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.


Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world. Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen and helium, and its poles appear to be flattened because of its speedy rotation on its axis...

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world.

Mars, which is the fourth planet from the sun and the third smallest in size, got its name because of its rusty red color. People associated the planet's blood-red color with war, so they named it Mars, after the Roman god of war.

It's bigger, stronger, more efficient and more precise: The Delta IV Heavy is arguably the greatest rocket built to date. It can put 13 tons of satellite payload into its intended orbit with fuel to spare, and that's just the beginning.

The accounts are oddly similar: darting lights in a night sky, a hovering disc, radio interference. How can so many people be "mistaken"? Learn about the evidence for and against alien UFOs and check out some of the stranger tales of contact.

We know who won – top-runner SpaceShipOne. We know what the team receives for that accomplishment: $10 million and an obscenely gigantic trophy. But what about the story behind the contest? Learn about the rules, restrictions, red tape, test crashes, successful launches and the technological innovations that may get you into sub-orbit sooner than you think.

It's launch time for the first privately funded space flight. In the course of battle for the X Prize, a group called Scaled Composites has built and tested SpaceShipOne, a sub-orbital spacecraft intended to carry tourists on the ride of their life. Learn all about the craft.

Of course we want to go to Mars. Until we figure it out though, roving robots with names like Spirit, Opportunity, Sojourner and Curiosity are our best bet for digging up dirt on our nearest planetary neighbor. Want to go along for the ride?

Get a sneak peek (even before NASA scientists) at a new type of spacecraft that could be jolted through space by electromagnets.

Alien life forms would probably differ from those on Earth but still adhere to certain principles. Learn about astrobiology and the search for alien life forms.

Don't worry. We still love you, Earth, but we've been wondering about the possibility of life on other worlds for centuries, and now we have the tools to do some exploring. What have astronomers found so far?

SETI is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and it's dedicated to discovering signals sent to Earth from far, far away. Find out what would happen if an extraterrestrial were to make contact.

Project Mercury launched the first American into space. Have a look back at this historic mission.

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.

Scientists are now developing a new type of composite material that will allow spacecraft to repair themselves. Learn more about this amazing future technology.

As the International Space Station astronauts return to Earth after a three-month stay, learn about the effects of weightlessness on the body.

Using current rocket engine technology, a trip to Mars takes seven months. Fusion propulsion would cut that trip in half. Find out what fusion is and how it could speed up space travel.

Like many new technologies, light propulsion was originally conceived as a tool of war and national defense. But the "Star Wars" missile defense system may eventually send rockets, rather than missile-destroying lasers, into space.

I've heard that Russia's Mir station will be brought down out of orbit and crashed to Earth soon. How will they do that?

There are all kinds of telescopes, but you can make a simple one on your own. You'll need a few basic supplies and this step-by-step article. Get ready to star-gaze!

Mars Odyssey is NASA's latest Mars spacecraft, and it's going to the red planet in search of water. Learn how this orbiter could pave the way for manned missions to Mars!

Air-breathing rockets have the potential to dramatically lower launch costs and may make space lots more accessible to normal people. See how it will work!

In its nearly 30-year history, the space shuttle program has seen exhilarating highs and devastating lows. Learn all about the space shuttle program.

I would like to know how an astronaut, who is in a space suit for hours, can eat, drink and eliminate fluid- and solid-waste byproducts? What "mechanics" are built into the suit and how do they operate?

Have you heard about the new astronauts in town? They're dexterous, sensitive and don't mind doing dull and repetitive tasks in space a whit. They're robots. And one of them is shacking up at the International Space Station right now.