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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…
A new America? Warner Bros. Pictures

Interstellar is a dangerous fantasy of US colonialism

Interstellar has been praised for its attempt to make the “hard science” of astrophysics both accessible and exciting to a popular audience. Through cutting-edge special effects, it takes audiences on…
Not thrilling enough for some. EPA/Virgin Galactic

What next for space tourism after SpaceShipTwo?

The recent accident involving Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo – and the tragic death of one pilot and critical injury of another – highlights the dangers inherent in any type of space flight. It has also…
Not Diwali. Joel Kowsky/NASA

An unmanned rocket exploded – so what?

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more…
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…
First foot. NASA

Is space still awesome?

World Space Week is one of a series of events co-ordinated by the UN to celebrate the global nature of space exploration. It was established in 1999. Why is it organised this particular week? Because October…
Visualisation of Venus Express during the aerobraking manoeuvre into the atmosphere of Venus. ESA–C. Carreau

Venus Express is ready to dive into a hostile atmosphere

The Venus Express spacecraft has spent eight productive years orbiting the planet Venus and is now ready to take the plunge. Its orbit is slowly being lowered and from Wednesday it will repeatedly dive…
From stardust we come, to stardust we go. EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

Space offers no escape from the surly bonds of Earthly politics

Seasoned observers of the United Nations generally regard the organisation’s lofty aspirations to the “betterment of humankind” and the eternal pursuit of “peace and security” as just the rhetorical tokens…
An artist’s conception of WISE J0855-0714. NASA, JPL-Caltech and Penn State University

Say hello to our new close – but cold – neighbour in space

Author Douglas Adams famously had his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remark that “space is really big”. But to my mind the sheer vastness of space is better encapsulated in the recent announcement of…
Shooting for the exomoon. CBC11

Move over exoplanets, exomoons may harbour life too

In the Star Wars universe, everyone’s favourite furry aliens, the Ewoks, famously lived on the “forest moon of Endor”. In scientific terms, the Ewok’s home world would be referred to as an exomoon, which…
BICEP2 has spotted something pretty special from its South Pole base. Steffen Richter (Harvard University)

Explainer: what a flexed BICEP tells us about the big bang

The cosmological community is bubbling with the news that the BICEP2 experiment may have detected gravitational waves through measuring the radiation left over from the big bang. If the findings are correct…

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