News, Space, Space flight

The International Space Station is out of parking space


At this very moment, the International Space Station has all its docking ports fully booked, as five manned and cargo spacecraft have occupied all available slots. Most expensive parking ticket ever The spacecrafts in question are: Soyuz TMA-12M, Soyuz TMA-13M, Cygnus 2, Progress 56, and ATV-5. The Soyuz crafts are tasked with ferrying the crew of Expedition 39/40 and 40/41 to and from…

Astrophysics, News, Physics, Space flight

NASA confirms “Impossible” propellant-free microwave thruster works


Designs for a device called a “microwave thruster” were proposed in 2006. While the device was physically sound and followed the principles of relativity, it has been dismissed by researchers who claimed that such a functioning device would defy the law of conservation of momentum. A team from NASA set out to trial the device and see if it works; lo and…

Alien life, Space, Space flight

Mars could become colonized by stowaway Earthling tiny space travelers

Electron micrographs of Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 spores on aluminum before and after exposure to space conditions. [Reproduced with permission from P. Vaishampayan et al., Survival of Bacillus pumilus Spores for a Prolonged Period of Time in Real Space Conditions. Astrobiology Vol 12, No 5, 2012.] Image Credit: P. Vaishampayan, et al./Astrobiology

Whenever alien invasions are concerned, most people tend to image extraterrestrial spaceships landing on Earth, not the other way around. In reality, this alien invasion most likely will happen or already has happen in reverse, as Earth-based life forms could reach distant asteroids or planets, like Mars, hitching rides on human spaceship. To assess this possibility, NASA researchers published three…

Space, Space flight

NASA to conduct unprecedented twin experiment: one twin will spend a year circling the Earth, while the other stays grounded


It’s something that puzzled me for years now: consider a pair of identical twins; say, one gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other is also an astronaut, but he decides to skip this one and stay home. After a while, they reunite, but are they still identical? That’s exactly what NASA wants to find out! In…

News, Space flight

Developing Galactic Gas Stations


Future lunar missions may be fueled by gas stations in space, according to a new plan developed by MIT engineers. A spacecraft might dock at a propellant depot, somewhere between the Earth and the Moon, and pick up some more fuel before heading on to the moon. The carry load is still a major problem for scientific expeditions. Basically, you need…

News, Space, Space flight

China’s rover on route for the moon and first lunar landing in 40 years

China’s lunar probe as seen against the limb of the Earth. (c) CCTV

In the early hours of December 2nd, China deployed its Chang’e-3 spacecraft on route for the moon after launching it via a  Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang launch centre in Sichuan. The spacecraft is expected to reach lunar orbit in about 4 days, if everything goes as planned. On 14 December, the probe is expected to touch base with the moon at Sinus…

Space, Space flight

India launches space mission geared towards Mars


India is a sort of economic paradox. Its general population is among the poorest in the world, yet it is still wealthy in many respects. It wouldn’t be a mistake to call India a space superpower, at least in the way the term gets tossed in the press. Attesting this fact is the country’s recently successful launch of its  Mars Orbiter…

Observations, Space, Space flight

Russian ICBM missile test in space catches ISS astronauts by surprise


Right after World Space Week ended just last week –  an event that celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Outer Space Treaty that prohibits the militarization of space – Russia made a test launch for one of its new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles; missiles capable of launching their nuclear warhead payload from outer space. The launch apparently caught…

Space, Space flight

NASA will grow its own vegetables onboard the ISS


Last year, an astronaut named Don Pettit started an unusual, but very poetic and insightful writing project on NASA’s website: “Diary of a Space Zucchini” detailed the life and ‘thoughts’ of a zucchini onboard the International Space Station (ISS). “I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me,” wrote Pettit in the now-defunct blog. “I am utilitarian, hearty vegetative…

Space, Space flight

These people want to go to Mars – and never come back

mars one 1

Ever since 2010, I’ve been telling you about a group of scientists and investors which wants to send people to Mars – on a one way trip, that is. But in early 2013, this took a huge step forward, materializing in the form of Mars One – a non-profit organization that plans to establish a permanent human colony on Mars…