Could This be the Start of a New Space Shuttle?

All is not lost for the space shuttle idea. Richard Branson is thinking big again and along with orbital sciences Corp, Sierra Nevada Corp and some others they may build a reusable taxi to space just like the space shuttle. NASA will find $200 million to help with the development. When the last shuttle goes [...]


Where Should We Look for Alien Artefacts?

There is a problem with our approach at the moment when looking for alien civilisations. SETI looks for signals that are sent by the electromagnetic spectrum and their are a lot of frequencies to search. If you pair this with the size of the universe you can see how SETI is really looking for a [...]


Preventing Contamination from Reaching Planetary Bodies and from Contaminating the Earth

We have been looking for alien life elsewhere in the universe for quite awhile now. Mars has been the main focus of attention and it looks like in the future Europa and Titan will also attract a lot of attention. But how do we know that what we have found is alien life and that [...]


Viking’s Search For Life on Mars Leaves Echos

The first mission to Mars that was to make a successful landing consisted of Viking 1 and Viking 2. It was an exciting mission with the orbiter picking landing spots for the lander to make a landing. Both spacecraft launched in 1975. They both made a successful landing and have lasted for about six years [...]


Commercial Rocket Falcon 9 Launches from Cape Canaveral into Orbit

Falcon 9 built by SpaceX reached orbit on Friday. This commercial venture is hoped by NASA to replace the government rockets that are presently taking satellites etc into orbit. Commercialisation of space was put forward as a major aim by the United States when president Obama came into power. This is one of those small [...]


The New Horizons Spacecraft Halfway to Pluto

The new Horizons spacecraft was launched in 2006 for a trip to Pluto and beyond. Unfortunately for this mission there is a little controversy about Pluto as you probably know. Pluto, to put a long story short, has been deemed a dwarf planet by the IAU and this doesn’t really suit the image that NASA [...]


Kuiper Belt Discovery, Classification, Shape and Size.

The Kuiper belt is a region beyond Neptune that is full of comets, asteroids and other debris. It circles the solar system and has always been a little bit of a mystery as it is so far away and hard to explore. The inkling that the Kuiper belt existed first came from Kuiper and a [...]


Best of the Week Podcast-Giant Ribbon at the Edge of the Solar System: Mystery Solved?

Last year, when NASA’s IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft discovered a giant ribbon at the edge of the solar system, researchers were mystified. They called it a “shocking result” and puzzled over its origin. Now the mystery may have been solved. [podcast] ribbon.mp3[/podcast]


Moving the Earth Out Of the Way of That Big Bad Sun

I have always wanted to fly around in a spaceship seeing lots of lovely stars and planets and other curious beautiful things that exist out there. To stop getting too frustrated, I have looked on the Earth as a sort of spaceship travelling around giving everyone an eye on the universe. This is okay until [...]


Want To Go To The Stars? Hop On Board One Of These Spacecraft…

What is the best way to get to the stars? Catching a bus or the tube probably won’t make it but catching the space shuttle will. Unfortunately, there is a small problem in that it will take around 170,000 years. When you arrived there would be nothing there, as the star would have moved. You [...]


Is Humanity a Spacefaring Race.?

We’re destined to go to the stars. That’s the assumption we’ve been making for a century, and I daresay most readers believe this as surely as they believe we’ll eventually cure dandruff. Our anticipation of an interstellar destiny is not merely the consequence of too many couch-hours spent watching Spandex-suited astronauts in Star Trek, Star [...]


Square Planets

Looking at the universe I have always thought it odd that planets were round and not some other shape. To make a sphere on earth isn’t really that easy.  I can’t say that I have tried it  But just trying to get a lump of plasticine into a sphere with your hands is almost impossible. On [...]