
Last year, NASA blasted a hole in the moon looking for water. Some water sprayed up, but just how much hasn't been known until now. Turns out, it was 41 gallons, way more than anyone was expecting.
In early 2010, NASA took this gorgeous shot of Houston, Texas. Captured at night from the international space station, this image "depicts the roughly 100 kilometers (approximately 62 miles) east-west extent of the Houston metropolitan area."
Put away the mothballs! President Obama has signed the bi-partisan NASA reauthorization bill into law, charting a new direction for the space agency over the next few years. In addition to setting long-term goals for human exploration of both Mars and asteriods, the new plan extends the life of the Space Shuttle by at least one flight.
Up until now, NASA's only sent slow-moving rovers and stationery landers to the surface of Mars. So here's the new plan: a rocket-powered, robotic plane that would soar a mile over the Martian landscape at 450 miles per hour, exposing hundreds of miles of unexplored country.
There's only one Space Shuttle launch left, which lends significance to nearly every part of the process of getting it ready. Including lifting up the external tank that contains all of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that powers the three main space shuttle engines during liftoff.
Exploring distant worlds is a slow, tricky business. Right now, rovers and landers are our best bet, but both suffer from the same shortfall: low mobility. A new class of exploratory craft that hops could accomplish in a few days what it's taken rovers years.