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Space


Analysis and insight on advances in space exploration and technology. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important space trends.

Moon Settlers: Scientists Say Plants Will Grow Best in Lunar ‘Soil’ From Fresh Impact Craters

What do you need to make your garden grow? As well as plenty of sunshine alternating with gentle showers of rain—and busy bees and butterflies to pollinate the plants—you need good, rich soil to...

A New Space Academy in Colorado Will Train Private-Industry Astronauts

There are still plenty of technical hurdles to cross to achieve a vibrant space economy, but one less-discussed barrier to progress could be space-ready manpower. That’s why a group of astronauts, engineers, and entrepreneurs...

Astronomers Discovered the Brightest Radio Pulsar Outside Our Galaxy

When a star explodes and dies in a supernova, it takes on a new life of sorts. Pulsars are the extremely rapidly rotating objects left over after massive stars have exhausted their fuel supply. They...

Blasting Out Earth’s Location in Hopes of Reaching Aliens Is Controversial—Two Teams of Scientists Are Doing It Anyway

If a person is lost in the wilderness, they have two options. They can search for civilization, or they could make themselves easy to spot by building a fire or writing HELP in big...

Space Blocs: The Future of International Cooperation in Space Is Splitting Along Lines of Power on Earth

Even during times of conflict on the ground, space has historically been an arena of collaboration among nations. But trends in the past decade suggest that the nature of cooperation in space is shifting,...

Oldest Fossils Yet Suggest Life on Earth Began Much Earlier Than We Thought

On an outcrop of exposed volcanic and sedimentary rock on the eastern shores of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec, researchers have unearthed what may be the earliest fossilized life forms ever discovered. These microbial...

Astronomers Just Spotted the Most Distant Star Yet. How Much Further Back in Time Could We See?

The Hubble Space Telescope has observed the most distant star ever seen: Earendel, meaning morning star. Even though Earendel is 50 times the mass of the sun and millions of times brighter, we would...

‘Odd Radio Circles’ That Baffled Astronomers Are Likely Explosions From Distant Galaxies

In 2019, my colleagues and I discovered spooky glowing rings in the sky using CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope in Western Australia. The rings were unlike anything seen before, and we had no idea what...

The UK May Build a £16 Billion Solar Power Station in Space. Here’s How It Would Work

The UK government is reportedly considering a £16 billion proposal to build a solar power station in space. Yes, you read that right. Space-based solar power is one of the technologies to feature in the...

Astronomers Think They’ve Just Spotted an ‘Invisible’ Black Hole for the First Time

Astronomers famously snapped the first ever direct image of a black hole in 2019, thanks to material glowing in its presence. But many black holes are actually near impossible to detect. Now another team...

Look Up: NASA’s Asteroid Tracker Now Searches the Entire Sky Every 24 Hours

Outside of watching movies like Don’t Look Up or Armageddon, most of us don’t think much about the possibility of an asteroid or a comet slamming into Earth and ending (or at least upending)...

Astronomers Suggest a Surprising New Way to Detect Alien Megastructures

How do you power a super advanced alien civilization? Soak up a star. We harness the power of the sun using solar panels. What if you were to scale this idea to astronomical proportions? Surround...

A Mystery Object in Space Flashed Brilliantly for 3 Months—Then Disappeared

“Holy sharks, Batman, it’s periodic!” I exclaimed on Slack. It was the first lockdown of 2021 in Perth, and we were all working from home. And when astronomers look for something to distract themselves from...

How Will the Universe End? Scientists Seek an Answer in the Biggest Galaxy Map Yet

This week, astrophysicists presented the biggest map of the universe yet. Having nailed down the position of 7.5 million galaxies, the map is larger and more detailed than all its predecessors combined. And it's nowhere...

How Could the Big Bang Arise From Nothing?

READER QUESTION: My understanding is that nothing comes from nothing. For something to exist, there must be material or a component available, and for them to be available, there must be something else available....

Some Black Holes Are Anything But Black—and Scientists Found 75,000 of the Brightest Ones

When the most massive stars die, they collapse to form some of the densest objects known in the universe: black holes. They are the “darkest” objects in the cosmos, as not even light can...

These Robotic Factories Will Make Supermaterials in Space

By rocket, drone, and giant centrifuge, humans are getting better at hurling just about anything into space. There's a Tesla Roadster cruising around somewhere beyond Mars, and William Shatner went suborbital this year. Meanwhile,...

How the Launch of the James Webb Space Telescope Will Rest on a Nail-Biting Knife Edge

When the immense sound of the Ariane 5 rocket rumbles across Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, it will signal the end of a journey decades in the making. Perched atop the rocket will be...

Scientists Counted 20 Billion Ticks of an Extreme Galactic Clock to Test Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

For more than 100 years, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity has been our best description of how the force of gravity acts throughout the universe. General relativity is not only very accurate, but ask...

Up to Half of Earth’s Water May Come From Solar Wind and Space Dust

Water is vital for life on Earth, and some experts say we should all drink around two liters every day as part of a healthy lifestyle. But beyond the tap, where does our water...

Scientists Model What Would Happen if a Mini Black Hole Punched Through the Moon

The lunar surface is a record of the solar system's violent origins. But look closely enough and we may find something even more exotic there—the cratered remains of an impact with a black hole...

The Moon’s Surface Has Enough Oxygen to Sustain 8 Billion People for 100,000 Years

Alongside advances in space exploration, we’ve recently seen much time and money invested into technologies that could allow effective space resource utilization. And at the forefront of these efforts has been a laser-sharp focus...

How Bacteria Could Make Rocket Fuel on Mars for the Return Trip to Earth

While getting humans to Mars is likely to be one of the grandest challenges humanity has ever undertaken, getting them back could be even tougher. Researchers think sending genetically engineered microbes to the Red...

The Most Powerful Space Telescope Ever Built Will Look Back in Time to the Dark Ages of the Universe

Some have called NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope the “telescope that ate astronomy.” It is the most powerful space telescope ever built and a complex piece of mechanical origami that has pushed the limits...

Scientists Find the First Known Planet to Have Survived the Death of Its Star

How will the solar system die? It’s a hugely important question that researchers have speculated a lot about, using our knowledge of physics to create complex theoretical models. We know that the sun will...

This Asteroid May Be the Shard of a Dead Protoplanet—and Have More Metal Than All the Reserves on Earth

It’s often said Earth’s resources are finite. This is true enough. But shift your gaze skyward for a moment. Up there, amid the stars, lurks an invisible bonanza of epic proportions. Many of the materials...

NASA’s Mission to Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid Launches Next Month

In March of this year, a quarter-mile-wide asteroid flew through space at a speed of 77,000 miles per hour. It was five times farther from Earth than the moon, but that’s actually considered pretty...

A Ferocious Asteroid Strike Demolished an Ancient Middle Eastern City 3,600 Years Ago

As the inhabitants of an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam went about their daily business one day about 3,600 years ago, they had no idea an unseen icy space rock was...

The Biggest Simulation of the Universe Yet Stretches Back to the Big Bang

Remember the philosophical argument our universe is a simulation? Well, a team of astrophysicists say they’ve created the biggest simulated universe yet.  But you won’t find any virtual beings in it—or even planets or...

A Quarter of Sun-Like Stars Eat Their Own Planets, According to New Research

How rare is our solar system? In the 30 years or so since planets were first discovered orbiting stars other than our sun, we have found that planetary systems are common in the galaxy....

Newly Classified Hycean Exoplanets Could Accelerate the Search for Alien Life

In the search for life beyond our planet, scientists have long focused on conditions similar to those found here. This makes sense. Earth is the only place we know life exists. But in recent years,...

New Study Suggests Moon Lacked a Magnetic Field for Nearly All Its History

Surrounding Earth is a powerful magnetic field created by swirling liquid iron in the planet’s core. Earth’s magnetic field may be nearly as old as the Earth itself—and stands in stark contrast to the...

‘Dancing Ghosts’: A New, Deeper Scan of the Sky Throws Up Surprises for Astronomers

Scanning through data fresh off the telescope, we saw two ghosts dancing deep in the cosmos. We had never seen anything like it before, and we had no idea what they were. Several weeks later,...

Big Bang: How We Are Trying to ‘Listen’ to It—and the New Physics It Could Unveil

Exactly what happened at the beginning of the universe, 14 billion years ago, is one of the greatest mysteries in physics; there’s no simple way to probe it. That’s because, in its early stages,...

New Type of Stellar Explosion Could Explain the Mystery of the Milky Way’s Elements

Until recently it was thought neutron star mergers were the only way heavy elements (heavier than zinc) could be produced. These mergers involve the mashup of the remnants of two massive stars in a...

‘Laws of Nature Turned up to 11’: Astronomers Spot Two Neutron Stars Being Swallowed by Black Holes

One of the best things about being an astronomer is being able to discover something new about the universe. In fact, maybe the only thing better is discovering it twice. And that’s exactly what...

Fermi Paradox: Here’s What an Alien Civilization Settling the Galaxy Looks Like

There are tens of billions of galaxies in the universe, each with tens of billions of stars. Many stars have planets, and a healthy fraction of those are rocky and can sustain liquid water...

CERN: How We’re Probing the Universe’s Origins Using Record Precision Measurements

What happened at the beginning of the universe, in the very first moments? The truth is, we don’t really know because it takes huge amounts of energy and precision to recreate and understand the...

These Mice Were Born From Sperm That Spent Almost 6 Years in Space

As inconceivable as it still sounds, the wheels have been set in motion for humans to one day reach and colonize Mars. There’s already a detailed design for the first Martian city, SpaceX is...

NASA Is Returning to Venus, Where It’s 470°C. Will We Find Life When We Get There?

NASA has selected two missions, dubbed DAVINCI+ and VERITAS, to study the “lost habitable” world of Venus. Each mission will receive approximately $500 million for development and both are expected to launch between 2028...

When Will the First Baby Be Born in Space?

When the first baby is born off-Earth, it will be a milestone as momentous as humanity’s first steps out of Africa. Such a birth would mark the beginning of a multi–planet civilization for the...

SpaceX Will Have an Offshore Spaceport Ready for Starship Launches as Soon as Next Year

A year ago SpaceX made headlines after posting job openings for operations engineers. The task at hand? To help design and build an offshore rocket launch facility—aka, a floating spaceport. Between the job postings...

Japan Wants to Build Intercontinental Passenger Spaceships by the Early 2040s

A booming space industry is making it easier than ever to get into orbit, but Japan is betting that it could revolutionize terrestrial travel, too. The country’s science ministry has unveiled a plan to...

See the Wild Plans for Nüwa, a Proposed City on Mars Built Inside a Giant Cliff

Despite being able to land rovers on Mars and fly helicopters there, it seems humans are still somewhat far away from actually setting foot on the red planet. But for an endeavor as unprecedented...

SpaceX Rocket Flies 10 Times as Reusability Gets Surprisingly Routine

Industry pioneer SpaceX has hit a significant milestone after one of its Falcon 9 rockets completed its 10th mission. The ability to reuse its launch vehicles has been at the heart of the company’s...

Massive Flare Seen Close to Our Solar System: What It Means for Chances of Alien Neighbors

The sun isn’t the only star to produce stellar flares. On April 21, 2021, a team of astronomers published new research describing the brightest flare ever measured from Proxima Centauri in ultraviolet light. To...

What Would We Do If an Asteroid Hit Earth? NASA Is Simulating It This Week

About a month ago, an asteroid that was estimated to be at least a quarter-mile wide zoomed past Earth at a speed of 77,000 miles per hour. Though it was 1.25 million miles away...

A Helicopter Flew on Mars for the First Time. A Space Physicist Explains Why That’s Such a Big Deal

On Monday of this week, the Ingenuity helicopter—which landed on Mars with the Perseverance rover in February—took off from the Martian surface. More importantly, it hovered for about 30 seconds, 3 meters above the...

New Warp Drive Research Dashes Faster-Than-Light Travel Dreams—but Reveals Stranger Possibilities

In 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a radical technology that would allow faster-than-light travel: the warp drive, a hypothetical way to skirt around the universe’s ultimate speed limit by bending the fabric of reality. It...

Watch a Robot 3D Printing the Rocket for Relativity Space’s First Orbital Launch

Relativity Space has the audacious goal of 3D printing 95 percent of a rocket and sending it to orbit. Getting to space is hard. But completely reinventing how rockets are manufactured at the same...

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