Using a really big gun to launch stuff into space has so far not been the most practical of ideas. A new concept explores the idea of building a cannon in the middle of the ocean, loading it with a thousand tons of cargo, and then launching the payload into orbit using an underwater thermonuclear detonation.
The jury's still out on NASA handing over the reins to private companies to lead us into space, but SpaceX, one of said companies, just launched its first spaceship into orbit with the intent of bringing it back safely. In fact, it's the first time a private spaceflight company has ever done this — bringing it back being the important thing.
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B unmanned spacecraft set a quiet record for the U.S. space program, touching down on a runway using only its own autopilot after seven months in space. It marks the first time we've done it — though believe it or not we're over 20 years late to the party.
In the future, stores won't exist anymore as you'll be able to print everything from clothes to food right at home using a 3D printer. Just download a recipe or a pattern, hit print, and in a few minutes you'll have a fresh copy of whatever it is that you need. We're not quite there yet, but we're close, and here are 14 things that you probably didn't think were possible to print out for yourself.
NASA has a big press conference planned for Thursday, and it's centered around "astrobiology." Have they discovered extraterrestrial life?
There's a lotta junk in space, and figuring out how to remove it all has been a popular topic in the space community. Here's a new idea out of Russia: sink $2 billion into a roaming, pod-shaped craft that'll safely dispose of 600 dead satellites.
Everybody poops. Even astronauts. And when you live in a couple metal boxes 200 miles above the Earth, poop can be a real problem. The UN is launching a satellite full of excrement-eating bacteria that'll do some pooping of their own, powering a fuel cell as they go.
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson is gazing down at Earth from the International Space Station. Positioned about 217 miles above our planet, the ISS orbits Earth once every 90 or so minutes. She looks pretty contemplative during this (probably) rare moment...
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory has spotted the youngest black hole ever observed. It's a wild thought, but in a universe built on astronomical timescales, this little guy might be younger than you.
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....