If the US government plans to stop funding the International Space Stationat the end of 2024, there’s a big question: what happens next? Hand the keys over to the private sector, apparently. The Washington Post has obtained a NASA document outlining a plan to privatize the ISS as part of a Trump administration budge request. The plan would request funding (starting with $150 million in fiscal 2019) to foster “commercial entities and capabilities” that could fill the ISS’ role, potentially including “certain elements or capabilities” of the station itself.
HALF A CENTURY ago, astronomers observed their first pulsar: a dead, distant, ludicrously dense star that emitted pulses of radiation with remarkable regularity. So consistent was the object’s signal that astronomers jokingly nicknamed it LGM-1, short for “little green men.”
The James Webb Space Telescope took decades to build. It won’t launch until 2019 at the earliest, it’s slowly but surely making its way toward that distant date, after which it will finally get a chance to capture those first glimpses of galaxies forming in the early universe.
As things here on Earth become increasingly more Theater of the Absurd, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft whizzes millions of miles away, unaffected by our intra-human squabbling. After 20 years of heading toward and exploring the Saturn system, on September 15th, Cassini will plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere, broadcasting the whole thing like a tearfully beautiful sequel to The Iron Giant.
Last week, the Larsen C Ice Shelf gave birth to a trillion pound baby, an iceberg now dubbed A68. The latest observations suggest this big berg has moved 1.5 miles from its starting point, and that it’s already starting to crack up.
Window-rattling, dog-spooking sonic booms are all that have stood between you and dramatically faster supersonic commercial airline travel for decades.
Humanity hasn’t done a ton of good in our short stint on Earth, though we’ve definitely succeeded at turning this planet into a trash pit of despair. Today, researchers from NASA’s Kepler space telescope team announced we might get to bring our garbage party to another planet—perhaps a bunch of them.