The US Air Force's Mysterious Space Plane Is Going Into Orbit Again

If all goes well, the US Air Force’s mysterious X-37B will blast off into space for the fourth time on 20 May. But for the first time, they’re actually telling us what the space plane will be doing — well, some of it anyway.

How Long Can You Stay In Space... And What Happens After That?

We don’t fully know the answer. But every crew that resides on the International Space Station provides us information that we use to adjust our protocols and that extends that period of time. Let’s take a closer look.

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovered 1000 Planets In Its Quest To Find Life

It was six years ago this month that NASA shot the Kepler telescope to the heavens on a galactic, planet-finding mission. Today, the space agency released this graphic that could also be Kepler’s mic-dropping resume.

The Mysterious Bands Crisscrossing Jupiter's Moon Europa May Be Sea Salt

The icy white surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa is streaked in yellow-brown, cracks made by the ocean below. These dark streaks hint at the chemical composition of the ocean, which is one of the top places to search for alien life. Here’s encouraging news: The dark colour may come from sea salt — the same stuff in our oceans.

This Is How You Inspect An Exotic Spacecraft Heat Shield

When NASA’s Orion crew module re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 2014 tests, it did so covered in 180 small squares of an advanced heat-shielding material called Avcoat. Now, NASA’s research scientists are inspecting them to find out how they worked. Yes, that does appear to be a vacuum cleaner.

Europa's Icy Surface Looks Like Cracked Glass

This is a false-colour image of Europa, Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon, a water-covered giant with the smoothest surface in the Solar System. And yet I could still swear I’m looking at the end result of a football going through a stained-glass window.

Carl Sagan's Solar Sail Is Ready For Its First Test Flight

“There’s just a tremendously exciting prospect called solar sailing. [It] travels on the radiation and particles that come out of the sun, the wind from the sun. Because it has a constant acceleration, it can get you around the inner part of the solar system a lot faster…than the usual sorts of rocket propulsion.”

13 Years Of Cloud-Watching Makes A Beautiful Visual Of The Earth

This beautiful map shows an average of all of the available cloud observations from the Aqua satellite. The shades of blue represent the cloudiness of our planet.

Dry Ice Is The Perfect Choice When You Have To Clean Your Space Mirror

Here are two engineers practising “snow cleaning” on a test telescope mirror for the James Webb Space Telescope. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the coolest way to dust off any surface without scratching it.

The Sun Celebrated Cinco De Mayo With This Beautiful Solar Flare

If you’re gonna celebrate, do it in style. Well, the sun did to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, spewing out this gorgeous solar flare that’s captured here in a variety of different wavelengths.

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