Time to Go Swimming on Titan

NASA is considering its weirdest space mission yet – sailing a robot boat on the methane lakes of Titan, Saturn’s sixth and largest moon.

The project – which we like not just for its ambition but also for its codename, “TiME”, which stands for Titan Mare Explorer – is one of three on a shortlist for launch in 2016.

Titan is big, …

Shuttle Launch Delayed Again

The launch of Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center has been put back until next Sunday, May 8th, NASA said yesterday.

A last-minute fault has been traced back to power switches that operate heaters on a fuel line in the auxiliary power unit.

No, we don’t know exactly what that means, either, but it sounds pretty important.

The …

Penultimate Space Shuttle Liftoff Thumbs Up for Friday

So it’s come down to this: Two space shuttle launches until the entire fleet’s mothballed. Tomorrow’s launch of space shuttle Endeavour counts as second-to-last, before space shuttle Atlantis takes the stage in late June for the fleet’s swan song voyage.

(More on

Out of Gas and Stuck in Space? NASA May Have a Solution

You’re cruising round the moon, all engines go, having the time of your life, and then you notice your fuel needle’s jittering dangerously close to “E.” Tap-tap-tap, but no, it’s not stuck, and you’re about to discover how far past “E” the needle goes. What do you do?

Trade up for a spacecraft that uses a glass cockpit, for …

A Rose of Galaxies? NASA Rings In Hubble’s 21st Birthday

If space-based telescopes could tipple, they probably wouldn’t need to–not with images like the one above on tap. NASA’s celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 21st birthday (hey, it’s legal!) with an image that almost resembles starry petals on some vast and distant heavenly rose.

You’re in fact staring at a shot of two …

NASA Ponies Up Megabucks For Commercial Space Rides

You’re in love, bored with five star eats, and filthy stinking rich. Why not grab your date and hop a space bus to the International Space Station?

Hold that thought, but NASA just made it a smidge less improbable, tossing some $269 million in funding to commercial companies like Boeing and SpaceX, all of them hoping to someday …

Don’t Count the Space Shuttles Out, They Could Fly Again

By the close of summer, NASA’s Space Shuttles will fly no more. The program that began with the launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981 is due to close with the launch and return of Atlantis on June 28, 2011. The program’s total missions when 2011 ends will be 135. Next steps: Official retirement, sendoff parties, and plans to dismantle …

Will the Space Shuttle Fly if the Government Shuts Down?

You’re probably all too aware of what could happen at midnight tonight if House leaders can’t reach a budget deal, but what about NASA’s Space Shuttle? You know, the imminent launch of a spacecraft supervised by a government-funded space agency?

“Given the realities of the calendar, however, prudent management requires that we plan …

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