The Explorer

By Leland Melvin | S.T.E.A.M: Combine Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math to inspire creative solutions.

Jeff Bezos beats Elon Musk's SpaceX in the reusable rocket race

Blue Origin, the private space firm owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has just dropped a huge gauntlet in the race to develop a reusable rocket. It just launched its New Shepard space vehicle (video, below), consisting of a BE-3 rocket and crew capsule, to the edge of space at a suborbital altitude of …

Jeff Bezos

National Book awards: a good night for politics, poetry and short stories

“I have waited 15 years for this moment,” said Ta-Nehisi Coates as he accepted the non-fiction National Book award for Between The World and Me, his bestselling memoir about being black in America, in New York on Wednesday night.

His fiction counterpart, Adam Johnson, took a slightly different tone …


Great Big Story

Want To Make A School Better? Get Kids To Show Up

At 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, you'll find Mark Gaither standing on Gough Street in southeast Baltimore. He's outside Wolfe Street Academy, the neighborhood elementary school where he's the principal.

Gaither has a huge umbrella in case it rains, and thick gloves for when it snows. He's here …


A giant 'spooky' space rock is flying close to Earth on Halloween, but that's not the most disturbing part

'Tis the season for fear and fright.

And you won't want to miss this Halloween's rare sight!

On Saturday at 1:05 pm ET, an asteroid that could be up to 2.5 times taller than Trump World Tower in New York City will zip past Earth at a blazing speed of 78,000 miles per hour.

Upon its closest approach to …


Mars' Mysterious South Pole Revealed in New Photo

The icy south pole of Mars takes center stage in this amazing close up from a larger photo of the Martian south pole and cratered Hellas Basin region …


Spacecraft Will Sniff Enceladus's Underground Ocean On Wednesday

Could alien life survive on Saturn's moon?

By some accounts, Enceladus is the number one place in our solar system to search for life. Sure, it looks icy on the outside, but it's what's on the inside that counts. And what's inside Enceladus is a liquid ocean that may contain more water than all of …


Great Big Story

NASA is the reason airplane wings bend up at the end

NASA Aeronautics has significantly improved modern aircraft. They continue to play an integral role in the modern commercial airplane experience improving safety, speed, and accuracy.

Produced by Jacqui Frank


Great Big Story

Are Those Really Alien Megastructures? How Astronomers Plan To Investigate

There's something weird happening around a faraway star.

Skywatchers have noticed something "bizarre" in the data from the planet-hunting Kepler telescope. Located 1,480 light-years away, a star named KIC 8462852 has something big circling around it, and it's not a planet.

Usually when a planet …

Seven Nat Geo Photographers on Witnessing Climate Change

This month, as National Geographic’s climate change issue hits the stands, we asked seven photographers to share their most poignant images that reflect climate change. From direct examples to more tangential manifestations, we were interested in seeing how climate change was visible in the work …

Climate Change

Great Big Story

How To Become An Astronaut

NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II ventured further away from the confines and safety of his ship than any previous astronaut ever has when he tested …

The hypnotic, kinetic wind sculptures of Anthony Howe

Kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe creates abstract, organic sculptures from various metals and polymers. He is based in Eastsound, Washington state.

For …


Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) CubeSat Mission

The Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) CubeSat mission aims to demonstrate how legacy simulation technologies may be adapted for flexible and effective …


What real scientists and astronauts think of 'The Martian'

The film adaptation of Andy Weir's sci-fi novel "The Martian" opens everywhere on Friday, October 2, and it has amassed a huge fan following — partly thanks to the book's scientific accuracy and realism.

But does the story's dedication hold up under scrutiny from real scientists and astronauts?

We've …


How Physicists Quantum Teleported Information Over 62 Miles

Bringing us one step closer to a quantum Internet

Teleportation isn’t real, at least not as it’s depicted in fiction. No one has ever made a material object -- be it Harry Potter or Captain Kirk -- physically disappear from one location and reappear elsewhere. But information … that’s a different …

NASA's wild new plan to hunt for life on Mars would test SpaceX in ways never done before

There are 99 Mars rocks on Earth, but they're not the kind that scientists need in order to resolve the all-too-intriguing mystery of whether there is — or once was — life on Mars.

So far, all efforts to answer this question have painted a picture of an ancient Mars once covered in water with a …


The 10 most important things in the world right now

Hello! Here's what you need to know for Friday.

1. Chinese stocks opened sharply higher on Friday, following Thursday's rally after days of major losses.

2. Up to 50 migrants were found dead in a truck in Austria on Thursday as European leaders were meeting in Vienna to discuss the deepening migrant …

U.S. Presidency

Voyager 1 Has Entered Interstellar Space

Watch NASA’s announcement on the Voyager spacecraft here.

In September 1977, Star Wars was a huge hit in theaters, the Bee Gees were on the brink of …


How Astronauts Dock at the Space Station

A wee-hours maneuver of a Soyuz spacecraft is critical for keeping things safe

One of the trickiest questions for a Soyuz spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (ISS) is where to park. The ISS may be larger than a football field, but it’s got only so many ways to get inside, and with …


Space's Top 40: How CubeSats are Revolutionizing Radio Science

Next time you tune in to public radio or the hottest Top 40 radio station, you'll be using some of the same tools NASA uses to unravel the mysteries …


Photos: Incredible images of the red planet from India’s Mars mission

India’s Mangalyaan—the world’s cheapest Mars mission—has sent back some stunning images of the red planet’s surface.

On July 19, the mission snapped images of Ophir Chasma, a massive canyon that is some 317 kilometres long and 62 metres wide. It is part of the Valles Marineris, a system of canyons …

Photography (India)

See a Newly-Released Image of Saturn’s Moon Dione

Despite the high-resolution images Cassini sent back, Dione remains a mystery to scientists

NASA released this never-before-seen image of Saturn’s moon Dione as the Cassini spacecraft said goodbye to it on August 17. Photos of the final encounter are expected to reach Earth in the next few …

Moon Missions

Will machines eventually take on every job?

Automation will continue to transform the global workforce, but taking an active role in that process will help us reduce the damages and increase the gains, finds Rachel Nuwer.

It’s a booming time to be a truck driver. According to data NPR compiled from the US Census Bureau, truck driving is …

Human Geography

Dark side of the moon captured by Nasa satellite a million miles from Earth

In an unusual treat for astronomers, and perhaps Pink Floyd fans, what is often known as the dark side of the moon has been captured, fully illuminated, by a camera aboard a Nasa satellite.

The series of images taken from Nasa’s Deep Space Climate Observatory show a view of the far side of the moon, …