space

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

Early risers (very early on the U.S. West Coast) who had clear skies might have caught a view of today's lunar eclipse — the third in a cycle of four that had its premiere nearly a year ago.

Those of us on the East Coast (this writer included) got to see a partial eclipse before the moon set in the west.

With recent news headlines proclaiming that dozens of people have been selected as finalists for a Martian astronaut corps, it might seem like a trip to this alien world might finally be close at hand.

But let's have a little reality check. What are the chances that we really will see people on the Red Planet in the next couple of decades?

Surely, you've heard of making food in space. Astronauts have to eat, right?

But perhaps you hadn't considered making space out of food. Navid Baraty, a freelance photographer in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, arranges common pantry items to create strikingly accurate-looking photos of an imaginary cosmos.

"I'm a really big space geek," Baraty tells The Salt. "I'll look at NASA images or Hubble images to see how things were placed in the sky, and I try to make things as realistic as possible."

Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET.

This morning, a plucky NASA spacecraft has entered the orbit of one of the oddest little worlds in our solar system.

Ceres is round like a planet, but really small. Its total surface would cover just a third of the United States.

Dragon, SpaceX's version of an astronaut taxi to the International Space Station. The company announced it would be opening up a new office in Seattle for 1,000 employees.  Boeing is also getting in the space technology game with a rival spacecraft.
Wikipedia Photo/NASA

Marcie Sillman talks with GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop about the new frontiers of space technology and what that industry will mean for Seattle. 

SpaceX via Twitter

Billionaire Elon Musk says he’s setting up an engineering center in Seattle that could have 1,000 workers within three or four years.

Musk is CEO of Space Exploration Technologies. He made his name as co-founder of PayPal and designer of the Tesla electric car. He made the announcement in a conference call with journalists at Bloomberg.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

Humans have never landed anything on a comet's surface. That may change tomorrow.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised to send out a small probe to land on a comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta spent 10 years chasing the comet before arriving in August.

KUOW Photo/Jimmy Lovaas

Tonight is the first night in the new moon’s cycle, which means the moon is almost completely dark.

That’s great news if you want to look at the night sky through a telescope.

”Full moons are really disastrous for observing because they light up all the atmosphere, they’re very bright. It’s one of the worst light polluters,” said Jonathan Fay.

Space is a dangerous place. That message resonated again on Monday, when the Russian Federal Space Agency — Roscosmos — announced that a team of experimental geckos tasked with copulating while in orbit did not survive their journey.

"All geckos, unfortunately, died," the space agency said in a terse statement.

Roscosmos is launching an investigation into the exact circumstances surrounding the geckos' deaths, but the mission seemed star-crossed from the start.

Flickr Photo/NASA Goddard Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with astrophysics professor Adam Frank about what a plasma cloud is, the chances of one hitting Earth and what that means for our civilization. Spoiler: All the answers are scary. 

After a decade of travel, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at a comet early this morning.

"Ten years we've been waiting in the car to get to scientific Disneyland," ESA's Mark McCaughrean said. "It's a wonderful moment."

In November of 1969, astronaut Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the moon. His mission, Apollo 12, arrived at the moon a few months after Apollo 11 made the first moon landing. That historic event celebrates its 45th anniversary Sunday.

Apollo 12 got off to a dramatic start: A storm rolled in as the rocket was scheduled to launch. Bean, with fellow astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon, sat inside the spacecraft while the bad weather threatened the operation.

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