Articles on Space

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What do we know about how the moon was created? EPA/Ali Ali

Crash – a-ah! Our moon has a history of violence

The more we learn about the formation and evolution of our solar system, the more we realise it was far from a sedate, gentle process. Everywhere we look we find evidence the final stages of planetary…
The moon in total lunar eclipse as seen over Sydney in 2011. AAP/Sydney Observatory

I see the moon: introducing our nearest neighbour

The moon. Our nearest neighbour. The main source of the ocean’s tides, and a beacon that drives the lives of animals across the globe. And also, to date, the only object beyond Earth on which humans have…
How is the spin of black holes measured, and what can it tell us about our universe? NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Cutting through the spin on supermassive black holes

Astronomers have measured the spin of a black hole buried in the heart of a galaxy located 56 million light years away, and discovered it was spinning quickly – about as quickly as it could go. That was…
Observations from NASA’s Van Allen Probes have revealed that a third radiation belt can sometimes appear above Earth. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA discovers a new radiation belt around Earth

NASA revealed this morning (AEST) that its Van Allen Probes have discovered a third, previously unknown, radiation belt around Earth. The belt appears to be transient, depending strongly on solar activity…
Scientists need a material that behaves like moon soil to conduct experiments that may one day lead to lunar mining. http://www.flickr.com/photos/almekinders

Moon mining a step closer with new lunar soil simulant

Australian researchers have developed a substance that looks and behaves like soil from the moon’s surface and can be mixed…
The chances of the weekends two asteroid events being related are next to zero. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Forensic astronomy: the Russian meteor and 2012 DA14

One of the most exciting things about science is the detective work, and never was this more the case than Friday. Within an hour or so of the event, almost everyone had seen the dramatic footage of the…
When it comes to asteroids, alert but not alarmed may be the best approach. NASA

Look out: close encounters of the asteroidal kind

An asteroid named 2012 DA14 will come within 27,700 kilometres of Earth early on Saturday morning Australian time (around 6:30am AEDT). At this distance the asteroid will pass within the orbits of several…
Space missions have a long tradition of Christmas celebration. Wikimedia Commons

Joy to the world: an ode to outer space at Christmas

Christmas - whether you’re religious or not - is a time when people gather their families together to reinforce the bonds that make us human. In the era of modern telecommunications, distance no longer…
Unless something is done about space junk, it might become too unsafe to have satellites in Low-Earth Orbit. ESA

You, me and debris: Australia should help clear ‘space junk’

At some point in the next few months, Australia will get its first ever national space policy. The release of the report, following consultation by experts in the space industry, will be a defining moment…
Just as the sun set (temporarily) on Woomera in 1980, the current era of Australia’s space endeavours is coming to close. Australian Science Media Centre

Security and space: Australia’s free ride is coming to an end

At some point in the next few months, Australia will get its first national space policy. This document will help mark a new era in Australia’s contribution to space-related endeavours, not least how we…
It’s not everyday you get to chat with a spacecraft that’s nearing the edge of the solar system. NASA

An interview with Voyager 2 … at the edge of the solar system

Interviewing a spacecraft isn’t something one does every day. It certainly wasn’t an option back in the late 1970s, when Voyager 1 and 2 set off on a mission like no other before or since: to visit some…
All going well, Baumgartner will become the first person to break the speed of sound in free-fall. AAP Image/Red Bull

Felix Baumgartner set to skydive through the sound barrier – how?

UPDATE: After adverse weather conditions delayed earlier launch attempts, Felix Baumgartner has finally made his historic skydive. Red Bull Stratos reports that Baumgartner climbed to an altitude of over…
When Curiosity lands on Mars next Monday, expect the social media buzz to be out of this world. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Houston, we have check-in: Space 2.0 and the Curiosity landing

Social media is the new frontier for space exploration, shaping an age of innovative public participation in space missions. While online communities are a-Twitter about NBC’s poor Olympic coverage, there’s…
Asteroid impacts make for impressive images and movies, but how realistic is the threat? NASA

How to avoid an asteroid impact (without calling in Bruce Willis)

How many times have you read a headline about our impending doom due to a “Deep Impact”-style annihilation? In a way it’s not surprising – we have an insatiable appetite for disaster stories, a hunger…
There’ll be a human colony on the red planet by 2023 if Mars One has its way. Mars One

Big Brother on Mars: reality TV that’s out of this world?

Private space venture company Mars One announced earlier this month that it intends to send people on a one-way colonisation mission to Mars in 2023, largely funded by sales of the mission’s media rights…
The 8km-high volcano, Maat Mons, is only one of the reasons to head back to Venus. NASA/JPL

Venus calling – let’s return to the planet of love

Last week the world stopped to watch as the black disc of Venus inched its way across the face of the sun. But beyond the transits that capture our attention roughly twice per century, Venus has always…
We’re a long way off finding little green men, but we might find evidence of life on Mars within a year.

Life on Mars: just add carbon and stir

The building blocks of life have been discovered on Mars … in Martian meteorites that fell to Earth. Let me rephrase that: according to a paper by published in Science Express on Friday, meteorites from…
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stands in front of a Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX’s launch site in Florida. SpaceX

SpaceX launch: the age of commercial spaceflight is here

Late tomorrow evening (AEST), all going well, a Falcon 9 rocket will lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A few days after launch the craft will rendezvous in low-Earth orbit with the International Space…
Where there’s mineral wealth, people always follow. MGM

Lunar boom: we’ll soon be mining the moon

As history has repeatedly shown, where there are valuable minerals to be unearthed, adventurous humans will arrive in droves – even if it means battling extreme conditions and risking life and limb. So…

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