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Space

28 July 2020

Space dust fossils are providing a new window onto Earth’s past

To be a meteorite hunter means to search for the unutterably rare. On any given patch of land the size of Wales, an average of two olive-sized space rocks will fall in a year. Scientists and collectors are forced to go to extreme lengths to find them, searching in deserts and Antarctica where they have a chance of spotting the stones against a plain background. But if that sounds like a challenge, then how about hunting meteorites that fell to Earth millions of years ago?
02 July 2020

How life on Earth could help us find life on Mars

In our continuing search for other life in the universe, one place has always looked promising – Mars. It is a rocky planet like Earth, orbiting the same star, and at a distance where water could have been present on the planet.
19 May 2020

The food and water systems astronauts will need to travel to places like Mars

If humans are to travel to distant destinations in space like the moon or Mars, they’ll need ways to live for long periods of time. And one of the key challenges of that includes how to have safe food and water to eat and drink when far from Earth.
10 April 2020

Q&A: Human spaceflight is a risk worth taking, says ESA head

Human spaceflight is dangerous, but worth the risk, according to Jan Wörner, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA). But even so, there are limits – like Mars. Robots, as proxies for human exploration, can take on dangerous missions by travelling to places astronauts are not yet capable of reaching, but they can never replace what we learn from putting women and men in space, according Wörner.
30 March 2020

Making satellites safer: the search for new propellants

Developing new propellants for satellites to replace toxic hydrazine would make launching and handling satellites safer but it also requires disrupting current systems, according to researchers.
16 March 2020

The mission to build a reusable launcher for Europe

The race is on to develop a European reusable rocket that can ensure Europe's autonomous and cost-effective access to space while increasing the sustainability of launches.
10 March 2020

Docking, rendezvous and Newton’s third law – the challenge of servicing satellites in space

If you want to build or fix something in space, you might think you’d need a human to do it. But what if you didn’t? What if robotic spacecraft could be used to refuel satellites in orbit, add new instruments to outdated machinery and even build entire structures while in space?
02 March 2020

Q&A: ‘We need to improve how we keep track of objects in space’

We need to improve how we keep track of objects in space and predict where they will go in order to avoid collisions in Earth’s increasingly crowded orbit, according to Dimitra Stefoudi, a space law researcher from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
26 February 2020

How astronomers are piecing together the mysterious origins of superluminous supernovae

When a massive star reaches the end of its life, it can explode as a supernova. But there’s a unique type of supernova that’s much brighter that we’re just starting to understand – and which may prove useful in measuring the universe.
07 February 2020

Five things we’re going to learn from Europe’s Solar Orbiter mission

At 23.03 (local time) on Sunday 9 February, Europe’s newest mission to study the sun is set to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US. Called Solar Orbiter, this European Space Agency (ESA) mission will travel to within the orbit of planet Mercury to study the sun like never before, returning stunning new images of its surface.