The Moon was once thought to be a barren place, devoid of all water. But, in the last few years, several spacecraft have found water ice hidden within craters on our planetary companion. Now, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found evidence that molecules of water are bouncing around the lunar surface. As ice is heated in one area, it moves to another nearby place, where it falls into shadow, and freezes once more on the surface of the Moon. Water will be a vital resource as humans populate the Solar System, and the Moon may be the first stopping-off point on the way to the planets.Read More Water Seen Hopping Around the Surface of the Moon
The Mars Express orbiter has taken photos of river valleys on the Red Planet, showing evidence that liquid water once flowed across the Martian landscape. Once thought to be completely dry, Mars is now known to have water ice beneath its surface, up to 100 meters, or 330 feet, in depth. Billions of years ago, Mars lost most of its atmosphere, and water on its surface disappeared. Astronomers are still uncertain what caused this dramatic climatic change on the Red Planet.Read More Water, Water Everywhere — On Mars?
The Moon was once thought to be completely dry and barren. In recent years, however, a number of spacecraft have revealed evidence for water ice in craters near the lunar poles. Most astronomers believed this ice was placed there through collisions with water-rich comets. A new study from NASA now shows that the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun, can interact with materials on the lunar surface, producing water. Supplies of water will be essential for the human exploration of the solar system.Read More Water Could Form on the Surface of the Moon, Thanks to the Solar Wind
Animals will certainly join humans on our quest to colonize the planets and moons of our solar system. However, animals have not flown on space missions in quite a while, as space agencies are hesitant to bring them on involuntary journeys. The only cat to have ever flown in space, Félicette, is now being honored for her 1963 journey, with a new statue due to be erected in Paris.Read More In Space, No One Can Hear You Meow – A Sad Tale (Tail?) of the First Cat in Space
Elon Musk released the first photograph of the new Starship rocket, and it looks like it came straight out of a science fiction show from the 1950’s. Sporting a stout, silver body, the rocket sits on top of three over-sized fins. This test vehicle is scheduled to carry out vertical takeoff and landing tests, but will be unable to reach space. The orbital version of Starship, with a sleeker body and thicker skin, is due to begin testing in June 2019.Read More Elon Musk Unveils Starship — and Marvin the Martian would be Proud
The Chang-e 4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon on January 3rd, marking the first time the distant half of the lunar surface has been visited by a robotic explorer. The Chinese spacecraft arrived with a rover, the Yutu 2, which was successfully released to explore the alien landscape. Also on-board is a miniature biosphere, containing four species of plants, yeast, and fruit flies. Mission planners hope to use the system to grow flowers on the Moon, an experiment which could lead the way to growing food for the future human colonization of the Solar System.Read More Growing Flowers on the Lunar Surface? China Lands Chang-e 4 Rover on the Far Side of the Moon
Water ice has been confirmed on The Moon for the first time ever. This discovery, made by the Indian Space Research Organization, was announced by NASA. Ice was seen collecting in areas near the northern and southern poles of the Moon, which are always in shadow. This finding could make it easier for humans to colonize the Solar System.Read More Water Ice Confirmed on the Moon – What does this mean for the Future of Space Travel?
NASA is planning to send a space station into orbit around the Moon. The first flights to build the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will begin in 2022. Once complete, space travelers will spend between 30 and 60 days at the station. There, they will gather materials from the lunar surface, and manufacture goods in space, preparing for future human flights to Mars.Read More NASA Plans for Space Station Around the Moon
The Resource Prospector mission to the Moon has been cancelled by NASA. This rover would have been the first mining mission sent to another world. Scientists hoped to find vital materials for spaceflight beneath the lunar surface. Officials at the space agency cancelled the mission on April 27th.Read More NASA Cancels Resource Prospector Mission to the Moon
Elon Musk and SpaceX are experiencing a backlash on social media from people claiming a small fortune was wasted sending a car into space. This is the story of why Musk may have just saved the world.Read More Elon Musk Saves the World