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.

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

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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

By Kevin Bonsor

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

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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.

By Kevin Bonsor

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?

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.

By Kevin Bonsor

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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!

By Kevin Bonsor

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!

By Kevin Bonsor

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

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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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.

By Kevin Bonsor & Nicholas Gerbis

How long can a human survive in outer space? In science fiction movies, this seems to be an area of much creative license, with some people exploding instantly, and others surviving for nearly a minute without long-term ill effect. I read once that one's blood would boil, but I read elsewhere that this isn't true. So what is it?

Like a firefighter or a rock star, an astronaut is one of those jobs kids say they want to have when they grow up. If you're still serious, we can tell you what it takes.

By William Harris

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We are seeing a lot more space suits now that the international space station is occupied. Learn how space suits work and why they cost $12 million each!

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has ranked as one of man's greatest achievements in space or otherwise. What does the future hold for the great observatory, and will its space telescope successor measure up to Hubble?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Sarah Goddard

Antimatter has the ability to store incredible amounts of energy in a very small space. See how it will work.

By Kevin Bonsor

Imagine waking up in the morning, looking out your window and seeing the planet Earth below you. What would it be like to live in space? Find out all about the International Space Station.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari, a telecommunications entrepreneur, became the first female space tourist and the fourth space tourist overall. Could you be next? Find out what's in the works to get you to space.

By Kevin Bonsor

Asteroid mines could become an incredible source of building supplies for a colony on the moon. Learn how they will work!

By Kevin Bonsor

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?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Nicholas Gerbis

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

By Kevin Bonsor

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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!

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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

By Kevin Bonsor