Last night, space nerds everywhere stayed up late to witness the successful landing of the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars while engineers at NASA rejoiced. The rover's still warmin up its instruments, but images are already making their way back to Earth, including an amazing shot, taken from Martian orbit, of the rover making its landing.
Astronomy can be pretty tricky business. For one thing, all the stuff you're looking at is actually spread very far apart, and apparently sometimes a star will just flat out disappear on you. That's what happened to a team operating NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Telescope, who discovered a 5,000-year-old pulsar in 2009 only to then lose track of it for the next three years.
Sally Ride, the woman who became an inspiration to millions when she blasted off as America's first female astronaut in 1983, passed away Monday in California after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
Though it's still really expensive to put people in space, it's hard to deny the age of space tourism is approaching. Tourists like to visit historical sites, so it seems certain that someday we'll get gaggles of them on the moon gawking at the places were NASA astronauts landed. And just in case those tourists are jerks, the space agency's already taking steps to preserve the history left on the lunar surface.
The better our telescopes become, the closer we get to seeing the very origin of the universe. Now Japanese astronomers say they've found the oldest galaxy human eyes have ever seen. So how old is it?
Funding for space travel has been slashed so much in recent years, it could be decades until we actually set foot on another rock other than our own. But a new Dutch start-up hopes to combine the world's love for reality TV and passion for space travel into a sure-fire hit that will get us to the Red Planet in about a decade: The Real World Mars. Or, something like that.
Though big screen aliens are typically trying to turn us into dinner or slaves, a former Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) director says the movies have it wrong—if anything, aliens will probably just pop in to say hello.
Thanks to that one small step back in the summer of '69, the name Neil Armstrong is now synonymous with American space exploration. Armstrong is still a household name because of Apollo 11, but the man himself says he thought the odds were 50/50 that he'd ever actually touch the moon during the mission.
James Doohan, best known as Scotty from Star Trek: The Original Series, spent much of his career playing a space-faring hero. But today, he will finally make it into orbit—albeit seven years after his death.
A few months ago, we heard that NASA's determined to launch some kind of new Mars mission by 2018 regardless of budget cuts. Now a proposed plan for just such a mission has been revealed, and it's one of the most ambitious searches for Martian life yet.