Unlike science fiction films featuring grotesque aliens and faraway galaxies, Ridley Scott’s The Martian depicts a sci-fi space mission that could soon be science fact.
20th Century Fox
NASA has set a target date of 2030 for a manned mission to Mars. With no real scientific breakthroughs needed, success depends on developing the proper technology.
This digital false-colour image shows the dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on the planet. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Now that we have discovered liquid water on the surface of Mars, what does this mean for the prospects of finding life there, past or present?
Gilt-edged. The James Webb telescope steps up the search.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
A giant golden mirror is on the brink of opening up a glimpse of the very first galaxies to be formed.
Jean Paul Santos with the finished 4x4 sub-array antenna assembly that may help rovers talk directly with Earth.
New research provides a compact but powerful way for Mars rovers to communicate directly with Earth via an array of smaller antenna elements, bypassing the need for an intermediary.
Hot spot for much-needed research.
The House proposes slashing funding for earth science from NASA's budget, yet this science is critical to understanding – and coping with – the dramatic effects of a warming Arctic around the world.
Many of the bodies in our solar system’s contain precious resources that could be used here or in space.
Mining in space is no longer science fiction. But could it end wars over resources, as Neil deGrasse Tyson has suggested?
Space scientists have a busy decade ahead with plans to visit Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and other interplanetary bodies all on the cards.
We got you, Pluto!
In the long lead-up to our ultimate flyby of Pluto, space science has reconfigured our notions of what it means to be a solar system, a planet, a world.
Pluto’s newly clear topography.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Photos from the spacecraft's close approach are dazzling. They and other data from the mission will fill in some of the blanks about Pluto and provide a snapshot of the infant solar system.
Pluto’s enigmatic companion Charon.
What can the data from New Horizons tell us about the dwarf planet's five moons?
High resolution view of a 300 km wide region of Pluto. But where are the impact craters?
Lack of impact craters intrigues space experts who say it suggests the dwarf planet may be geologically active.
Artist’s impression Pluto and it’s largest satellite Charon. Is this how the dwarf planet will look as New Horizons swings past?
Pluto is one of the most enigmatic objects in our solar system, and its secrets are soon to be uncovered by the New Horizons probe.
An artist’s concept of a plume of water vapour thought to be ejected off the surface of Europa. Could life be beneath?
Jupiter's moon Europa is one of the most enticing objects in our solar system, and a future NASA mission may help reveal whether it is a suitable for life.
What mysteries lie beneath your icy crust, Europa?
NASA has now formally started to pack its bags for the next big discovery mission, this time heading to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Last month NASA announced the instruments that will fly on this trip and…
View from the hotel balcony?
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
The turbocharged capitalism of private space flight is strangely at odds with the brotherly, generous global consensus that built the legal framework for extra-terrestrial travel.
Giant balloons can take scientific equipment to the edge of space much cheaper that satellites.
Giant balloons are a lot cheaper than rockets launchers in getting scientific equipment to the edge of space. But they don't always fly to plan.
Bigger but not better than Hubble. The James Webb’s primary mirror.
It's urgent that we turn our attention to a high definition space telescope that will allow us to directly image exoplanets.
Come in MESSENGER, your time is up.
NASA/JHU APL/Carnegie Institution of Washington
After ten years in space NASA probe will get up close and personal with Mercury a final time.
Cratered surface of Ceres in colour.
Approaching Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft reveals the dwarf planet in colour for the first time.
The view from the current International Space Station.
Whatever America's exact strategy in space, it doesn't seem to involve investing in a new International Space Station