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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.

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...

Hear Black Holes and Galaxies Sing in These Captivating NASA ‘Sonifications’

The universe is brimming with light that's invisible to us humans. The electromagnetic spectrum extends far beyond visible light in both directions. Longer wavelengths include radio waves and shorter wavelengths reach into X-rays and gamma...

These Satellites Capture Ultra High-Res Images Even When It’s Dark or Cloudy

In late January of this year, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set a new record. It carried 143 spacecraft, the most ever launched at once, into orbit. It was SpaceX’s first SmallSat Rideshare mission...

Extraterrestrial Life Could Be Hiding in Our Galaxy’s Interior Ocean Worlds

In the search for extraterrestrial life, liquid water is crucial. Life as we know it can’t exist without water. This fact has led scientists to look for twins of our planet around other stars...

Origin of Life: Lightning Strikes May Have Provided Missing Ingredient for Earth’s First Organisms

The origin of life on Earth is one of the most complex puzzles facing scientists. It involves not only identifying the numerous chemical reactions that must take place to create a replicating organism, but...

The Ghost of Ancient Earth’s Magma Oceans Found in Greenland Rocks

Our planet’s history is written in its rocks. You can traverse eons by brushing your fingers over the layers of a cliff wall. But beyond a certain point, the record goes blank. Though the...

Applications Are Open For a Free Trip Around the Moon on a SpaceX Rocket

Elon Musk wants to send people to space—lots of them. Besides the 100,000 he envisions sending to Mars each time it’s closely aligned with Earth, he’s determined to make commercial space flight a thing...

The Game Has Changed: Why We Need New Rules for Space Exploration

The first human expedition to Mars could take place within five to ten years. The crew will be made up mainly of volunteers, with the goal of establishing a colony on the red planet...

‘7 Minutes of Terror’: The Technology Perseverance Will Need to Survive Landing on Mars

This month has been a busy one for Mars exploration. Several countries sent missions to the red planet in June last year, taking advantage of a launch window. Most have now arrived after their...

See a Billion-Year Dance of Earth’s Tectonic Plates in 40 Seconds

Modern life can feel dizzying, like everything is motion and change. But there are some constants we set our lives against: the relative position of the stars wheeling above, the mountaintops below, and the...

These Distant ‘Baby’ Black Holes Seem to Be Misbehaving—and Experts Are Perplexed

Radio images of the sky have revealed hundreds of “baby” and supermassive black holes in distant galaxies, with the galaxies’ light bouncing around in unexpected ways. Galaxies are vast cosmic bodies, tens of thousands of...

We’re Teaching Robots to Evolve Autonomously—So They Can Adapt to Life Alone on Distant Planets 

It’s been suggested that an advance party of robots will be needed if humans are ever to settle on other planets. Sent ahead to create conditions favorable for humankind, these robots will need to...

Thousands More Satellites Will Soon Orbit Earth—We Need Better Rules to Prevent Space Crashes

In recent years, satellites have become smaller, cheaper, and easier to make with commercial off-the-shelf parts. Some even weigh as little as one gram. This means more people can afford to send them into...

Earth Has Stayed Habitable for Billions of Years. Exactly How Lucky Did We Get?

It took evolution three or four billion years to produce Homo sapiens. If the climate had completely failed just once in that time, then evolution would have come to a crashing halt and we...

How Many Galaxies Are in the Universe? A New Answer From the Darkest Sky Ever Observed

Ordinarily, we point telescopes at some object we want to see in greater detail. In the 1990s astronomers did the opposite. They pointed the most powerful telescope in history, the Hubble Space Telescope, at...

NASA Will Soon Choose One of These 3 Landers to Go Back to the Moon

America’s going back to the moon. It’s been over 50 years since the Apollo missions, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon in 1969. Both NASA...

The World’s Oldest Story? Astronomers Say Global Myths About ‘Seven Sisters’ Stars May Reach Back 100,000 Years

In the northern sky in December is a beautiful cluster of stars known as the Pleiades, or the “seven sisters.” Look carefully and you will probably count six stars. So why do we say...

SETI: New Signal Excites Alien Hunters—Here’s How We Could Find Out if It’s Real

The $100 million Breakthrough Listen Initiative, founded by the billionaire, technology and science investor Yuri Milner and his wife Julia, has identified a mysterious radio signal that seems to come from the nearest star...
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‘The Secret History of the Moon’: The Epic Story of How the Moon Was Made

Where did the moon come from? The leading theory suggests the moon was formed after a massive collision between a Mars-sized planet Theia and Earth in the early days of the solar system. Theia was...

‘WTF?’: Newly Discovered Ghostly Circles in the Sky Can’t Be Explained by Current Theories, and Astronomers Are Excited

In September 2019, my colleague Anna Kapinska gave a presentation showing interesting objects she’d found while browsing our new radio astronomical data. She had started noticing very weird shapes she couldn’t fit easily to...

Autonomous Ravn X Drone to Launch Satellites From Airport Runways

Huntsville Alabama’s Lowe Mill arts and entertainment center offers studios to artists of all kinds—sculptors, bookbinders, woodworkers. It’s the kind of place where, in more normal times, visitors might wander open studios and take...

SpaceX Starship Prototype Exploded, but It’s Still a Giant Leap Towards Mars

Private company SpaceX launched SN8, a prototype of its Starship spacecraft, designed to go to the moon and Mars, on December 10. Its short flight attracted a great deal of attention for its final...

Lunar Gold Rush Could Create Conflict on the Ground if We Don’t Act Now—New Research

When it comes to the moon, everyone wants the same things. Not in the sense of having shared goals, but in the sense that all players target the same strategic sites—state agencies and the...

Breakthrough NASA Study Discovers Surprising Key to Astronauts’ Health in Space

Thanks to SpaceX, traveling beyond Earth now seems pretty tangible for us commoners. True, a ticket to the International Space Station currently runs $55 million (ouch). Technologically, however, the triumphant splashdown of SpaceX’s astronaut-carrying Dragon...

Solar Power Stations in Space Could Be the Answer to Our Energy Needs

It sounds like science fiction: giant solar power stations floating in space that beam down enormous amounts of energy to Earth. And for a long time, the concept—first developed by the Russian scientist Konstantin...

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