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.

SpaceX. Blue Origins. Private companies are creating rockets like the Falcon-9 and New Shepard to revolutionize our relationship with space.

Pluto was ready for its closeup. Mars has water. Dark matter matters. Our species keeps reaching for the stars, and 2015 was no exception...

The history of space exploration is full of firsts: first animal in space, first human on the moon, first probe to reach mars. But as they say, you've got to look before you leap. So what was the first telescope launched into space?

There's a lot to see in the universe. But while regular telescopes only reveal a tiny fraction of all the awesome stuff out there, infrared telescopes are here to save the day, opening our eyes to limitless galactic wonders.

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?

Even NASA's best-designed space telescopes can break, become obsolete or simply complete their missions. But what happens then? Are they shipped off to some great cosmic graveyard, or are they given a renewed lease on life and scientific glory?

Why do we need the JWST? Isn't Hubble already doing a good enough job staring into space? What's the difference between the two? With space telescopes, it turns out, it's not always about what you see, but how you look at it.

Infrared technology has tons of uses — from remote controls to night vision goggles. But how can it possibly benefit a space telescope like the James Webb Space Telescope?

Think of the oldest things on Earth: the Pyramids, dinosaur bones, the Grand Canyon. Pretty old, right? Well, maybe compared to our own lives, but compared to the oldest things we've seen through a space telescope, they're basically brand-new.

In space, no one can hear you scream -- because, you know, sound can't travel in a vacuum. Despite this, scientists have discovered that outer space itself is letting out a pretty loud roar -- at least, in a manner of speaking. So what gives?

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?

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.

Yes, we have some amazing inventions thanks to space exploration, and we're curious about life on other planets. But the cosmos also touches a deeper part of our psyches.

It'll journey 1 million miles from Earth and look deeper into space than ever before. It may even observe light from the very first stars. Ready to meet the mighty Webb?

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

He was responsible for some of humanity's greatest achievements, and his name now graces a massive NASA project. But how did a law degree lead to being a space pioneer?

We don't know the answer to how many civilizations might exist in the universe. But we do know the factors that allow life on Earth. Are there other planets that fit the bill? Oh yes indeed.

Those eager beavers who want to sign up for the one-way ticket to Mars had better read this first. You might appreciate how special – and rare – life on Earth really is!

Catching a speeding comet, let alone landing on one, requires trick-shot billiards on an astronomical scale. Crazy as it sounds, the European Space Agency might just pull it off.

Fling away your Fodor's! Toss your TripAdvisor! We have the only guided tour of outer space you'll need -- a foray into the final frontier so ambitious it will make the Voyager probes' Grand Tours look like daytrips.

You probably self-identify as an Earthling, right? What if we told you that a few seed-bearing meteorites from Mars may have changed that little fact?

Hollywood has no problem coming up with space cops who enforce the law in the wild black yonder. In reality, space regulation is a wee bit trickier.

Sure, the shuttles may be sitting around in museums now, but our journey to space is far from over. Get ready to meet some serious contenders in the new space race.

Do you know what that spacecraft is? It's one of the old Soviet space shuttles, and it never would have gotten built without the help of one the tiny countries on our list. Can you guess which one?

Blasting off from the shoulders of giants, China is slowly but steadily getting ready to conquer the next frontier: space. Here are 10 reasons why we're convinced it really might happen.