Articles on Space travel

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A modified version of the SpaceX Dragon capsule (above) will be used for the mission to Mars. NASA/KIM Shiflett

We’re heading to Mars the ‘do-it-yourself’ way – and why not?

American multi-millionaire and “space tourist” Dennis Tito plans to help fund a trip to Mars for two intrepid astronauts – as you may have read about on The Conversation. But they won’t be stopping – just…
Is sending “oldies” to Mars an acceptable sacrifice – or a case of “voluntary euthanasia”? Be-Younger.com

Pensioners to go to Mars – why the old ones are the best

Tourist “astronaut” millionaire Dennis Tito wants to send an “older couple” to Mars. Would this be a stunt by an enthusiast or a meaningful breakthrough in space exploration? Being elderly myself, I have…
NASA’s RASSOR will be able to climb hills and, more importantly, extract water, ice and fuel from lunar soil. NASA

Space robots – coming soon to a planet near you

Earlier this week, NASA announced the development of a mining robot called RASSOR: the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot. RASSOR has been designed to assist in extracting water, ice and…
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…
If you’re expecting the next few decades to yield many crewed space missions, you shouldn’t hold your breath. pasukaru76

The best of human spaceflight won’t happen in our lifetimes

The recent passing of Neil Armstrong – the first human to step foot on the moon – combined with recent Russian plans to build a base on the moon, provides a good opportunity to pause and consider the future…
The first pictures taken by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover after its successful landing on Mars. Michael Nelson/EPA

Curiosity rover has landed on Mars … let the science begin

The Mars Science Laboratory, otherwise known as the Curiosity rover, has safely landed on the red planet. While NASA engineers can now breath a sigh of relief, for a small army of people, the work on Mars…
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…
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…
When we start building structures outside Earth, the raw materials will likely come from asteroids. Planetary Resources

Asteroid mining will happen … but Australia will miss the boom

There will be a future mining boom, as heralded in recent media stories. But this mining will take place in a location even more hostile than the Australian Outback – space. More specifically, the ore…
Russia is no stranger to ambitious space exploration – and has produced several notable firsts. Maxim Shipenkov/ EPA

Space Race reloaded: will Russia send cosmonauts to the moon?

For decades, the Soviet Union was a major player in the exploration of space, famously locking horns with the US in the “Space Race” – a competition for orbital supremacy and solar system exploration throughout…
Does the US suffer from its desire to go it alone in space? NASA

NASA, we have a problem: why America is lost in space

In its newly released budget request to Congress, the Obama Administration is seeking to reduce NASA’s funding by US$59m to US$17.7 billion – a reduction of just 0.03%, not that you would know that from…
Another election campaign, another out-of-this-world promise. Erik S. Lesser/EPA

A US moon colony? Does Newt Gingrich’s idea have a legal basis?

In Florida last week, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich asserted that, under his leadership, the US would establish a “permanent moon base” by 2020. What’s more, he claimed, “it will be American…
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…

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