Today’s Historic SpaceX Rocket Launch Scrubbed Due To Technical Issues

Today, SpaceX was to launch its Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Launch Complex 39A for the first time. The mission was originally scheduled to happen last year from a different NASA platform but was rescheduled after a Falcon 9 exploded on the launch pad. Unfortunately, SpaceX was forced to push the launch to tomorrow. Read More >>

These 17 Crowdsourced Minor Planet Names Are an Absolute Travesty

The International Astronomical Union has named 17 minor planets as part of its NameExoWorlds contest. Looking at the winning monikers — which include such dreadful titles as “Miguelhernández” and “Thunder Bay” — it’s now painfully clear that the system of naming celestial objects is broken. Read More >>

NASA’s Juno Mission Suffers a Frustrating Setback

NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft hasn’t been able to catch a break lately. This past October, Juno suffered a malfunction with a pair of helium valves, causing NASA to delay an engine burn that would have brought the spacecraft into its “science orbit.” Today, after months of evaluation, NASA announced that it has decided to forgo that engine burn entirely. Juno will remain in its current 53.5-day orbit for the rest of its mission, which isn’t the worst news, but it’s not great either. Read More >>

Scientists Are Sending a Lethal Pathogen to the Space Station This Weekend

On Saturday, February 18th, a SpaceX Dragon capsule will shuttle a superbug into space that kills more people each year than emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, and homicide combined: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA. It’s on behalf of a study conducted by NASA and biomedicine company Nanobiosym, but I can’t help but feel like this was Elon Musk’s idea for a science fiction spec he’s working on. Read More >>

The Most Bullshit Missions to Mars, Ranked

For decades, Mars has entranced humans, including Matt Damon. Our cosmic neighbour, located some 34 to 249 million miles away, is an enticing destination in part because of its mysterious history—but mostly because Earth is an especially terrible place to be right now. Read More >>

Planet Nine Just Got An Unexpected New Team of Hunters

Since Pluto was infamously demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, some astronomers have turned their attention to finding the true Planet 9, a hypothetical, Neptune-sized world that orbits the Sun at least a few hundred times further out than Earth. While there’s no shortage of ideas about what Planet 9 could look like—or what it may have experienced throughout its life—so far, no one has been able to spot this elusive world. Read More >>

The Winners of NASA’s Space Poo Competition Are Full of Ideas 

For years, space poo has been handled by NASA the old-fashioned way—nappies. But as the agency gears up to send humans into deep space, it needs a new method that can handle an emergency situation in which an astronaut may have to go longer periods in a poo-filled suit. Today, the ingenious winners were announced. Read More >>

Why the Most Controversial 2020 Mars Rover Landing Site Could Also Be the Most Exciting

After much anticipation, NASA has finally released a shortlist of landing sites for its Mars rover mission slated for July 2020. The three finalists are Northeast Syrtis, which may have been warmed by volcanic activity, the Jezero Crater, which could be the remnants of a Martian lake, and Columbia Hills, which NASA’s Spirit lander explored in early-to-mid 2000s. Though Jezero is reportedly the favourite among NASA scientists, in this case, it’s the underdog that could be our best shot at finding hints at past or present life on the Red Planet—which is exactly what the 2020 mission seeks to do. Read More >>

NASA is Sending a Game of Thrones-Inspired Robot Into Space

Who would have guessed a little slice of Westeros would make its way to the final frontier? On Saturday, February 18th, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry NASA’s “three-eyed” Raven technology module to its destination just outside the International Space Station (ISS). Once there, Raven will use its sensors to collect information about incoming and outgoing spacecrafts so that ultimately, NASA can develop navigation technology for autonomous rendezvous in space—something that’s a lot easier said than done. Read More >>

An Enormous Exoplanet Is Having a Strange Influence on Its Star

There’s a star about 370 light-years from here that’s pulsating in response to its unusually heavy planetary companion. It’s the first time that astronomers have seen this sort of interaction between a planet and its host star. Read More >>

The Biggest Heart in the Solar System Has an Incredible Origin Story

Even if you’re feeling a bit lonely here on Earth, there is one heart that belongs to you, way, way out there in the cosmic void. Sure, it’s three billion miles away on an icy, airless rock, but don’t let the details get you down. Read More >>

India Is Poised to Set a New Space Record Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will blast off from India’s southern spaceport with 104 satellites on board. Should all go well, the Indian Space Research Organization will establish a new satellite delivery record for a single mission—and by a long shot. Read More >>

An Alien Hunter on the Risks and Rewards of Landing on Europa

On Friday, February 10th, NASA announced that a team of 21 scientists had delivered their first report on a lander mission to explore the possibility of life on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. The NASA-employed Science Definition Team (SDT) recommended that NASA send a probe as soon as 2031, about a decade after an already-planned Europa flyby mission. Read More >>

Scientists Need Your Help Discovering the Next Exoplanet

Calling all space cadets: Today, a group of researchers led by the Carnegie Institute of Science released an impressive database containing 61,000 so-called Doppler velocity measurements of 1,600 nearby stars. The team is graciously inviting you to use their data to find the next exoplanet. Go forth and become drunk with power. Read More >>

NASA Plans to Drill Toward Europa’s Crust In Search of Life

Since early 2016, a NASA-employed Science Definition Team (SDT) of 21 researchers has been crafting a plan to send a robotic probe to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, located over 390,000 miles from Earth. On 7th February, that team delivered their first report to NASA, detailing their recommendations for that future mission, which will search for life by drilling toward the subterranean ocean scientists strongly suspect to exist beneath the icy moon’s surface. The team hopes to launch as soon as 2031. Read More >>