What Happened When NASA Piloted Jet Packs

by Sergio Perez, age 16

More than thirty years ago, two lucky astronauts, Bruce McCandless and Bob Stewart took the ride of their lives.

In 1984, McCandless and Stewart were the first to travel untethered, 300 feet away from their space shuttle and tested out the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), a jet-powered backpack.

“I knew the laws of physics hadn’t been repealed recently,” said McCandless, who was confident in the MMU despite the uncertainty of the test drive.[read more]

Recent Studies Show Dark Matter in Cosmos

by Ruthanne Fiore, age 15

Humans are always asking questions and looking for answers. Important findings from a cosmic ray detector sent into space in 2011 suggest a possible answer to one of humanity’s biggest questions—what makes up the universe?

The $2 billion cosmic ray detector aboard the International Space Station discovered something that could be "dark matter," a mysterious substance believed not only to hold our universe together but also to make up a quarter of it. Understanding dark matter means understanding more about the cosmos, including its composition. Dark matter does not give off light, nor can it absorb light, so it has never been directly observed. Therefore, scientists know very little about it. [read more]

Galileo's Initially Controversial Theories are Still Significant Today

by Cristian Avila Velazquez, age 13

We've all heard of Galileo Galilei, but how did he become a famous inventor in the first place?

Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. At the age of 10, he was sent to school at the Monastery of Vallombrosa. His father, Vincenzo, took him out of school at the age of 14, because he worried that his son would become a poor man. Vincenzo then sent Galileo to Florence to spend a few years with tutors. [read more]

In 1969, Armstrong Walked on the Moon

by Kelly Nguyen, age 10

In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy told Americans that it was time to go to the moon. Nine years later, Neil Armstrong was the first human to ever walk on the moon.

Neil Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Armstrong joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1962, and was a pilot for his first mission. Later, he was the spacecraft commander on the Apollo 11, a mission that would make history. [read more]

Read More Recent Space Science Articles

Space is filled with countless, marvelous stars. For many centuries, scientists have worked to uncover the many details that make stars so appealing. [read more...]
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a comet! Comets are small lumps of ice that move on the outskirts of the solar system in the direction of the sun. When a comet gets hot, a beam of light shoots out from its front and forms two shining “tails” on its back. Comets are parts of matter left over from the creation of the Solar System. [read more...]
The year 1969 was especially exciting; the U.S. officially won the “space race” when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. The space race was a competition between the Soviet Union (now Russia) and the United States to see who could launch the first man in to space successfully. [read more...]
People all over the world took notice when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon in 1969. However, a far smaller population knows of Margaret Hamilton’s contribution to the Apollo 11 mission and moon landing. Recent national interest in understanding the historic role of women in science has generated new enthusiasm for Hamilton’s work. [read more...]
Saturn, “the gas planet,” is composed of 96 percent hydrogen and four percent helium. But it's 100 percent my favorite planet! Galileo Galilei first discovered Saturn in 1610. He described its rings as “handles.” Conveniently, Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens also reported seeing Saturn, which he once described as having “a thin flat ring which nowhere touches the body.” [read more...]
Everyone knows you’re supposed to make a wish when you see a shooting star. But do you ever wonder what causes these special, lucky meteors to exist in the first place? [read more...]
Although the Sun and Moon may appear to be similar from a distance, the two are actually very different. The Sun is a large ball of gas that is full of energy and heat. Seventy-three percent of the Sun is made of hydrogen, while 25 percent of it is helium. The remaining two percent is made up of traces of approximately 60 other elements. [read more...]
No one has visited the Moon since 1972 when the last of the Apollo missions left. [read more...]
For decades, mankind has used rockets to travel into space. But one rocket alone is not powerful enough to launch into space. In fact, the rockets we hear about are actually several rockets stacked on top of one another: these pieces are called stages. [read more...]
There are many planets in the universe, but there aren’t many that can sustain life. Recently, scientists and astronomers have started looking for and finding planets that are potentially habitable. [read more...]
In a year that claimed many lives, famous and otherwise, the world has lost a great scientific mind. While she has never been a household name, Vera Rubin was a groundbreaking scientist. [read more...]
For thousands of years, humans have been watching the sky. They’ve mastered the patterns of the stars and can easily find constellations like the zodiacs, Pleiades, the Big Dipper, Orion, and many other star clusters. Ancient people knew their way around the night sky; if you want to learn to be as skilled in astronomy and stargazing as they were, follow these tips below. [read more...]
Did you know that the force of gravity travels at the speed of light? Gravity is the invisible glue that pulls us down to the ground. It was first discovered and named by Isaac Newton in the 17th century. Since this time, many scientists, and researchers have theorized about gravity. In 1937, for example, physicist Paul Dirac suggested that gravity itself might actually be changing very slowly over time. [read more...]
On December 8, 2016, America bade farewell to an American legend. John Glenn, senator, lifelong pilot, decorated war veteran, and one of NASA’s first astronauts passed away in his home state of Ohio. [read more...]
The Sun is one of the largest stars in our galaxy. It lies 149.6 million kilometers away from Earth. Unlike other stars, the sun is not seen as a little point of light in the sky. Made out of large amounts of gases—92.1 percent hydrogen and about eight percent helium—the Sun gives life to all creatures on the Earth. We see this important star so differently than many others because it's actually a lot closer to us than the majority of other stars. [read more...]
Scientists suspect that the Milky Way may have dwarf galaxies all around it. One of these galaxies is known as "Segue 2." Segue 2 is an abnormally small galaxy located right outside of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This dwarf galaxy only has 1,000 stars; they are held together by a clump of dark matter. First discovered in 2009, Segue 2 is primarily known for its unique size. [read more...]
Pluto used to be characterized as the ninth planet but, in 2006, scientists revoked Pluto’s full-fledged planet status. Instead they classified it as a dwarf planet. True to this new name, Pluto’s diameter is 1,432 miles, which makes it more than 1,500 miles smaller in diameter than Mercury, the smallest planet. [read more...]
Io is one of the four large moons that orbit Jupiter. Similar in size to our moon, Io is also the most volcanically active body in our solar system. [read more...]
Quasars are huge, energetic, mysterious objects in space. Modern technology has allowed humans to understand these objects better. Quasars create a massive amount of light, allowing them to be seen from great distances. [read more...]
We've all heard of Galileo Galilei, but how did he become a famous inventor in the first place? Galileo was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. At the age of 10, he was sent to school at the Monastery of Vallombrosa. His father, Vincenzo, took him out of school at the age of 14, because he worried that his son would become a poor man. Vincenzo then sent Galileo to Florence to spend a few years with tutors. [read more...]
Venus and Mars are the two closest planet to Earth. Scientists have discovered a lot about these planets. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. Venus has toxic clouds and acid that would burn human skin. Heat From the sun gets trapped by clouds around the planet. This is what makes Venus so hot. Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, Venus is still the hottest. [read more...]
In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy told Americans that it was time to go to the moon. Nine years later, Neil Armstrong was the first human to ever walk on the moon. [read more...]
Found in between Mars and Jupiter, many asteroids are made up of rocks and left over metal. They have a dusty layer of shattered rock on their cratered surfaced, and they can be as big as 567 miles in diameter. [read more...]
Have you ever dreamed about soaring through the sky? Using the flying rocket belt, better known as the jet pack, these dreams can become a reality. [read more...]
Saturn's rings are among the most beautiful things in the solar system. There have been different opinions about Saturn's rings, over the years. When astronomer Galileo Galilei thought that Saturn’s rings were two large moons. Christiaan Huygens, another astronomer, thought the so-called “moons” were an encircling ring structure. [read more...]
You might not know that the Sun is actually a star, which the Earth and other planets orbit around. A glowing ball of plasma, the Sun is a gaseous state of matter. This plasma ball’s surface temperature is over 9,900° Fahrenheit! [read more...]
Humans are always asking questions and looking for answers. Important findings from a cosmic ray detector sent into space in 2011 suggest a possible answer to one of humanity’s biggest questions—what makes up the universe? [read more...]
More than thirty years ago, two lucky astronauts, Bruce McCandless and Bob Stewart took the ride of their lives. [read more...]
Through mathematical modeling and computer simulations, Caltech researchers have found evidence of a ninth planet—no, not Pluto—in our solar system. “For the first time in over 150 years, there is solid evidence that the solar system’s planetary census is incomplete,” said Konstantin Batygin, one of the investigators on the project and an assistant professor of planetary science. [read more...]
Two of Jupiter’s 63 moons are thought to be “twins.” The two moons were formed at the same time and are the same shape and size, but they are far from identical. [read more...]
In 2006, Pluto was downgraded from full planetary status to dwarf planet. This decision was met with an enormous amount of controversy. Recently, however, scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have argued for the return of Pluto as the ninth planet. [read more...]
For years, many myths and mysteries have surrounded the Moon. One of the most talked about myths is how the Moon was created. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered how rockets work? [read more...]
Traveling to space is an incredible feat. To leave the bounds of Earth requires great ambition, endurance, nerves of steel, and even a dash of luck. [read more...]
The universe is constantly changing, and people are always discovering new things about our world. One famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, was one of the first Europeans to see the galaxies that are now known as the “Magellanic Clouds.” [read more...]
The thought of Martians has been on the minds of humans for years. In science fiction movies, Martians are often portrayed as little, green men with antennae. Of course, this isn’t an accurate depiction. Experts suggest that any life forms on Mars would be microscopic. Also, there would have to be water present on Mars for life to exist here in the first place. [read more...]
Although Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, most planets discovered outside of our solar system, or exoplanets, are larger. In 2009, the largest known exoplanet was CT Cha B which, in comparison to Jupiter, is twice as large in diameter and 17 times larger in mass. How much do we know about exoplanets like this, and how do we find them? [read more...]
Saturn, or the “ringed planet” as space scientists have nicknamed it, is the sixth planet from the Sun in the solar system. It is also the second largest planet out of the eight planets. [read more...]
Many people are familiar with the famous line “Beam me up, Scotty!,” which is attributed to the popular show Star Trek. Well, scientists today can do just that – sort of. [read more...]
Black holes may be the most mysterious astronomical phenomena. In fact, astronomers only know that they exist because small flashes of hot gas are visible right before they are sucked into the invisible holes. [read more...]
In order to save money, scientists at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) are currently working to compress the size of solar panels, which are typically bulky and hard to transport. To do so, they have turned to a unique solution: origami. [read more...]
Think you saw the stars at the last Oscars? Let me tell you about the real stars in the greatest show on earth. At a star party, which anyone can have, family and friends can gather to gaze at nature's most beautiful nightlights. [read more...]
There are four small planets in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. While these planets are each littler than the rest, they also have distinct and unique traits. [read more...]
Black holes are very dangerous. They use the force of gravity to suck particles away from stars. Many black holes are thought to exist in the middle of galaxies, where they may contain as much matter as millions of stars. [read more...]
Spacecraft, including unmanned probes, artificial satellites, and manned spacecraft, are highly-advanced technology required to operate in extreme conditions. All types of spacecraft have powerful rockets that help them reach space, survey the planet, explore the universe, and communicate. [read more...]
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is Hubble space telescope captures vivid pictures of different stars and galaxies never seen before. The Hubble rapidly orbits above our planet's atmosphere to view the universe more clearly than ground-based telescopes. It takes only 97 minutes for the Hubble to travel around the Earth. [read more...]
The possibility of an asteroid hitting the Earth is real, but unlikely. In fact, scientists have spotted over 500 asteroids whose orbits cross the Earth’s. However, they have lost sight of most of these asteroids over time. [read more...]
Since Apollo 17, human beings have not traveled more than 380 miles above the Earth's surface. But later this year, that will change. NASA is currently working to build a capsule designed to send astronauts more than 3,600 miles into deep space. [read more...]
The Rosetta probe is a spacecraft that was launched into space March 2, 2004 by the European Space Agency. The unmanned probe was sent to pursue comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. [read more...]
The phrase “Houston, we have a problem” has been adopted into everyday life. It is a clever way of saying: “Uh-oh.” This phrase originated nearly 25 years ago on April 13th, 1970, when the Apollo 13 spacecraft experienced an accident. [read more...]
Throw an object, like a ball, into space from Earth at an approximate speed of 25,000 miles per hour. The object would have enough momentum to escape Earth's gravity and reach outer space. This speed is scientifically referred to as an escape velocity and differs for all gravitational fields. The more mass a planet or star has, the stronger its gravitational field, thus the greater its escape velocity. Black holes' masses are so large that their theoretical escape velocity is greater than the speed of light, making them appear colorless or black. [read more...]
The sun’s magnetic field, referred to as the heliosphere, spans the entire solar system. It extends past Pluto and reaches out to the Voyager probes that are sent into interstellar space. The direction of the sun's magnetic field, known as its polarity, reverses roughly every 11 years. During a magnetic field reversal of the sun, the magnetic field weakens, becomes neutral, and then emerges again with the opposite polarity. [read more...]
A little over four and a half billion years ago, a solid mass called the Moon was formed. The Moon has given rise to many myths, legends, and mysteries. Some, for example, believe that it influences our lives and destinies. Others once thought that the Moon may even be a god or goddess. [read more...]
Saturn has 53 known moons, but NASA now believes that there may be one more. Recently, NASA’s space probe, Cassini-Huygens, spotted what may be a new moon in Saturn's outermost ring. Scientists have nicknamed this potential moon ‘Peggy’. [read more...]
Recently, scientists of the University at Geneva declared the finding of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, our sun’s nearest neighbor. The planet has a mass similar to Earth’s, a key feature vital for human survival. Although the planet is much too close to its sun to sustain life, it gives astronomers and space junkies alike hope that there are more planets near it that fit the requirements to host living things. A closer analysis of this mystery planet, however, is causing scientists to question its existence. [read more...]
While staring out into the black night sky, you can often see that Venus is one of the brightest objects in your view. Venus is the second planet from the sun and is similar to Earth in size and mass. It’s also known as Earth’s twin sister. Both planets were born at about the same time, formed by similar materials, and had similar atmospheres. [read more...]
When you think of astronauts, you don’t typically think of women. However, the history of women in space has recently hit the 50-year mark. [read more...]
Nothing sounds more like science fiction than a box that creates an entire meal from a gel-like substance, and then literally prints it out. As crazy as it seems, scientists believe that contraptions like this may actually exist in the next 20 years. [read more...]
Curiosity, NASA’s most advanced rover yet, landed on Mars in August 2012 and continues to survey the planet today. The car-sized rover weighs a ton and contains cutting-edge technology, enabling it to explore Mars’ rocky terrains. Since its landing, the rover has harvested stunning photographs and evidence that points to the existence of microbial life. [read more...]
An eclipse is a phenomenon when the sun or moon is hidden from sight, of which there are three types. [read more...]
On a clear and crisp evening reporters from Simpson Street Free Press set out for the UW-Madison campus. There, we got a chance to visit the Washburn Observatory and catch a glimpse of some well-known planets in the night skies. [read more...]
Many people are familiar with the Big Bang Theory: a large explosion created the entire universe. However, most people are unfamiliar with how matter was formed. Scientists have theorized that the key to this puzzle is the Higgs particle. [read more...]
Recent images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show dark lines in the mid-latitudes of Mars’ southern hemisphere. Scientists think flows of salt-water may have formed these lines. These lines, however, are very rare. Only seven have been observed. They vary from half a meter to five meters, and could potentially have carried thousands of gallons of water. [read more...]
Although there is a difference between asteroids and meteoroids, both are solid bodies in space. A meteoroid is a small piece of space debris, usually made up of rock or iron. This meteoroid is re-labeled a meteorite when it enters a planet’s atmosphere. An asteroid is described as a larger, solid body of rock that orbits around a star. [read more...]
The mystery of Saturn’s rings has puzzled humans for centuries. During the 20th century, many astronomers theorized that Saturn’s moons had years ago collided with each other, or with an asteroid, leaving behind debris. This debris then formed Saturn’s characteristic rings. If this hypothesis were true, however, rock particles like those that make up Saturn’s moons would be found in its rings. These moons are about half rock and half ice. More recently, scientists discovered that the rings are 95 percent made of ice. In other words, there is much less rock in the rings than in the moons. [read more...]
About 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-sized asteroid collided into the newly molten Earth. The powerful impact threw scattered debris into space. Over millions of years this rubble formed a roughly-shaped sphere that started to orbit the Earth. Today we call this sphere Earth’s moon. [read more...]
Astronomers have found and labeled “Goldilocks” planet. [read more...]
Scientists searching for extraterrestrial life once faced amused skepticism. But according to Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life (SETI) Institute of California, the general concensus is shifting. [read more...]
Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics recently discovered a blue star that is running quickly through the galaxy came from the center of the Milky Way. Scientists now think this strange star began its journey about a million years ago. [read more...]
Of the 118 known elements, six are essential for life: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur— or so scientists thought. [read more...]
Molten lava, volcanic rock and just volcanoes themselves are considered among Earth’s natural wonders. But a new discovery half way across our solar indicated a different kind of volcano exists on a giant moon called Titan. [read more...]
Fire is caused when oxygen reacts with another substance, like carbon. The result of that chemical reaction is known as combustion. But there is no air in space, so how does the sun burn? Well, the sun doesn’t really “burn” like a campfire, it actually boils. Its atoms crash into each other, which creates a unique process called nuclear fusion. [read more...]
Although star formations have been in existence much longer than human beings, little is understood about them. Astronomer Deidre Hunter has been studying small galaxies known as dwarf irregular galaxies for the past 17 years. She and her team at Lowell Observatory hope to shed some light on these mysterious stars. [read more...]
The Hayabusa explorer is a Japanese space probe that was launched in 2003. Its goal was to bring back asteroid samples that might provide clues to the evolution of our Solar System. [read more...]
Since the first Viking missions to Mars in 1976, the mysterious Red Planet has been explored many times. Initially, the possibility of water on Mars intrigued scientists. Now that researchers have confirmed the existence of water, scientists are pushing to find out if life too, exists there. This curiosity has compelled NASA to plan an elaborate mission to investigate the rock and soil of Mars. [read more...]
There have been many news reports lately about the Obama administration’s decision to end NASA’s role in manned space flights. Instead, private companies will be encouraged to take leadership in the area. [read more...]
Stars are everywhere in the universe. They can be seen all over the night sky. But how do they start? How do they end? The mysteries of the skies have fascinated astronomers for generations. [read more...]
In late April, President Obama outlined a new direction for NASA that would significantly alter our country’s space exploration program. [read more...]
William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California recently made a fascinating discovery. While using the powerful Kepler space telescope, Borucki and his team discovered five new and unusual planets orbiting nearby stars. [read more...]
We all have a sense of wonder. It’s part of what makes us humans. For many of us this sense of wonder leads to questions about how, when, and why the universe began. One explanation to this mystery is the Big Bang theory. [read more...]
An asteroid is a rocky, metallic object in the sky that orbits the sun. An asteroid belt is filled with many kinds of asteroids whose shapes have been formed by years of collisions. [read more...]
You have undoubtedly heard of hurricanes on Earth, but have you ever heard of tornadoes on Mars? It may sound far-fetched, but tornadoes and hurricanes happen in many places all over the universe. [read more...]