Space

Explore the vast reaches of space and mankind’s continuing efforts to conquer the stars, including theories such as the Big Bang, the International Space Station, plus what the future holds for space travel and exploration.


Since the 1960s, we've been captivated by our planetary neighbor. How different is the planet next door, and what have we learned about it so far, compliments of the Phoenix Mars Lander and other spacecraft?

The thought of terraforming Mars is one of those ideas so outrageous that it just might work! Learn how it will work!

Space planes are likely to be the replacement for the space shuttle. Learn how they will work!

Inflatable spacecraft will revolutionize satellites and space habitats. Learn how they will work!

The sun warms our planet every day, provides the light by which we see and is necessary for life on Earth. But what is it exactly, and what will happen when it burns itself out?

Why does the moon look so much bigger when it is near the horizon than when it is high up in the sky? This question has been pondered for hundreds if not thousands of years, and is commonly referred to as the moon illusion.

What is a solar sail? How can you use sunlight to move a spacecraft in outer space? In this article, HowStuffWorks will show you how solar sail technology works, take an in-depth look at the Cosmos-1 mission and find out what solar-sails mean for future space travel.

Where I live it is pretty common to see "shooting stars" -- streaks of light in the sky at night. How big is a shooting star? Do they land on earth or do they burn up? Do they land on the ground as meteorites?

A space shuttle launch is expensive -- about $10,000 per pound. The LiftPort Group is developing a new system that could cut the cost down to about $400 per pound. Find out how a space elevator might be your ticket into orbit.

The Chandler wobble is the change in the spin of the earth on its axis. Think of the wobble you see in a toy top when it first starts spinning or slows down. Its "poles" do not spin in a perfectly straight line.

If I was on the moon and the earth was black (no lights were on) and a flashlight was turned on facing the moon, would I see the light? If I couldn't, would there be any way to detect any residual matter that came from the light on Earth or does light die after a certain distance?

The Voyager spacecraft use 23-watt radios. This is higher than the 3 watts a typical cell phone uses, but in the grand scheme of things it is still a low-power transmitter. The key to receiving the signals is therefore not the power of the radio, but a combination of three other things.

Until its fiery landing in the Pacific Ocean in Mach 2001, the MIR space station was one of the largest objects orbiting the planet, so large that it was especially easy to see -- if you knew what you were looking for.

Thousands of satellites fly overhead every day, helping us with things like weather forecasts, scientific research, communications, TV broadcasts (and maybe some surreptitious spying). How much do you know about these eyes in the sky?

How do satellites orbit the earth? Why don't they fall straight to the ground like everything else?

How can I track the NASA's Starshine satellite?

At a drag race, I once saw a rocket car that was supposedly powered by spraying hydrogen peroxide on a silver mesh. The resultant reaction produced huge amounts of pure white smoke and apparently enough thrust to propel the car rapidly down the track. Does hydrogen peroxide really react with silver that way?

Is it possible to see (with a telescope) the stuff left behind on the moon by the Apollo astronauts to prove whether the missions were real?

If "nature abhors a vacuum," then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere?

It turns out that measuring the distance to a star is an interesting problem! Astronomers have come up with two different techniques to estimate how far away any given star is.

In science, we are learning about the atmosphere. It protects us from meteors because it burns them up. So, why doesn't the space shuttle burn up?

According to an article I read, astronomers are able to detect that star has a planet orbiting it by observing the "wobble" of the star induced by the gravitational pull of one or more planets. At the tremendous distances involved, what is the technology that enables these discoveries?

Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space? If you didn't know that the Earth is a sphere, there are three common observations you could use to convince yourself that it is.

Believe it or not, the hardest part of space exploration is getting a spaceship off the ground. Explore the basics of propulsion and learn about both solid-fuel and liquid-fuel rocket engines.

When nature calls, you have to listen. But when you're in microgravity, going to the bathroom can be a major challenge. How do astronauts get the job done?