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?
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?
Astronomers are building a new telescope designed to search for asteroids which could threaten the Earth. Called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, this new observatory under construction in Chile is expected to find 65 percent of the objects which could threaten our home world. It was 110 years ago when an object from space caused a massive blast in Siberia which flattened trees in an area 2,000 square kilometers in size.Read More 110 Years After Tunguska, Astronomers Ready a New Telescope to Search for Threatening Asteroids from Space