Our Cosmos is a Spacecraft Graveyard

While it’s common to think of the universe as dark, mysterious and infinite, it’s less often that we consider all the human-made space junk floating around nearby. The cosmos is a graveyard of spacecraft—each with its own story. These defunct vessels “glide silently in Earth’s vicinity” with “their mission to chronicle the wonders of the universe long ended.” The Kepler, for instance, trails our planet since running …

The Fastest Spacecraft Ever, NASA’s Parker Space Probe

The fastest manmade object ever, NASA’s Parker Space Probe, hurtled toward our Sun at 700,000 kilometers per hour. Its mission: to learn about particle and solar wind acceleration in the Sun’s corona, its shifting outer layer of plasma. It was launched in August 2018 and had to overcome many obstacles even before takeoff—including weight, size, and preparation for radiation and acute variation in temperature. Watch the “Science …

Silent for 13 Years, a NASA Spacecraft Makes Communication

The IMAGE spacecraft, an acronym of Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration, launched back in March 2000 to observe activity in the Earth’s magnetosphere. It ceased communication with NASA in December 2005. Entirely unexpected and sudden, after years of successful data-gathering, the disappearance was considered quite mysterious. IMAGE was believed to be damaged beyond repair and the mission ended. That is until amateur astronomer Scott Tilley …