Forget Earth: In Space, Libertarian Ideas Are Thriving

You may have heard the phrase “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” perhaps in conversation with your parents when they wanted you to get a job. Its acronym—TANSTAAFL—pops up in subreddits like r/Anarcho_Capitalism, on sweatshirts from the politically inclined website LibertyManiacs.com, and as a nerdy economics rap …

Advertisements

A SpaceX Beer Supply Run, Sketchy Baby Yoda Merch, and More News

Sellers are faking and rocket boosters are shaking, but first: a cartoon about when keto goes wrong. Here’s the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s News SpaceX will bring the science …

SpaceX Launched Its Last Rocket of the Decade to the ISS

On Thursday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida bound for the International Space Station. The brand-new rocket carried a previously flown Dragon capsule loaded with supplies and experiments. It marked SpaceX’s 19th trip to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services …

No One Knows Why Rocks Are Exploding From Asteroid Bennu

For the last year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been circling a large asteroid named Bennu that regularly passes uncomfortably close to Earth. The spacecraft has been painstakingly mapping the asteroid’s rocky surface using a suite of cameras and other instruments that will help it determine where to land next year. …

SpaceX Will Bring the Science of Fire and Beer to the ISS 

On Wednesday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida bound for the International Space Station. The brand new rocket will be carrying a previously flown Dragon capsule loaded with supplies and experiments. It will mark SpaceX’s nineteenth trip to the space station …

Watch SpaceX Launch its Last Rocket of the Decade to the ISS

On Thursday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida bound for the International Space Station. The brand-new rocket will be carrying a previously flown Dragon capsule loaded with supplies and experiments. It will mark SpaceX’s 19th trip to the space station as …

How to Get Solar Power on a Rainy Day? Beam It From Space

Earlier this year, a small group of spectators gathered in David Taylor Model Basin, the Navy’s cavernous indoor wave pool in Maryland, to watch something they couldn’t see. At each end of the facility there was a 13-foot pole with a small cube perched on top. A powerful infrared laser …

Astronomers Detect Water Vapor Around Jupiter’s Moon Europa

In the search for life in our solar system, Mars tends to steal the spotlight (thanks, David Bowie). But in recent years Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa, has emerged as a promising extraterrestrial nursery. Planetary scientists have long suspected Europa may harbor a vast liquid water ocean beneath its thick, …

The Most Iconic Space Movies Get a Very Grounded Fact-Check

Before Stanley Kubrick melted everyone’s brains with the unprecedented scientific realism of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Hollywood directors had a lot more creative leeway in their space adventure films. Francis Ford Coppola wants to make a movie about giant genitals fighting in space? Sure, why not. Adam West and his …

Alien Hunters Need the Far Side of the Moon to Stay Quiet

China made history earlier this year when its Chang’e-4 lander became the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon. During the two-week-long lunar days, the lander and its small rover, Yutu 2, beam images and other data to an orbiter for relay back to Earth. Together …

Astro Teller on How to Handle Failure (With an Infinite Budget)

Failure is always disappointing, but two things can help take the sting away: Dispassion and money. Lots of money. As the head of X, Alphabet’s so-called moonshot factory, Astro Teller has plenty of both. Funded by parent company Alphabet to the tune of billions each year, X is dedicated to …

SpaceX and Boeing Still Need a Parachute That Always Works

On Monday, a small capsule launched off its test stand at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, reaching speeds of more than 600 mph in just seconds. The spacecraft was Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule, which will begin carrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station next year. Later …

Do We Need a Special Language to Talk to Aliens?

In May 2018, a radar facility in Tromsø, Norway, trained its antennas on GJ237b, a potentially habitable exoplanet located 12 light years from Earth. Over the course of three days, the radar broadcast a message toward the planet in the hopes that there might be something, or someone, there to …

NASA is Getting Serious About an Interstellar Mission

Interstellar space exploration has long been the stuff of science fiction, a technological challenge that many engineers believe humans just aren’t up to yet. But an ongoing study by a group of NASA-affiliated researchers is challenging this assumption. The researchers have a vision for a mission that could be built …

Prepping Bees for Mars, New Google Shortcuts, and More News

Scientists are raising interplanetary bees and Google is speeding up your keys, but first: a cartoon about obsessive Instagrammers. Here’s the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Want to receive this two-minute roundup as an email every weekday? Sign up here! Today’s Headlines Bees, please: Stop …

Bees, Please: Stop Dying in Your Martian Simulator

Before astronauts head to the International Space Station, they spend years getting ready: They float in pools to practice for spacewalks, learn how to run different types of science experiments, and even practice how to poop. For future missions to the moon and Mars, scientists first try living and working …

A Secret Space Plane Just Landed After a Record Stay in Orbit

The old space shuttle landing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center received an unusual visitor early Sunday morning when the Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane autonomously returned from orbit after a record-breaking mission. For the last 780 days, the Air Force Research Laboratory used the space plane as an …

Scientists Take Baby Steps Toward Extraterrestrial Babies

In February, the Spanish pilot Daniel González climbed into a small aerobatic plane at the Sabadell Airport outside Barcelona and fired up its single prop engine. Once he was in the air, González began a steep climb for about six seconds before entering a nosedive. The plane’s rapid descent created …

We Should Just Build Giant Telescopes … in Space

In 2021, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from French Guiana carrying the largest space telescope ever made. Known as the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers will use this beast of an observatory to study everything from habitable exoplanets to the formation of the first galaxies. JWST is the …