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private astronauts

NASA will help send a private mission to the ISS next year

May 12th, 2021

For decades now, the International Space Station has been occupied by astronauts from the United States, Russia, and other nations. These scientists are hand-picked and go through rigorous training so they are well-equipped to handle long stays in Earth orbit. In recent years, NASA has shown an interest in opening up the ISS to private …

james webb telescope

NASA’s James Webb telescope opened its golden wings for the last time ever on Earth

May 12th, 2021

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is over a decade late at this point (you can thank Northrop Grumman’s incompetence for that), but when it comes to high-powered scientific instruments, late is definitely better than never. Progress has been excruciatingly slow, especially after the coronavirus pandemic sidelined many NASA projects last year, but the state-of-the-art space …

voyager

Voyager 1, now in interstellar space, hears an ominous hum

May 11th, 2021

The vast majority of NASA’s most interesting projects are ones that are fresh and new, like the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter. As technology advances, NASA can do more and more interesting and revolutionary things, but sometimes decades-old technology can still provide scientists with novel insights, especially when that technology was blasted into space with …

asteroid probe

NASA is now bringing asteroid samples back to Earth

May 11th, 2021

It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the arrival of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe at the space rock known as Bennu. Bennu is a big, beefy, messy rock with lots to see, and NASA’s probe spent a good deal of time studying its surface before it ever attempted to snatch a sample of material. …

neanderthal diet

Neanderthals had huge brains and ate a lot of carbs

May 11th, 2021

Neanderthals and ancient Homo sapiens were similar in many important ways, but it’s long been believed that our ancestors thrived because of their ability to adapt, and in some ways control, a changing environment. Homo sapiens are often depicted as omnivorous hunter-gatherers, while Neanderthals are usually seen as being primarily savage hunters, feasting on meat …

falcon 9

SpaceX just set a ridiculous record with its Falcon 9 rocket

May 11th, 2021

SpaceX’s entire business model revolves around its ability to recover its hardware, refurbish it without much effort, and then use it again. Rockets are incredibly expensive, so any component that can be used again — like the pricey first stage booster — dramatically impacts the cost of each launch. The company spent a great deal …