Space research and astronomy
By Don Barrett, 23 October 2020
High drama unfolded to a worldwide audience Tuesday as the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft made a safe and seemingly successful “touch and go” sample collection from its target, asteroid 101955 Bennu. It will return a sample from the asteroid to Earth in September 2023.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 October 2020
Challenger: The Final Flight, a docuseries on Netflix, deals with the tragic explosion of NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger in January 1986, which killed seven crew members.
By Don Barrett, 31 July 2020
Spacecraft from China, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have been successfully launched on trajectories that will take them to Mars by next February.
By Bryan Dyne, 2 June 2020
The fact that the event was so heavily promoted by SpaceX founder and billionaire Elon Musk, the American media and President Donald Trump should give the excitement around the launch pause.
By Bryan Dyne, 2 May 2020
While it has been a public relations boon for NASA, Hubble’s true importance lies in its continued and vast contributions to astronomy.
By Don Barrett, 10 April 2020
The assertion of property rights follows the creation of the US “Space Force” branch of the military, as capitalism demands a return on investment in space.
By Bryan Dyne, 13 September 2019
The discovery is another step toward finding a world with an environment, and possibly life, on a planet outside our Solar System.
By Will Morrow, 31 July 2019
The implication, covered over by the media and political establishment, is that the French ruling class is preparing for war against militarily-advanced, nuclear-armed powers.
By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2019
The first Moon landing remains an epoch-making scientific, technical and organizational achievement.
By Bryan Dyne, 11 April 2019
The results from the planet-wide array of radio telescopes are the first direct measurements of the structure of a black hole and its surrounding environment.
By Deepal Jayasekera, 1 April 2019
Modi’s order that India demonstrate its “space war” capabilities was driven by both strategic and immediate electoral considerations.
By Peter Symonds, 7 January 2019
Like the Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik satellite in 1957 and the first manned space flight in 1961, China’s landing of a probe on the moon’s far side has provoked consternation in Washington.
By Bryan Dyne, 4 January 2019
Ultima Thule is 6.4 billion kilometers from Earth, the most distant astronomical body ever explored by a spacecraft.
By Henry Allan and Bryan Dyne, 27 December 2018
The development of the Lunar Gateway cannot be seen outside the context of the plan to create a “Space Force” as the sixth branch of the US military and the growing militarization of space in general.
By Bryan Dyne, 1 December 2018
The first and most productive space telescope designed to find planets beyond our Solar System has been retired after exhausting its fuel supply.
By Bryan Dyne, 28 November 2018
InSight will spend the next two years studying the tectonic activity, internal heat flow and interior rotation of the Red Planet.
By Bryan Dyne, 26 September 2018
Although an asteroid was first landed on in 2001, the Japanese Hayabusa2 mission is the first to successfully deploy rovers on the surface of one.
By Bryan Dyne, 13 August 2018
The Parker Solar Probe spacecraft has begun its three-month journey to get closer to the Sun than any previous spacecraft.
By Bryan Dyne, 26 July 2018
The previous 54 years of Mars space exploration have laid the groundwork for this remarkable discovery.
By Bryan Dyne, 25 June 2018
The Curiosity rover and the constellation of satellites orbiting Mars are using the storm to study Martian weather and climate.
By Don Barrett and Patrick Martin, 9 February 2018
The new rocket has two purposes, neither of them connected with the advance of science: to boost the wealth of billionaire Elon Musk, and to expand the military arsenal of the Pentagon.
By Don Barrett, 18 October 2017
The initial detections by the LIGO, Virgo and Fermi collaborations were followed up by observations involving more than 3,500 astronomers.
By Bryan Dyne, 6 October 2017
The announcement comes seven weeks after the detection of the fourth gravitational wave by the two Advanced LIGO detectors and the Advanced Virgo detector.
By Don Barrett, 16 September 2017
After 20 years of insights into Saturn, its rings, its moons and the Solar System as a whole, Cassini’s mission has ended.
By Bryan Dyne, 9 August 2017
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of NASA’s Pathfinder mission, which paved the way for all subsequent Mars landers and rovers.
By Bryan Dyne, 6 June 2017
The Cassini spacecraft has uncovered molecular hydrogen in material erupting from the subsurface ocean of Saturn’s moon.
By Bryan Dyne, 24 February 2017
The discovery of the new planetary system was based on collaboration towards a common goal whose driving force was the pursuit of knowledge, not the amassing of personal wealth.
By Bryan Dyne, 21 October 2016
The Trace Gas Orbiter successfully entered orbit but data indicates that the Schiaparelli probe crash-landed.
By Bryan Dyne, 14 October 2016
The past two years of data from Rosetta have provided an unprecedented understanding of comets and the formation of our Solar System.
By Don Barrett, 27 August 2016
The main differences between Earth and the newly discovered Proxima b are the very different physical characteristics of their respective parents’ stars.
By Joe Mount, 15 August 2016
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has enabled scientists to make the most precise measurements yet of dark energy and the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe.
By Bryan Dyne, 15 July 2016
During the past year, the NASA spacecraft has sent back images showing canyons, plains, mountains and evidence for liquid water on Pluto.
By Bryan Dyne, 5 July 2016
Juno’s mission will reveal the interior structure of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, and answer significant questions about its formation.
By Bryan Dyne, 29 June 2016
The prospects of finding another planet similar to our own are steadily increasing.
By Bryan Dyne, 13 February 2016
The discovery of gravitational waves is a vindication of science and the ability of human reason to tackle and overcome the most complex problems.
By Will Morrow, 12 February 2016
The LIGO Collaboration has published the first direct detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time.
By Bryan Dyne, 29 September 2015
The dark streaks observed on Mars are most likely salt deposits left behind from liquid water flows across the Martian surface.
By Don Barrett, 25 July 2015
At a time of the momentous discovery of planets around other stars, no money can be found to examine them.
By Patrick Martin, 17 July 2015
The flyby of Pluto by the spacecraft New Horizons—a scientific achievement of the first order—stands in contrast to the seemingly intractable social crises on our own planet.
By Bryan Dyne, 15 July 2015
The Pluto encounter is the first time that a spacecraft has ever visited the distant world.
By Thomas Gaist, 8 July 2015
The Pentagon is developing new space war capabilities and modernizing its nuclear arsenal to prepare for “great power struggles” against China and Russia.
By Bryan Dyne, 8 July 2015
Pluto, a world too small and distant to be seen in detail even with Earth’s best telescopes, is the farthest object explored by a space probe.
By Bryan Dyne, 22 June 2015
Over the course of its lifetime, Messenger has sent back more than 275,000 images of the planet Mercury.
By Bryan Dyne, 24 April 2015
While it is a public relations boon for NASA, Hubble's true importance lies in its continued and vast contributions to astronomy.
By Bryan Dyne, 28 March 2015
Recent evidence of nitrogen in the soil and of an ancient Martian ocean increases the likelihood that Mars once housed life.
By Bryan Dyne, 7 March 2015
Dawn is the first spacecraft to successfully orbit two extraterrestrial bodies.
By Patrick Martin, 8 December 2014
The unmanned test flight is only the first step in plans to resume US manned space flight by the year 2021.
By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 1 December 2014
An international telescope array entering operation has produced the first detailed image showing a planetary system in formation around a young star
By Bryan Dyne, 15 November 2014
The landing of Philae is an important reminder that humanity is capable of great things—capabilities that are constrained not by the productive capacity of mankind, but by the organization of society.
By Don Barrett and Bryan Dyne, 13 November 2014
With its touchdown on Wednesday, the Philae module became the first spacecraft to land on the surface of a comet.
By Don Barrett, 12 November 2014
Technical limitations cannot explain the failure of mankind to maintain a constant tempo of more and more ambitious explorations throughout the solar system and into interstellar space.
By Bryan Dyne, 1 November 2014
The two space disasters in the span of one week highlight the growing prominence of private companies in space missions.
By Patrick Martin, 25 September 2014
Mangalyaan is designed to showcase the growing technical abilities of the Indian Space Research Organization, especially following the failure of a Chinese mission to Mars in 2012.
A historic first in solar system exploration
By Don Barrett, 8 August 2014
The European Space Agency probe reached its target comet after a journey of more than ten years.
By Don Barrett, 4 July 2014
Over the past decade, Cassini has continuously returned data on Saturn's rings, numerous moons and the planet itself.
By Bryan Dyne, 21 April 2014
This is the first exoplanet detected that potentially has liquid water on its surface.
By Bryan Dyne, 14 April 2014
The remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, has its moments, but does not go far enough either in its exposition of science or its criticism of anti-science.
By C. Frederick Graves, 24 March 2014
The finding by astronomers working at the South Pole provides confirmation of a key aspect of the Big Bang theory, called the inflationary hypothesis.
By Douglas Lyons, 18 March 2014
The US military is planning to launch two satellites later this year and two more in 2016 to lay the basis for space hegemony over countries such as China and Russia.
By Bryan Dyne, 9 November 2013
Data from the Kepler spacecraft has established that Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars are common in the Universe.
By Bryan Dyne, 21 October 2013
The theoretical prediction and subsequent discovery of the Higgs boson has provided a greater insight into the origin of mass of subatomic particles.
NASA scientists announce historic leap in human exploration
By Kevin Reed, 4 October 2013
Voyager 1 has done science continuously for 36 years and spanning a journey of 19 billion kilometers.
By Bryan Dyne, 6 August 2013
During its mission so far, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found strong evidence that life similar to terrestrial microbes could have existed on ancient Mars.
A decade of infrared space astronomy comes to a close
By Don Barrett, 7 May 2013
On April 29, the Herschel Space Observatory exhausted its supply of ultra-cold liquid helium coolant, required to do its most sensitive observations.
By Bryan Dyne, 22 April 2013
Earth-like extra-solar planets have been found orbiting in the “habitable zone,” where radiation levels would permit the existence of the building blocks of life.
By Bryan Dyne, 28 March 2013
NASA is halting all public outreach programs as a result of $900 million in budget cuts forced by the sequester.
By Bryan Dyne, 24 October 2012
A planet with similar mass to the Earth has been found orbiting α Centauri B, our closest interstellar neighbor.
By Bryan Dyne, 28 September 2012
Voyager 1 and 2 have flown through the Solar System for 35 years and now Voyager 1 is on the verge of becoming humanity’s first interstellar spacecraft.
By Patrick Martin, 10 August 2012
Despite efforts to portray it as a triumph for “American values,” the successful landing of the Curiosity rover was the product of collective social effort and scientific planning that is the antithesis of profit-mad individualism.
By Bryan Dyne, 7 August 2012
Curiosity, NASA’s latest Mars rover, has successfully landed on target at Gale crater.
By Don Barrett, 5 June 2012
The Sun, the planet Venus and the Earth will line up so that Venus appears to pass across the disk of the Sun.
By Aidan Claire, 17 May 2012
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced a €1.1 billion unmanned mission to the ice moons of the planet Jupiter.
By Patrick Martin, 19 August 2011
The American manned space program is shutting down indefinitely, an event that has considerable historical significance.
By William Whitlow, 5 August 2011
The Herschel Space Observatory has identified a twisted ring of dust and gas at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. Parts of the ring have been seen before but this is the first time it has been observed as a whole.
By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2011
The NASA mission will study the two largest asteroids, first Vesta, then Ceres.
By Bryan Dyne, 6 June 2011
The planet Gliese 581 d is believed to be twice the mass of Earth, and could sustain liquid water on the side that faces its star.
By Patrick Martin, 25 March 2011
MESSENGER is the first space mission to Mercury in more than three decades.
By Bryan Dyne and Don Barrett, 18 March 2011
The physics research conducted in 2010 has allowed for the Large Hadron Collider to extend its operations through 2011 and 2012.
By Chris Talbot, 11 March 2011
Astronomical observation directly confirms the nebular hypothesis of Kant and Laplace.
By a reporter, 18 February 2011
The fly-by took place on February 14, some 210 million miles from Earth
By Chris Talbot, 28 January 2011
NASA has confirmed this month that its Kepler space observatory has now identified the smallest yet planet outside our solar system, exoplanet Kepler-10b.
By Patrick Martin, 22 January 2011
The two robot exploration vehicles have revolutionized scientific understanding of the planet.
By Chris Talbot, 10 December 2010
The new bacteria was discovered by a research team at Mono Lake, California.
By Chris Talbot, 18 November 2010
A giant structure around our Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
By Bryan Dyne, 19 July 2010
For the first time in the history of the search for planets outside the solar system, astronomers have observed a planet going from one side of its parent star to the other.
By Bryan Dyne, 13 March 2010
One month after its successful launch, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has begun capturing high-resolution images of solar phenomena at 10-second intervals.
By Bryan Dyne, 2 February 2010
NASA reported last month that Kepler, the first spacecraft dedicated to searching for planets beyond our solar system, has discovered its first five extrasolar planets. Though they are uninhabitable for Earth-like life—four of the five are even larger than Jupiter—their rapid discovery indicates that Kepler is fully capable of achieving its primary mission, finding a planet resembling Earth, in future years.
By Patrick Martin, 17 November 2009
The deliberate crashing of a US rocket into the surface of the Moon has produced evidence of “a significant amount” of water ice, a discovery that could revolutionize the exploration of the Earth’s satellite and even open the way to long-term settlement.
By Bryan Dyne, 23 September 2009
The first images from the repaired and upgraded telescope include a dazzling combination of planetary nebula, star clusters and galaxies.
By Hector Cordon, 15 August 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 has been designated by the International Astronomy Union and UNESCO in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discoveries of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler, two of the most important pioneers of modern astronomy.
By Patrick Martin, 20 July 2009
Forty years ago, two American astronauts became the first human beings to land on the Moon. This historic feat is all the more remarkable because manned exploration of Earth’s satellite inaugurated by Apollo 11 ended little more than three years later.
By Bryan Dyne, 23 June 2009
New instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope are currently undergoing calibration following the latest upgrade to the venerable scientific instrument.
By Bryan Dyne, 24 March 2009
On March 6, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration successfully launched the Kepler mission, which will observe 100,000 stars in search of smaller, Earth-sized planets.
By Hector Cordon, 1 December 2008
In a breakthrough expected to foster further discoveries, two teams of astronomers have for the first time directly imaged planets orbiting stars outside the solar system.
By John Chan, 13 October 2008
China's third manned space flight, launched on September 25 and returning to earth on September 28, was its most ambitious. Some 40 years after the Soviet Union and the US, China has become only the third country to conduct a space walk.
By Robert Stevens, 14 February 2005
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”—Sir Isaac Newton
New findings present theoretical challenge
By Peter Symonds, 17 March 1999
"There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V
By Joseph Bradshaw, 13 January 1997
Detailed discussion of his work and materialist outlook, and includes a focus on his attitude to Trotsky.