SPACE EXPLORATION

Space exploration is a broad topic covering many facets of deep-space and planetary science. Learn about space probes, Mars Rovers, SETI and other out-of-this-world subjects.
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Is there any way to see satellites that are in orbit?

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.

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  • Are we looking for aliens in the wrong places?

    Are we looking for aliens in the wrong places?

    If you take cosmic dust and add plasma ... do you get life? Findings suggest that plasma crystals may be the key to one of the universe's greatest mysteries: Is there life out there? See more »

  • Are we not the only Earth out there?

    Are we not the only Earth out there?

    Not by a long shot, self-centered earthlings. So the question is, exactly how many Earth wannabes are cruising around the universe and what are they like? See more »

  • Blastoff! The Big, Bad Space Launch System Quiz

    Blastoff! The Big, Bad Space Launch System Quiz

    On Sept. 14, 2011, NASA announced plans for the Space Launch System (SLS), the driving force behind the American space program for the foreseeable future. How much do you know about the future of American spaceflight? See more »

  • Branson or Bezos: How well do you know the players in the new space race?

    Branson or Bezos: How well do you know the players in the new space race?

    Consult your racing forms, ladies and gentlemen, because the space race, once dominated by nationalized thoroughbreds, has now opened up to private ponies. Try your luck at our new space race quiz and find out if you’re a punter or a piker. See more »

  • Can amateur astronomers spot exoplanets?

    Can amateur astronomers spot exoplanets?

    It's not just NASA pros staring into the night sky. Lots of skilled amateurs are out there pointing their telescopes into the great beyond. But can the average space enthusiast actually make a critical discovery? See more »

  • Can we detect water on exoplanets?

    Can we detect water on exoplanets?

    Looking for water on faraway planets doesn't involve spotting rivers or oceans. Instead, scientists keep an eye out for what types of light a planet emits to figure out whether a planet might be life-friendly. See more »

  • Does a planet need continents to support life?

    Does a planet need continents to support life?

    Land ho! Scientists are discovering exoplanets -- those potentially capable of supporting life -- at a breakneck pace. One thing on the checklist: continents. See more »

  • Exploring Mars

    Exploring Mars

    NASA recently sent Curiosity, its latest exploration rover, to Mars to teach us more about our neighboring Red Planet. Learn about the exploration rovers and the reasons for our exploration of Mars. See more »

  • How do satellites orbit the Earth?

    How do satellites orbit the Earth?

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

  • How do space telescopes avoid orbital debris?

    How do space telescopes avoid orbital debris?

    After the release of the movie "Gravity" in 2013, many have wondered whether space debris poses a threat to all our wonderful toys in orbit — especially our space telescopes. So is space garbage a threat, and if so, what can we do about it? See more »

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