Articles on Space exploration

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Artist’s concept of the New Horizons spacecraft encountering Pluto and its largest moon, Charon (foreground) in July 2015. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

From Mercury to Pluto: the year ahead in planetary exploration

2015 is already shaping up to be a big year in astronomy and planetary exploration, with the best yet to come. Here are some highlights to keep your eye on throughout the year. Opportunity January 25 marked…
Artist’s impression of the planet Kepler 62-f which could lie in the habitable zone of its host star 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech

The tools needed to seek out new worlds out there in space

More than 1,000 exoplanets have now been discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope, announced NASA this month, and the figure continues to climb. Three of the newly confirmed Kepler planets are thought…
Not yet, but soon … we’re getting closer to sending people to Mars. Samantha T./Flickr

Near Earth and far away, it’s been an exciting year in space

It was an exciting year in space exploration, with mind-blowing triumphs and heart-breaking failures. On Earth, new rockets and spacecraft were tested by space agencies and commercial ventures. SpaceX…
Artist’s impression of New Horizons as it swings past the dwarf planet Pluto, in July 2015. NASA

Rise and shine! New Horizons awakes ahead of a date with Pluto

While the Mars Rovers and the Rosetta spacecraft will continue to make headlines in 2015, the stage is set for the solar system’s next great mission – the Pluto-bound New Horizons. Discovered in 1930…
Ian Burkhart moves his paralysed hand using the thought-controlled Neurobridge brain implant. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Nanotechnology to outer space: ten top tech innovations of 2014

Don’t be mesmerised by cool apps and flashy new gizmos – the top technology inventions of the year are ones that will have a lasting effect. Most are advances in fields that are already changing us. Some…
Robot on a comet, that’s all. ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Why the Rosetta mission is this generation’s moon landing

The thing everyone seems to talk about with the moon landings is the idea of the whole world stopping to watch. It was a mission that overcame nationalism, it wasn’t “America” putting a man on the moon…
Jumping off a spacecraft. ESA/ATG medialab

Everything you need to know about cometary exploration

Exciting as it is (and it is incredibly exciting), the Rosetta mission is the latest in a history of comet exploration that has added to our knowledge of these icy dirtballs. Comets are usually just a…
The author posing with a fully-functional model of the Curiosity rover on Earth, not Mars.

Scientists at work: my other office is on Mars

“All systems go!” I said cautiously with a long sigh of relief. I had approved plans for the first soil analysis that would give humankind clues to the past and future habitability of Mars. One small word…
China is ramping up its space missions. Reuters

Who owns space?

The golden age of planetary exploration had voyagers navigating new sea routes to uncharted territory. These territories were then claimed in the name of the monarchs who had financed the expeditions…
Don’t forget to ask for a receipt. Niall Carson/PA

Who owns the moon?

Whether you’re into mining, energy or tourism, there are lots of reasons to explore space. Some “pioneers” even believe humanity’s survival depends on colonising celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars…
Circled by robots. Mars Express

Explainer: why is everyone vying for a piece of Mars?

The red planet is about to welcome a new visitor: India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) started orbiting Mars on September 24. But MOM is not the only new kid in town. The American MAVEN explorer arrived…

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