For a long time, it's been thought that the largest a star can physically get is 150 solar units, or 150 times more massive than our sun. That was before we discovered R136a1, a star nearly 300 solar units large. What the heck is going on?
For years we've designed structures that would allow us to live on either the Moon or Mars. Would they be inflatable? Would they be domes? Apparently, they wouldn't be either — a network of caves could exist on both celestial bodies that would allow us to move in.
Gadgets are a hot commodity these days, with everyone owning at least one computer and one cellphone, not to mention things like iPads, video game systems and other such devices. But all of them require platinum, an extremely rare metal. And you know where platinum is plentiful? In asteroids.
A gamma-ray burst from a star that collapsed to form a black hole long before our sun and planets formed overwhelmed NASA's orbiting Swift observatory, temporarily blinding it. The explosion from the flare-up, known as GRB 100621A, reached Earth on June 21, and its light was 140 times brighter than the brightest steady source of X-rays, a neutron star 500,000 times closer to Earth.
If the scientists at the German Aerospace Center have their way, our future space station homes in Earth orbit will likely be built by humanoid robots like Justin, the cutest telepresence robot you've ever seen.
What does it look like when you blow up a nuke in space? It's only happened once, in 1962, but newly declassified images shows exactly what happened.
It's the kind of story that every kid dreams up: a school project turns out to be a secret mission from an agency such as NASA, and all of a sudden it's up to the youngster to solve it. That's exactly how it played out for three high school students in Massachusetts, who, it turns out, were helping NASA solve quite the conundrum.
The Ikaros, launched back on May 21st, is safely in orbit and today Japan's space agency reports that the craft's solar sails are fully extended. The Ikaros's claim to fame is that it'll use only the sun to propel itself and continuously generate power, making it an ideal candidate for deep space missions.
Uh oh. "The Sun is waking up from a deep slumber," NASA 's Richard Fisher says. It looks like old Sol is going to be in a cranky mood when it becomes fully awake, ready to wreak havoc on gadgets across the globe. Could this be the 2012 disaster superstitious fraidy-cats are babbling about?
Bigelow Aerospace is looking to get in on this whole privatized space game with an ambitious plan. The company wants to have not one but two space stations in orbit by 2016, which will then serve as rental space for countries that can't afford such programs of their own. This is why private companies may be better than NASA in space: they aim to turn a profit.