Views of a Dark World: Illuminating Unseen Infrastructure

For a global society highly dependent on complex technical, economic, and political systems, we manage to carry on our daily routines largely unaware of the hard and soft infrastructure—from pipes to policies—on which these systems rest. That is, until unexpected events, so-called black swans, illuminate the previously hidden pieces and surprise or unsettle us by their presence and function. Read More >>

Why it's Taking Satellites So Long to Find Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Today, we're hearing yet another report about a satellite that has spotted "potential objects," which might be floating wreckage from the vanished flight Malaysia Flight 370. Today, those images come from France. Yesterday, the images came from China. Last week it was an Australian bird making discoveries. Read More >>

Watching Planes Land From Space is Like a Video Game Brought to Life

Ever wanted to watch the world—in real-time HD—from space? Well prepare to experience what it'd be like if the world was your very own video game and check out a few planes landing at the Bejiing airport. It'll be the coolest planespotting you've ever done. Read More >>

Europe's Space Agency Launching Planet-Finder Satellite Observatory in 2024

The European Space Agency will be launching its PLATO mission in the distant space year of 2024, hunting for stars with life-supporting planets from the clear orbital skies. PLATO stands for Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars, which sounds best read to yourself in your finest whimsical Brian Cox impression. Read More >>

This Insanely-Loud Sound System Simulates the Roar of a Rocket Launch

Being shot into space puts spacecraft under extreme stress—but did you know that the sound of the rocket launch can damage a craft? Inside the Large European Acoustic Facility, engineers recreate the incredible noise of a launch to make sure satellites can survive it. According to the ESA, "no human could survive" the sound. Read More >>

monster machines
This Gravity-Sensing Satellite Peeks Beneath the Earth's Surface

The European Space Agency's GOCE satellite has been on a quest to study the Earth's interior, from space. Now the results are in, and a pioneering effort to map the Earth's gravitational field in high detail, has just been published in the journal Nature Geoscience. It's giving researchers an unprecedented look at our planet's mantle. Read More >>

How Swarms of Tiny Satellites Are Creating a Real-Time Google Earth

Google Earth is an amazing resource, but if there's one criticism that can be levelled at it, it's that it's permanently out of date due to the lag between when the data is acquired and when it appears online. But right now, a pair of Californian startups are putting swarms of tiny satellites into space, creating real time satellite imagery that will solve that problem. Read More >>

Cloudy With a Chance of Space Weather

Worried about an important satellite transmission? The Met Office will begin offering daily space weather forecasts to warn against solar storms that can knock out electric grids, radios, and satellite based tech like GPS. Solar storm activity follows a 11 year cycle, and we're approaching a maximum right now. [BBC] Read More >>

These Swarming Satellites are Mapping Earth's Magnetic Cloak

You can't see it with any ordinary telescope, but without the Earth's magnetosphere—the magnetic field that encases the planet, blanketing it against gusts of deadly solar radiation—life here would have been all but impossible. Yet for as vital as it is to our survival, we understand very little about the magnetosphere. And that's where these three gnarly robotic beasts come in. Read More >>

Inside the Incredible, Complex Factories Where Satellites are Born

Greg White has shot some of the most remote and unusual places in the world. The UK photographer has published photo essays on Chernobyl, Svalbard, and even CERN. But for his latest project, he discovered an alien world within the ordinary confines of his own country: The labs where satellites are built. Read More >>

Mars One Sending Robot to Prepare For Human Invasion of Mars

US aerospace company Lockheed Martin has joined the Mars One project, with the developer of the successful NASA Phoenix lander signing up to build the critical landing pod for the private Mars mission. Read More >>

Britain's Next-Gen Global Xpress Broadband Satellites Pop Into Space

The first of London-based Inmarsat's Global Xpress satellites has launched from the Baikonaur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with the aim being to provide a faster global network of broadband for governments, businesses, ships and aeroplanes by the end of 2014. Read More >>

The Fukushima Earthquake Actually Changed Earth's Gravity

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake, which caused the tsunami behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, disrupted more than man-made structures. The European Space Agency's GOCE satellite measured a significant change in Earth's gravity after the earthquake before falling out of the sky on November 11th. Read More >>

First Satellite Built by Secondary School Kids Is Heading to Space Tonight

Your coolest secondary school science project probably involved some baking soda and a paper mâché volcano, right? A little chemical reaction and a big mess? Well, kids these days are smarter than you. They're building satellites and sending them to space. Read More >>

Why Is China Testing Satellite-Hijacking Space Weapons?

Last week, China tested out a satellite that's capable of grabbing and capturing other satellites as they orbit the Earth. This normally wouldn't be such a big deal, except that it amounts to China conducting a weapons test in space. And that's worrisome—especially to the Pentagon. Read More >>

The Space-Based Internet Relay That Will Torch Google Fibre Has Launched

With an average global broadband connection speed of just 3.1 Mbps, the internet has become one enormous bottleneck for those that send large amounts of data across it. At that speed, a 100 GB file would take around three days to transfer completely, eons too long in a digital era measured by millisecond pings. But a new double-duty satellite launched yesterday could cut that transfer time to just 90 minutes. Read More >>


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