This is Part 3 of a four-part series on Elon Musk’s companies. For an explanation of why this series is happening and how Musk is involved, start with Part 1. Pre-Post Note: I started working on this post ten weeks ago. When I started, I never intended for it to become such an ordeal.
Explanation: Where did all these high energy positrons come from? The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) onboard the International Space Station (ISS) has been meticulously recording how often it is struck by both high energy electrons and positrons since 2011.
Explanation: Hot, young stars and cosmic pillars of gas and dust seem to crowd into NGC 7822. At the edge of a giant molecular cloud toward the northern constellation Cepheus, this glowing star forming region lies about 3,000 light-years away.
February 1, 2016: One of the most tragic events in the history of space exploration is the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and all seven of its crew on February 1, 2003—a tragedy made worse because it didn’t have to happen.
There’s a terrible power to the iconic pictures of the space shuttle Challenger exploding — the orange-white fireball in the Florida sky, with the twin contrails of the solid rocket boosters briefly continuing on their journey to nowhere. It’s been 30 years since that awful morning on Jan.
Spearheading the sustainable energy movement. Attempting to solve rush hour traffic. Exploring the unknown regions of outer space. Responding to fans (and critics) on social media. To say billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is keeping busy would surely be an understatement.
This is my lunar acre. There are many like it, billions, but this one is mine. At least, it could be for a modest fee: a steal at $19.95 through Cosmic Registry, $19.99 through Lunar Embassy, or ‘prices to fit any budget’ through Lunar Registry, depending on the quality of the neighbourhood.
Explanation: The first to orbit Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft came to rest on this region of Mercury's surface yesterday. Constructed from MESSENGER image and laser altimeter data, the scene looks north over the northeastern rim of the broad, lava filled Shakespeare basin.
Ernst Stuhlinger wrote this letter on May 6, 1970, to Sister Mary Jucunda, a nun who worked among the starving children of Kabwe, Zambia, in Africa, who questioned the value of space exploration. At the time Dr.
Explanation: How was this picture taken? Usually, pictures of the shuttle, taken from space, are snapped from the space station. Commonly, pictures of the space station are snapped from the shuttle.
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Explanation: Ghosts aren't actually hovering over the James Webb Space Telescope.
Humanity began in Africa. But we didn’t stay there, not all of us—over thousands of years our ancestors walked all over the continent, then out of it. And when they came to the sea, they built boats and sailed tremendous distances to islands they could not have known were there. Why?
a rocket launched toward Mars. It was India’s first interplanetary mission, Mangalyaan, and a terrific gamble. Only 40 percent of missions sent to Mars by major space organizations—NASA, Russia’s, Japan’s, or China’s—had ever been a success.
On a drizzly afternoon in April, Prince Guillaume, the hereditary grand duke of Luxembourg, and his wife, Princess Stéphanie, sailed through the front doors of an office building in the outskirts of Seattle and into the headquarters of an asteroid-mining startup called Planetary Resources, wh
You never see it in those lovely NASA pictures of Earth, but the space surrounding our pale blue dot is a cosmic junkyard. Debris abounds, moving at ludicrous speeds and presenting plenty of hassles for satellite operators who do business in orbit.
With 2015 now behind us, what truly stands out? Other than (alas) holding the record for hottest year in recorded history? Amid a confusion of good, bad, and disturbing news, what I find noteworthy is that 2015 was by far humanity’s best year in space—exploring the universe around us.
Hundreds of you sent in questions for Skunk Bear's live conversation with three astronauts and NASA's chief scientist on Tuesday. Thanks! The most common question was: "What happens when you get your period in space?" But since people were genuinely curious, I decided to answer it here.
This story has been corrected. The Space Exploration Technology rocket factory is a large, white hangar-like building near Los Angeles international airport, with a parking lot filled with late-model motorcycles and Tesla electric cars.
There’s no way to anticipate the emotional impact of leaving your home planet. You look down at Earth and realize: You’re not on it. It’s breathtaking. It’s surreal. It’s a “we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” kind of feeling.
The Liberian flag is easy to mistake for the U.S. flag. There’s the red, white and blue. There’s the stripes. The only difference is that the Liberian flag features one star in the upper left corner, instead of 50 — a legacy of the coastal West African country’s origins as a U.S. colony.
When Josh was 10 years old, he sat cross-legged on the floor in his parent’s neat, suburban home in Australia, enraptured. It was May 1996 and Andy Thomas had just stepped out of the space shuttle Endeavour and onto the tarmac of Runway 33 of the Kennedy Space Center.
Explanation: What are those specks in front of the Moon? They are silhouettes of the International Space Station (ISS). Using careful planning and split-second timing, a meticulous lunar photographer captured ten images of the ISS passing in front of last month's full moon.
IT MAY turn out to be a bare and barren rock. The fact that liquid water could be flowing across the surface of the planet just discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun, does not mean that any actually is—nor for that matter that it has an atmosphere.
Russian photographer and urban explorer Ralph Mirebs just published one of the saddest photoseries on space exploration.
An exploration of life aboard the International Space Station, and the surprising reasons the mission is still worthwhile When humans move to space, we are the aliens, the extraterrestrials. And so, living in space, the oddness never quite goes away. Consider something as elemental as sleep.
Who knows about sleep? Astronauts. They have to. Their bodies are cut off from many of the normal external cues that remind us what time it is.
Node-3 Tranquillity provides life-support for the International Space Station. Part of Tranquility is ESA's Cupola observation module, a seven-window dome-shaped structure from where the Space Station's robotic arm, Canadarm 2, is operated as it offers a panoramic view of space and Earth.
Elon Musk laid out his plan to colonize Mars at a conference on Tuesday, but it was during the Q&A session that a woman asked one of the key questions: who will be chosen to embark on a risky trip to colonize a harsh planet? The SpaceX CEO had two answers to this line of questioning.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — From Launch Complex 17 here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, many of NASA’s robotic planetary missions blasted off. Soon, the two massive towers that once cradled Delta 2 rockets will be torn down.
When NPR reported Bob Ebeling's story on the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, hundreds of listeners and readers expressed distress and sympathy in letters and emails. On Jan.
We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the Moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a Moon mission.
Barack Obama is President of the United States. (CNN)One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii. This was years before we'd set foot on the moon. Decades before we'd land a rover on Mars.
Space suits are cool — and complicated. Earlier this week, my colleague Loren Grush launched her new series Space Craft by seeing what wearing one is like. The answer? Exhausting.
I'm sitting at the head of my dining room table at home in Houston, Texas, finishing dinner with my family: my longtime girlfriend Amiko, my twin brother Mark, his wife, former US congresswoman Gabby Giffords, his daughter Claudia, our father Richie and my daughters Samantha and Charlotte.
It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole.
The Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle program stands as one of the saddest episodes in aerospace history. After NASA began working on its space shuttle program in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union conceived of its own orbiter program, the eerily similar looking Buran shuttle.
You love space gifs. Your weird engineering buddy loves space gifs.
In Florida, at the Kennedy Space Center, Molly White is cheering with her sister.
On January 28, 1986, America watched on television as the space shuttle Challenger—carrying six astronauts and one schoolteacher—disappeared in a twisting cloud of smoke, nine miles above the launch pad it had just left. To a stunned nation, it appeared that seven lives had instantly been lost.
Fifty years ago today, the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom opened a treaty for signature that would become the backbone for international space law.
India's space programme has succeeded at the first attempt where others have failed - by sending an operational mission to Mars. The Mangalyaan satellite was confirmed to be in orbit shortly after 0800, Indian time. It is, without doubt, a considerable achievement.
NASA will try again on Saturday morning to inflate a new room for the International Space Station. During the first attempt on Thursday to pump air into the module known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or Beam, the bulbous, balloon-like structure did not expand as much as expected.
The story behind NASA's brief embrace of extraterrestrial sherry is a curious one. In the early seventies, the agency's focus was shifting from short, Moon-focused missions to the possibility of longer-term inhabitation of space.
Space. It’s a funny thing. Kubrick knew that.
Explanation: Like salsa verde on your favorite burrito, a green aurora slathers up the sky in this June 25 snapshot from the International Space Station. About 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays.
Ralph Mirebs, an urban explorer and photographer in Russia, has revealed extraordinary photos of Soviet space shuttle prototypes gathering dust in an abandoned hangar in Kazakhstan.
WASHINGTON — Jeff Bezos, the billionaire chief executive of Amazon, founded a rocket company as a hobby 16 years ago. Now that company, Blue Origin, finally has its first paying customer as it ramps up to become a full-fledged business. Mr.
Explanation: What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy -- spinning, creating stars -- and minding its own business.
I'd honestly never heard this stat before, and it's pretty amazing how well they tightly fit together. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,400 km. And check it out, that leaves us with 4,392 km to spare.
Halfway through the European Space Agency's new film, we're at the part where — if this were some happy space documentary from yesteryear — Carl Sagan might be giving us a tour of a distant galaxy. But it's 2017, Sagan is dead, and this is a film about space trash.
One by one they flickered to life. Venus, first, in 1962, and two and a half years later, Mars. Our spacecraft flew by those planets, orbited them, and became manmade meteors streaking toward the first soil we couldn’t generically call "earth.