Friday, March 31, 2017

SpaceX Success

SpaceX successfully launched a recycled rocket booster yesterday, opening a new era.

The booster was also successfully soft-landed, so it might be flown yet again.

Thursday, March 30, 2017


NASA is planning a "gateway" space station in lunar orbit in the 2020s.

The station could support various missions, including human flights to Mars.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reusable Rockes

SpaceX is set to launch a rocket tomorrow that has already flown once.

The company sees reusable rockets as key to lowering the cost of opening space.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Resilient Life

A new study indicates life returned to the impact zone of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs only about 30,000 years after the strike.

That's about the same time life began its comeback globally.

Monday, March 27, 2017


A commercial effort to augment U. S. Government production of fuel grade plutonium is underway.   The first Pu-238 in the program could be ready by 2022.

An increase in the availability of nuclear fuel could support more deep space exploratory missions.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Defining Planethood

Astronomers are making another effort to define the term "planet."  The last time they tried, in 2006, Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status.

Under the proposed new definition,  Pluto would again be a full planet, but so would Europa and Titan.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Wheel Of Curiosity

The left middle wheel on the Curiosity rover is showing the first signs of breaking, according to NASA.

The space agency also said the damage does not threaten the mission.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mars' Dark Streaks

Dark streaks running down slopes on Mars during the warmest parts of the year have been seen as evidence of liquid flowing water.

A new study based on computer simulations, however, suggests they could be dry soil avalanches.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NASA Authorization

President Trump has signed a $19 billion authorization bill for NASA.

The new law tasks NASA with putting humans at Mars in the 2030s.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Arsis Mons

The huge Martian volcano Arsis Mons was last active about the time dinosaurs went extinct on Earth, according to a new study.

That seems a long time ago, but it's a short span in geologic terms.

Monday, March 20, 2017

North Korea Again

North Korea is supposedly working on a big new rocket engine.

The new engine would allow an ICBM to reach western North America.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


President Trump's proposed NASA budget, according to reports, cuts the Europa lander project and  the asteroid redirect mission, among other projects.

The proposal still has to get through Congress.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Opening The Frontier

American business is awaiting the Trump space policy with some eagerness.

A policy that encourages private enterprise could open a new era.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Martian Dust Storms

Two huge dust storms have developed on Mars recently.

Both grew to cover areas larger than the United States.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blue Origins

Blue Origin plans to launch a crew on a suborbital flight within a year.

The company plans to eventually deliver people to orbit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Today is the 136th anniversary of the birth of Albert Einstein.

Einstein ranks as one of the seminal geniuses in human history.  His theory of relativity is key to our understanding of the universe.

Monday, March 13, 2017

North Korea

Western experts are raising the question of how to deal with North Korea in space.

North Korea has no real assets in space, they point out, so it has no incentive to follow the established rules.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fast Radio Bursts

Fast radio bursts are brief, extremely bright emissions that as yet have no natural explanation.

One possible explanation is that they are generated by advanced civilizations to power huge interstellar or even intergalactic spacecraft.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Refueling Depots

Robert Bigelow says private refueling depots could be in lunar orbit by 2020.

For that to happen, however, he said the Trump administration must act quickly to create a market for the fuel.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

NASA Budget

The House and Senate have passed a roughly $19 billion NASA budget for the fiscal year.

The bill also directs NASA to put humans on or in the vicinity of Mars in the 2030s.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cold Atom Lab

NASA is about to create  what could be the coldest spot in the universe aboard ISS.

At a billionth of a degree above absolute zero quantum principles rule, and no one knows exactly what that means.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mars Water

A new study of Martian meteorites suggests early Mars had substantially more water than generally thought.

That, of course, has implications for life on Mars.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hydrogen And Life

Volcanism that spews hydrogen into an atmosphere could support life, a new study suggests,

For example, if the seventh planet in the TRAPPIST system has volcanoes that put hydrogen into the atmosphere, it could support liquid water on its surface.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fly Me To The Moon

Elon Musk announced recently that SpaceX intends to fly two tourists around the Moon in 2018.

The flight, however, would use the Falcon Heavy rocket and the Dragon V2 capsule, neither of which have flown yet.

Friday, March 3, 2017


NASA's MAVEN Mars orbiter had to make a course correction yesterday to avoid a possible collision with the moon Phobos March 9.

It is the first time such a maneuver has ever been needed.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Black Hole Winds

The streams of material ejected from supermassive black holes change in intensity over time,  observations find.

Such winds help shape entire galaxies.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump On Space

President Trump, in his speech before Congress last night, mentioned in passing that American footprints should soon be on distant worlds.

It's another tea leaf for those trying to divine Trump space policy.