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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.

Spaceport America Ramping Up For Projected Space Tourism Boom

It was just over a century ago that the Wright brothers developed a flying machine that lifted them into the air, which would evolve into today's safer-than-ever airline industry that saw 37.5 million business...

Musk: To be a Multi-Planetary Species, We Need To Develop Reusable Rockets

To be a multi-planetary species, Musk believes we have to develop fully reusable rockets. If every rocket launched 1,000 times, instead of just once, capital costs would plummet from $50 million to $50,000 per launch (not counting operational expenses) and could drive per pound launch costs down 100-fold.

NASA’s Trial Polar Rover Studies One of the Harshest Places on Earth

NASA recently concluded a successful six-week test of a prototype polar rover near the highest point in Greenland, where the robotic vehicle traversed icy terrain in temperatures of minus 30 Celsius to help scientists learn more about how ice sheets are faring in the changing climate — without having to break for hot cocoa.

Kickstarter Project to Send Thousands of Personal Spacecraft to the Moon

NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft famously carry a pair of golden records encoded with images and sounds from Earth. Now, a new project hopes to similarly send discs to space. Only these discs are slightly more advanced. In fact, they’re spacecraft in their own right; thousands will fit into a CubeSat; and each one carries "computing power comparable to that of the Voyager spacecraft and Apollo flight computers."

Google Shares Details of Futuristic New Office Park at NASA

It’s no secret Google’s building a high-tech portfolio beyond search, from self-driving cars to artificial intelligence. Out of the limelight, however, they’re building something else entirely—a new campus at NASA Moffett Field. Though the firm has been rather secretive about their new Bayview campus, a panel of designers and architects in involved in the project recently gave a talk at NASA, a stone’s throw from Singularity University. Down for the afternoon, I popped in to hear the gospel.

Tiny CubeSat Satellites Spur Revolution In Space

Ever dream of seeing the horizon’s curve from orbit? Or maybe just sending your smartphone into the wild blue to snap a shot for Instagram? For most of us, that first one may be out of reach for a little while longer—but option two? Closer than you think. Thanks to years of microchip and sensor miniaturization, we are now making useful satellites shockingly tiny and affordable.

NASA Puts Up Cash To Create Pizza-Making 3D Printer

In an attempt to not only expand the menu for Earth orbiters, but to also bring us one step closer to every Trekkie’s dream of a food replicator, NASA is funding a project that is aimed at creating a 3D printer to serve astronauts up some pizza.

Google Buys Quantum Computer for Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA

To some of us, wicked fast quantum computers seem like the stuff of theory and some far off future. Not so if you work at Google or NASA. In a sign the technology is creeping closer to practical use, Google, NASA, and the non-profit Universities Space Research Association (USRA) recently announced formation of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab and seeded it with a brand new D-Wave quantum computer.

Diamandis And Planetary Resources To Build First Crowdfunded Space Telescope For Public Use

How do you get kids interested in science? Strike that. How do you get kids and adults interested in science? One: Involve them in it. Two: Awaken awe. Asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources’ new Kickstarter aims to accomplish both by giving the public control over one of the firm’s ARKYD space telescopes—to snap a selfie or two with its camera arm or to plumb the cosmic depths with the scope’s optics.

78,000 Apply for A One-Way Ticket to Colonize Mars

Ever dream of living out your days on a hostile desert world, exiled from the garden planet of your youth? Who do you think you are? Paul Atreides? Well, maybe it’s not so strange. 78,000 other Earthlings (and counting) share your dream of exile. Since late April, the not-for-profit organization, Mars One, has been flooded with applications for a one-way ticket to colonize Mars in 2023.

Orbital Trash a Problem With No Immediate Solution, Growing Exponentially

Our technology can get us to space, but once there, we still aren’t too flexible. Earth orbit is clogged with debris because we simply don't have an easy way to clean it up. According to the European Space Agency (ESA) there are 17,000 tracked objects in orbit (and a total of 29,000 objects greater than 10 cm) of which only 7% are working satellites. About ten objects a week pass within two kilometers of each other, and ESA initiates three collision avoidance maneuvers yearly.
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Spectacular Video Of First Virgin Galactic Rocket Test Going Supersonic Ten Miles High

In October 2004, Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize when their spacecraft SpaceShipOne achieved suborbital flight—the first private organization to do so. Now, eight and a half years later, the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, achieved supersonic speeds after its pilots successfully fired the rockets at 47,000 feet. The video speaks for itself.

This Is What Happens When You Wring Out A Wet Cloth In Space

The weightlessness of space makes it a unique place to conduct experiments that can’t be done on Earth, like growing perfect protein crystals, finding out how rat memory changes in zero G, and finding out what happens when you ring out a soaked washcloth.

The Moon Is A Natural Platform For Asteroid Mining, Detection, And Deflection

In the near future we could have technology to not only watch out for asteroid threats, but to deflect these planet killers and harvest their vast resources. We can turn swords into ploughshares on a cosmic scale. In fact, Earth has a natural ally in this effort – the Moon. The Moon will also play a vital role in the future of Earth’s planetary protection, one day supporting robotic sentinels that will watching the skies, able to rapidly respond to asteroid threats. This is far from science fiction.

NASA to Launch 13,000 Square Foot Kapton Solar Sail in 2014

Navigating space isn’t easy—there’s no air, water, or earth to push your spacecraft in another direction. Rocket fuels and gravity assist have been our best tools for over fifty years. But in 2014, NASA...

Space Tourist Dennis Tito Announces Quest for Mars by 2018 – Can He Do It?

Seems like every other week there’s a new plan to push humans a little farther into space. Last week, Dennis Tito—the world’s first space tourist—announced the formation of his foundation, Inspiration Mars, and pledged to partially fund a 2018 manned flight (a married couple to be precise) to circle the Red Planet and return to Earth. The project will cost at least $1 billion, and Inspiration Mars will seek philanthropic and potentially government funding in addition to Tito’s contribution.

Infinity Aerospace Wants to Open Source Space Research With ArduLab

While ambitious private space outfits like SpaceX and Planetary Resources grab headlines, a quieter grassroots transformation is underway. To that end, Infinity Aerospace recently launched their first creation, ArduLab, at the Kairos 50 on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. ArduLab is a plug-and-play microgravity research module, NASA approved, and ready to be installed in the International Space Station out of the box—starting at just $1,999.

Diamandis: Tricorder X Prize Offers $10 Million to Build Star Trek Inspired Health Scanner

It’s hard to imagine a Star Trek away team without their tricorders waving back and forth, scanning for life forms. Was there anything those things couldn’t do, and might we primitive 21st century humans develop a similarly powerful handheld diagnostic technology? The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, announced in 2012, officially opened registration in early 2013 to find out.

Interview: Diamandis’ Planetary Resources To Claim High Value Asteroids With Robotic Beacons

Once Planetary Resources has figured out how to get to an asteroid and how to mine it—what will they mine? Near-Earth asteroids contain abundant iron, nickel, platinum group metals, and water. If space is to be the “final frontier,” we’ll need to live off the land—and asteroids are a low gravity (in other words, cheap) way to harvest materials.

The Awesomeness of Satellites

On October 4th, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, and with it, the space age. By today’s standards Sputnik wasn’t much of a satellite. It was the about the size of a beach...

Space Exploration on the Cheap: Kickstarter Sensation NanoSatisfi Launches in 2013

While information technology may be advancing exponentially—the pace of the space race has seemed glacial since the 1970s. By now, most of us are used to a top-down, monolithic model of space exploration with...

European Union To Spend $900M Building Super Lasers More Powerful Than Any Yet Constructed

On the coattails of CERN's success with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Europeans and the world at large have another grand science project to be excited about: the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project involving 40 research...
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Check Out This Time-Lapse Video Of Photos Taken From The International Space Station

When I was growing up the coolest way to share in the experience of space exploration was to call a ‘1-900’ number and listen in on the communication exchange between the space shuttle and...

New Era In Space Exploration Taking Off: Entrepreneurs Step In Where Big Government Left Off

This post is written by Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, VP of Operations for Singularity University. She spent two decades in the private space sector working on program development and operations for companies and organizations like Space Adventures,...

The Era Of Commercialized Space Has Begun – SpaceX, Musk Triumphant

The era of commercial spaceflight has begun. Early Friday morning SpaceX, a private company with less than 2,000 employees and and average age of 30, entered a domain that had until now been – literally...
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Better, Faster, and Cheaper – These Robots Are Invading Car Manufacturing Plants

Does anyone doubt that it really is just a matter of time before human assembly line workers are a thing of the past? And automakers are doing their best to gain a competitive edge...

Movie Theaters Ramp Up For The Next Big Thing: Satellite Delivery Of Digital Films

Technology is taking over Hollywood, and in more ways than digital films and 3D movies. This year's CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theater Owners, featured numerous shop talks and footage...

Brain Scanner Being Used To Give Stephen Hawking A New Voice

World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking has given so much to the world of physics. Now he’s doing what he can for biology – and perhaps he will benefit from the experience himself in a...

Curiosity, NASA’s Latest Rover, is Halfway To Mars But It’s U.S. Planetary Science That’s In Danger

The Mars Science Laboratory mission, with a rover affectionately named Curiosity, reached a milestone this past Sunday, April 1, as it hurtled across the halfway point at over 10,000 miles per hour on its 254 day-long...

A Dozen Years In The Making, Highest Resolution Picture Of Universe Released

At the last dim horizon, we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and...
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40 Years After Moon Mission Made it Famous, NASA Recreates Iconic Picture of Earth – Blue Marble 2012

If you want to see a pretty part of Earth, step outside. If you want to see all the pretty parts of Earth, step into outer space. NASA recently released the first piece of...

Shrugging Off Dependence On US, China Launching Its Own GPS Satellites

What would it mean to lose GPS? Not only would we resort to that archaic method of writing down and following directions, but many common technologies such as ATM machines, cellphones, even wristwatches are...

Senstore Wants To Make A Tricorder That Monitors The Entire Body

What a great place that Singularity University is. Smart, motivated people coming together to make the world a better place through technology. This past summer a group of talented students put their heads together...
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NASA Launches Next Generation Weather And Climate Satellite (video)

In the early morning hours of Friday, October 28, the NPP satellite blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. To the profound relief of the engineers that have witnessed continual project setbacks...
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A First Look Inside Virgin Galactic’s Commercial Spaceship

If there is one dream that captures the imagination of most little children, it is that of space travel. Countless books, movies, and heroes (both real and fictional) are available to feed that dream....
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Satellite Images of North Korea Prison Camps Find 200,000 Living as Slaves

No one really knows how bad it is, but it's much worse than I thought possible. Piecing together information from satellite images and eye witness accounts, Amnesty International suspects that the horrific concentration camps...

NASA Building Network of Smart Cameras Across the US

A major government agency is looking to blanket the US with cameras that will never stop their surveillance. But don't worry privacy pundits, those cameras will be spying on the sky, not civilians. NASA's...
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Stunning Video of Shuttle Launch As Seen from iPhone on Airplane

NASA's launch last Thursday was the end of an era - the final mission for space shuttle Discovery. Yet a timely video captured on a mobile phone shows that it was also the beginning...

While NASA’s Robonaut 2 Is In Orbit, Its Hype Has Escape Velocity

Sorry to kill your buzz, NASA and GM, but your jointly developed humanoid robot, the Robonaut 2, is way over hyped. The 300 pound bot, which consists of a torso, two arms, and shiny...

Stephen Hawking Says God is Unnecessary – New Book

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has tackled describing black holes and the history of the universe. Now it seems he wants to explain the very nature of existence. In his latest book, The Grand...

Dextre Robot On Space Station Almost Ready For Duty

"The most sophisticated robot every built...is a handyman." ---Canadian Space Agency After more than two years, the International Space Station is very close to bringing its Dextre robot completely online. Built by Canada, Dextre is...

Singularity University Launches Class of 2010 With Opening Ceremony

Monday evening Singularity Hub was in attendance as Singularity University hosted the opening ceremonies to officially welcome a class of 80 incredible students to its 2010 summer session.   An impressive cast of attendees,...

New Age of Exploration: Robots Swarm into Land, Sea, and Space

Has the age of human explorers come to an end? There are several projects underway that are sending robots where humans dare not tread. Scientists are ramping up to deploy hundreds of aquatic drones...

How Does Stephen Hawking Talk? (video)

There are few scientists that have captivated the public interest as much as renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking. His theories about black holes, his book A Brief History of Time, and his appearances on...

Dennis Hong Presents His 8 Award Winning Robots (Video)

How many amazing robots can one team create? Dennis Hong and his crew at Virginia Tech are trying to find out. Their Robotics & Mechanics Laboratory (RoMeLa) continually produces ground breaking robots with strange...

GM and NASA Create Robonaut and Mounds of Hype

The press seems to love the new robonaut from GM and NASA, but is it really all it is hyped to be? The Robonaut 2 looks like a human from the waist up, with...

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