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.

Topics to Explore

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How Mars Works

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?

How Terraforming Mars Will Work

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

How Stars Work

When you look up at night and see thousands of stars, have you ever wondered what you are looking at? Learn what stars are and how they live and die!

How Space Planes Will Work

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

How Inflatable Spacecraft Will Work

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

How the Sun Works

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?

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.

How Solar Sails Work

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.

How big does a meteor have to be to make it to the ground?

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?

How Space Elevators Will Work

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.

What Is the Chandler Wobble?

The Chandler wobble is the change in the spin of 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.

Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?

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?

How are the Voyager spacecraft able to transmit radio messages so far?

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.

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.

How Satellites Work

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?

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?

How can I track the NASA's Starshine satellite?

Can you make a rocket engine using hydrogen peroxide and silver?

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?

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?

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

How are astronomers able to measure how far away a star is?

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.

Meteors burn up when they hit the Earth's atmosphere. Why doesn't the space shuttle?

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?

How do astronomers detect that a star has a planet orbiting it?

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?

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.

How Rocket Engines Work

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.


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