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
The Chinese space program recently landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, and has begun growing plants there. Neither of these feats have ever been accomplished by any other nation. Bolstered by their success, the Chinese space agency has announced plans to return sample materials from the Moon and Mars, and to construct a base on the Moon, to be constructed with a 3D printer. These missions have some people asking if China is now leading the way in space exploration, surpassing the United States and Russia. The U.S. has not sent an astronaut past low-Earth orbit since 1972.Read More Is China Leading the Exploration of 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 International Space Station has a new flying robot named CIMON, controlled by artificial intelligence. However, testing of the machine did not go as planned, as CIMON refused to turn off music, saying it liked it, and the robot also accused ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst of being mean. The artificial intelligence is based on the same system known for winning the game show Jeopardy in 2011.Read More CIMON Says “Sorry, I’m Just a Robot” as Artificial Intelligence Goes Bad Janet on ISS Crew
A small hole was discovered on a Soyuz space capsule docked to the International Space Station on August 30th. Preliminary investigation revealed the hole, roughly 1/12th of an inch in length, was caused by a drill being operated from inside the craft. Russian media outlet Kommersant published a theory that American astronauts purposely sabotaged the spacecraft in order to return a sick crew member to Earth early while avoiding having to pay for a new Soyuz. Occupants of the space station and the Russian government deny the story.Read More Did an American Astronaut Sabotage the International Space Station?
Humans on long spaceflights will need food, but providing it would cost significant amounts of money and energy. Is recycling human waste the best option?Read More Will Astronauts Produce Food from Human Waste?
Water ice found on Mars could provide humans with needed supplies on the way to visit other worlds in our solar system.Read More Will Ice Deposits Found on Mars Allow Humans to Colonize the Solar System?
SpaceX is planning to launch their Falcon Heavy rocket into space, as early as Wednesday, January 10. The payload will be a new Tesla Roadster – red, of course – playing “Space Oddity” by David Bowie on its radio. The Falcon Heavy is capable of lifting more than twice as much payload to orbit – […]Read More SpaceX Poised to Launch Falcon Heavy – and David Bowie – on to Mars