On March 16, 1926 in Auburn, Massachusetts, American engineer Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket. The flight lasted a mere 2.5 seconds and ended anticlimactically 181 feet away in a snow-covered cabbage field, but it would prove to be one of the most significant flights in history. Ninety-two years later, liquid-fueled rockets are the norm for spaceflight. Towering, explosive behemoths standing sixty times taller than Goddard's original rocket blast humans beyond the boundaries of Earth's atmosphere. Each launch is a true spectacle, offering testament again and again to humankind's collective potential to transcend barriers and reach new heights through brains and cooperation.
To say Robert Zubrin is passionate about Mars is a bit of an understatement. The 66-year-old aerospace engineer has devoted the better part of his life to thinking about and encouraging the exploration of Mars. In 1998, Zubrin co-founded The Mars Society, a Lakewood, Colorado-based nonprofit, and in the years since has become an outspoken advocate for the establishment of a permanent settlement on Mars — and a harsh critic of what he considers NASA's stagnant human spaceflight program. Recently, NBC News MACH spoke with Zubrin about why he feels so strongly that humans should colonize Mars and that NASA shouldn't build a lunar "spaceport" — and why Mars exploration is so deeply personal to him.
While NASA continues to explore the far reaches of the solar system for evidence of life, centers such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are working on scientific studies and technology that will help yield more definitive answers to the question of life — or the beginnings of it — beyond planet Earth. Christopher German, a geologist and senior scientist at WHOI, has spent his career studying hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, where organic life has been found to thrive in complete darkness, through a process called chemosynthesis, which is powered by the heat of the earth rather than the light of the sun. The superheated water shoots up through cracks in the ocean floor called hydrothermal vents, creating jets of hot gas and chemicals, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's description of the process.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. >> The birthplace of NASA's rockets lies in the land of cotton, hundreds of miles from Cape Canaveral's launch pads. From the first U.S. satellites and astronauts, to the Apollo moon shots, to the space shuttles and now NASA's still-in-development Space Launch System, rocket history inundates Huntsville, Ala. Huntsville's nickname, Rocket City, is thanks largely to Wernher von Braun and his team of fellow German-born rocketeers who settled here in the 1950s. The city has long been home to the Army's Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. But now it's attracting new generations of engineers, scientists and techies. Tourists come for the history. Kids and adults
As one of the engineers who helped build and launch America's first spacecraft, I've seen first-hand the evolution of getting into space. Today, massive rockets like Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy nail precise landings to recover their own booster rockets. That's astounding. Because of Musk and the space ambitions of several other billionaires, everything from asteroid mining to space medicine to space tourism is now being developed. A new “Gold Rush” into space has begun 60 years after America first entered the “Space Race”. I joined the effort to reach space in 1959 when, right out of college, I was hired by McDonald Aircraft. Contracted by NASA to develop the means to get into space we didn't have
On Aug. 9, Boeing invited members of the media into the company's facilities here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for a behind-the-scenes tour and a chance to meet the astronauts who will be flying the spacecraft as early as next year. NASA announced those “Commercial Crew Nine” astronauts on Aug. 3, during a ceremony at Johnson Space Center in Houston. [Meet the SpaceX and Boeing Astronaut Crews] Before Starliner becomes operational, it must go through a series of uncrewed and crewed test flights. During each of these, Starliner will launch and dock with the space station. While the capsule is in orbit, crews will evaluate the vehicle's systems, ensuring that everything is working as planned.
GENOA, Nev. — Exos Aerospace, a Texas company developing a reusable suborbital rocket, now plans to carry out a first flight of its vehicle in late August as it sets its sights on a follow-on orbital vehicle. In a statement, the company said it's planning a launch of its Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with GuidancE, or SARGE, rocket Aug. 25 from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The vehicle is a reusable sounding rocket capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms to the edge of space and back, although the company didn't disclose the payload for this initial "pathfinder" mission. "We are excited to enter into the testing phase of our SARGE platform at Spaceport America," John Quinn, chief operating
The Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California's history, releases clouds of smoke in new photos from NASA, and fires blazing over Canada are visible from a million miles away in space. The Mendocino Complex Fire, spurred onward by high temperatures, low humidity and winds, has continued to expand. As of Tuesday (Aug. 14), the fire had burned 534,410 acres and was 68 percent contained, according to a statement from NASA. The blaze is made up of two different fires, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire — as of Tuesday, the River Fire was contained but the Ranch Fire continued to spread north, NASA officials said. [In Photos: The 2018 California Wildfires as Seen from Space] The crew
Striking shots of the Milky Way under a thunderstorm, snow reflecting the northern lights, and the International Space Station flying between sun spots are among the photographs shortlisted for this year's Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year award. Astronomer and competition judge Dr Marek Kulula told Business Insider that astrophotography is both an essential scientific tool and "an invitation to take a pause from our busy lives and reflect on our place in the grand scheme of things." Many of the photographs in this collection didn't come easy. One of the Northern Lights in Swedish Laplan,d for example, was taken from a tiny cave in -15 degrees Fahrenheit. The competition winners
As we speak, NASA's OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft is hurtling through space at a speed of more than 300 miles per second. Its mission: sidle up alongside an asteroid and capture samples to return to Earth. At the same time, Japan's Hayabusa2 mission is maneuvering into place to sample a different asteroid. Scientists hope that these samples, however small, might offer glimpses into the origins of the solar system. Many things could go wrong with these daring missions. But if they succeed in carrying pristine pieces of rock back to Earth, these celestial souvenirs could change the way we see asteroids – and ourselves. Chemistry will be a major focus of the missions, but the movement of asteroids and whether
They have fascinated astronomers for decades, and could be the most recognizable feature of any other world in our solar system. Now NASA has released a stunning unseen image of Saturn's rings taken by its Cassini probe before it crashed into the planet on a kamikaze mission. It shows a look through the rings, revealed how translucent they are. Scroll down for video SATURN'S RINGS Saturn's rings consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometres to metres, that orbit the planet. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice, with a trace component of rocky material. They also contain features known as straw and propellers, which are caused by 'clumping ring
Liquid water may still flow on Mars, but that doesn't mean it's easy to spot. The search for water on the Red Planet has taken more than 15 years to turn up definitive signs that liquid flows on the surface today. In the past, however, rivers and oceans may have covered the land. Where did all of the liquid water go? Why? How much of it still remains? Observations of the Red Planet indicate that rivers and oceans may have been prominent features in its early history. Billions of years ago, Mars was a warm and wet world that could have supported microbial life in some regions. But the planet is smaller than Earth, with less gravity and a thinner atmosphere. Over time, as liquid water evaporated,