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Articles on Rockets

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A giant asteroid struck Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

An asteroid impact could wipe out an entire city – a space security expert explains NASA’s plans to prevent a potential catastrophe

NASA has only mapped 40% of the potentially dangerous asteroids that could crash into Earth. New projects will boost that number, and upcoming missions will test tech that could prevent collisions.
It only takes light about eight minutes to go from the Sun to Earth. loops7/E+ via Getty Images

Have we made an object that could travel 1% the speed of light?

The fastest things ever made by humans are spacecraft, and the fastest spacecraft reached 330,000 mph – only 0.05% the speed of light. But there are ways to go faster.
Thousands of the satellites orbiting Earth are small – like this cubical satellite seen here being released from the International Space Station. NASA

How many satellites are orbiting Earth?

In the past decade, the number of satellites in orbit has skyrocketed thanks to tiny electronics and cheap launches. The crowded night sky is posing problems for astronomers and astronauts.
Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson on the International Space Station with a view many more are likely to see soon. NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson/WIkimediaCommons

Space tourism is here – 20 years after the first stellar tourist, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to send civilians to space

The first space tourist left Earth 20 years ago aboard a Russian rocket. Now, private companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are offering trips to the stars for those who can pay.
Over the last 50 years, a lot has changed in rocketry. The fuel that powers spaceflight might finally be changing too. CSA-Printstock/DIgital Vision Vectors via Getty Images

To safely explore the solar system and beyond, spaceships need to go faster – nuclear-powered rockets may be the answer

An update of 50-year-old regulations has kickstarted research into the next generation of rockets. Powered by nuclear fission, these new systems could be the key to faster, safer exploration of space.
An artist’s conception of WASP-18b, a giant exoplanet that orbits very close to its star. X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/I.Pillitteri et al; Optical: DSS

A real-life deluminator for spotting exoplanets by reflected starlight

Sometimes it is difficult to take a photograph of an exoplanet because the star illuminating it is too bright. Now there is a new ‘deluminator’ telescope that can block out the extra light.

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