Last time a Google Nexus S smartphone and a Panasonic 3D video camera were sent up to the ISS along with the Atlantis' final journey, but this time, two iPads and a red Angry Bird plush toy are making the journey into outer space. Why?
Launching satellites into space is really, really expensive. We're talking upwards of $10,000 per pound to geosynchronous orbit. DARPA is looking to make the deployment of new satellites much cheaper, by simply recycling the satellites that are up there already using an unmanned platform that can harvest them for parts.
NASA is planning to test out the feasibility of space travel via solar sails by putting the largest one ever constructed into space.
Want proof that we're living in the future? How about this: as of yesterday, there's now a commercial spaceport with a fancy new passenger terminal open for business in New Mexico that'll give anyone who can afford it rides into space.
In the terrifying event that astronauts finds themselves floating away from their space station, there's not a lot they can do. But some scientists are hoping to develop tractor beams, that old sci-fi mainstay, as a way to make sure they can make it back.
In August of 1883, an astronomer in Mexico named José Bonilla spotted hundreds of fuzzy objects passing in front of the sun that nobody could explain. A new analysis of these observations suggests that what Bonilla saw was anywhere from a billion to a trillion tons of comet passing as close as a few hundred miles from the surface of the Earth.
Today is day 2,816 of Opportunity's 90 day mission to Mars. If you do the math, it means that we've been surprised by how awesome this robot is doing about 30 times over. It's traveled a staggering 20 miles over the last six or seven years, and JPL has put together this time-lapse of a three-year, 13-mile section of that journey.
That mysterious robotic spaceship that the U.S. Air Force sent into orbit for seven straight months last year may get a bit of an upgrade. Boeing is toying with the idea of expanding the X-37B into the X-37C, which could carry up to six astronauts into space and back. We could be looking at the next generation of space shuttle.
Uranus isn't just gassy, it's also tilted completely sideways, such that instead of rotating like a spinning top, it rolls around the plane of the solar system more like a giant ball. Now astronomers think they know how this happened, and it means that Uranus has been pounded really, really hard not once, but twice.
Think being part of the mile high club sounds exciting? Imagine joining the 62-mile high club (technically at that altitude, you're in space). James Bond definitely qualified for having a climatic congress with Holly Goodhead in the 1979 film Moonraker. But in reality just how enjoyable, or realistic, is sex in space?