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Solid boosters are recovered following the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2000. Bruce Weaver/AFP

In pictures: 30 years of the Space Shuttle program

At approximately 8pm last night (AEST), the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy Space Centre for the final…
Could Stanley Kubrick’s classic offer direction for the future of space travel? slagheap

2011, a space odyssey – what comes after the Shuttle program?

Tomorrow morning (AEST), weather depending, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will blast off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, marking the end of NASA’s 30-year-old Space Transportation System. But as the…
When a black hole devours a nearby star, bright gamma-ray flashes can result. Mark Garlick (University of Warwick)

Death of a star: how radio waves can capture a cosmic obituary

Some 3.8 billion years ago a star in the constellation of Draco wandered a little too close to a nearby black hole. The star was violently torn apart by the black hole’s tidal forces, creating two massive…
Keeping the space shuttle together is a tremendous feat of engineering. Stan Honda/AFP

The shuttle launch: delayed (but still worth the Endeavour)

The Space Shuttle Endeavour, one of the most complex machines ever created, is about to take its last trip into space. But not just yet. The countdown to Endeavour’s final flight began a few days ago…
Scientists believe dark matter makes up 23% of the universe. NASA

New chatter on dark matter

Dark matter has worked its way back into the news in the last few days with the completion of a detection experiment in a tunnel deep under the Italian Alps. Researchers from Columbia University used a…
Hundreds of exoplanets have been discovered, but are we any closer to finding life? AAP

Exoplanets: how the search for life became sexy

In the late 1980s, when I was a young whipper-snapper just starting out as an astronomer, it was quite obvious some fields had an incredibly high profile and others were outré. The sexy ideas at the time…

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