Category: Space Travel

Mars mission: how increasing levels of space radiation may halt human visitors

From surviving take off to having to rely on oxygen tanks to breathe in orbit, space travel is incredibly risky. But a huge hazard that we sometimes overlook is high energy radiation from sources both inside and outside the solar…

Does your DNA really change in space?

Results from an important NASA experiment – in which astronaut Scott Kelly spent one year in space while his identical twin brother Mark stayed on Earth – have started to come in. Last week, a number of media outlets reported…

Curious Kids: Where does the oxygen come from in the International Space Station, and why don’t they run out of air?

This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky! Where does the oxygen come…

Flying chariots and exotic birds: how 17th century dreamers planned to reach the moon

People have been dreaming about space travel for hundreds of years, long before the arrival of the spectacular technologies behind space exploration today – mighty engines roaring fire and thunder, shiny metal shapes gliding in the vastness of the universe.…

China and the US are both shooting for the moon – but don’t call it a space race

On the face of it, it looks like two of the world’s biggest powers are racing to get astronauts back on the lunar surface. China is aiming to land crew on the moon by 2036, while on the other side…

Secret weapon for space travelers: A steady diet of TV?

No one knows for sure what a long-range space journey will be like for the people on board. Nobody in the history of our species has ever had to deal with the “Earth-out-of-view” phenomenon, for instance. How will it feel…

Seeds in space – how well can they survive harsh, non-Earth conditions?

Will we someday colonize space? Will our children visit other planets? To achieve goals like these, we’ll need to crack one crucial challenge: how to feed ourselves for long periods away from Earth. A trip to Mars would take months,…

When the world is not enough: how to find another planet to live on

The seafaring explorers of the 16th century famously found many new homes for humanity in faraway, unknown corners of the world. While it may seem that such colonisation has since ground to a halt, some have argued it is only…

A 3D-printed rocket engine just launched a new era of space exploration

The rocket that blasted into space from New Zealand on May 25 was special. Not only was it the first to launch from a private site, it was also the first to be powered by an engine made almost entirely…

Mining the moon for rocket fuel to get us to Mars

Forty-five years have passed since humans last set foot on an extraterrestrial body. Now, the moon is back at the center of efforts not only to explore space, but to create a permanent, independent space-faring society. Planning expeditions to Earth’s…

Aliens, very strange universes and Brexit – Martin Rees Q&A

Martin Rees is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, at the University of Cambridge, the Astronomer Royal, a member of Britain’s House of Lords, and a former President of the Royal Society. The following interview was conducted at Trinity College,…

Life on Earth is used to gravity – so what happens to our cells and tissues in space?

There’s one force whose effects are so deeply entrenched in our everyday lives that we probably don’t think much about it at all: gravity. Gravity is the force that causes attraction between masses. It’s why when you drop a pen,…

NASA sent a twin to space to study nature versus nurture – and we’re starting to get results

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly recently spent one year in space, while his identical twin brother Mark (a former NASA astronaut himself) stayed on Earth. The mission was part of an important health experiment, looking at how being in space affects…

Possibly habitable planet found around our nearest neighbour star

With thousands of exoplanets discovered to date, it’s no wonder that we regularly come across “Earth-like worlds” around distant stars. But let’s face it: while it’s exciting that there are planets out there that may be able to harbour life,…