The Ultimate, Indisputable Ranking of Planets in the Solar System

Recently, my colleagues at Deadspin posted a ranking of the planets. But it was mostly incorrect. After extensively researching and writing about our solar neighbourhood, I feel I’m fairly qualified to take a stab at ranking these bad boys once and for all. Read More >>

Trump’s NASA Nominee Wants to Study Climate Change on Mars—But Not on Earth

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump nominated Jim Bridenstine—a Republican representative in Oklahoma—as NASA’s new leader. Like most people in this administration, Bridenstine actively supports ideas antithetical to his (soon-to-be) agency: he’s an avid supporter of private space companies and denies that human activity impacts climate change. Now, Bridenstine wants to take a seemingly good idea—studying Mars’ weather—and turn it into a misleading talking point about climate change on Earth. Probably. Read More >>

A NASA Spacecraft Will Slingshot Past Earth Today 

Right now, NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is hurtling through the void in order to link up with an asteroid named Bennu in 2018. While the intrepid spacecraft still has a way to go until its big rendezvous, today it’ll casually fly by Earth. Unfortunately, it poses no immediate danger to our planet, but if you’ve got a good telescope with a camera, you might even be able to snap a pic! Read More >>

The Anti-Rape Gadgets That Never Delivered

It’s like clockwork: every month or so, you’ll be scrolling through your Facebook feed and stumble across a video about a new ring or underwear, colour-changing straws or colour-changing nail polish, or “smart stickers” that claim to help prevent sexual assault. There’s the inevitable swarm of uncritical media coverage that garners hundreds of thousands of views in a few days. But after a fleeting moment in the news cycle, the stories—and ostensibly, the products themselves—disappear. Read More >>

Hopeful Martians Emerge From 8-Month Experiment to Find Earth Horrific As Ever

Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other space enthusiasts can ship humans to Mars as easily as an Amazon Prime delivery, we need to figure out how they’ll fare on a foreign planet. Luckily, NASA and the University of Hawaii have been all over this, funding several successful iterations of an experiment called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), in which a crew of “astronauts” live in Mars-like conditions in a dome on a Hawaiian volcano. On Sunday, the fifth Hi-SEAS endeavor ended, meaning a crew of six “astronauts” have left the comfort of a literal bubble to greet the fresh hell that is Earth right now. Read More >>

The Last Photo Cassini Took Was Its Forever Home on Saturn

For those who’ve followed NASA’s Cassini mission these past 20 years, it’s still a bit hard to believe it’s gone. On Friday, 15th September, the spacecraft plunged itself into Saturn’s atmosphere, becoming part of the planet it had studied tirelessly for 13 years. While Cassini’s mission is over, there’s plenty of data and imagery from it to inspire us for years to come, including the last photo the spacecraft ever took. Read More >>

A Few Last Words on the Best Spacecraft of Our Lives, Before It Dies

Space has a funny way of making us feel both incredibly small yet infinitely lucky for being part of such a vast cosmic sorority. Of course, humans have barely scratched the surface of the final frontier—we’ve never even sent people beyond the Moon. While many uncrewed spacecraft have done an incredible job of revealing our solar neighborhood to us, honestly, none did it better than NASA’s Cassini probe. After exploring Saturn for 13 years, on 15th September at 12:55pm GMT, the probe will plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere, becoming one with the very object of its fascination. Read More >>

Researchers Discover ‘Atlantis’ For Octopuses Off Australian Coast

Since hermit crabs are actually extremely social, octopuses typically earn the reputation as the true hermits of the ocean. These highly intelligent recluses that seem prefer a lonely life in the wild, or if they’re in an aquarium, one in which they can cleverly, constantly toy with their human captors. But new research suggests octopuses may enjoy each others’ company more than previously assumed. Read More >>

Cassini’s Last Look at Titan Is Breathtaking and Bittersweet

The end is nigh for NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, the intrepid probe that’s been studying the Saturn system for the last 13 years. On Friday, 15th September, Cassini will plunge itself into Saturn’s atmosphere with its antenna pointed toward Earth, becoming part of the place it’s called home all these years. Read More >>

Is This the Beginning of the End for Goop?

Around the turn of the 19th century, American entrepreneur Clark Stanley sold an allegedly healing “rattlesnake oil” out of his stage coach. Stanley marketed his product as a Western interpretation of some ideas he supposedly gathered from Eastern medicine, claiming the product could cure a whole host of illnesses. The problem was, a federal investigation revealed that not only did Stanley’s snake oil lack any medicinal value, it contained no actual oil from snakes. Two hundred years later, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, Goop, is embracing the same dubious principles and selling it back to women as empowerment. And this time, the insufferable, unsubstantiated bullshit is a lot more dangerous. Read More >>

Cassini Dropped Its Most Mind-Blowing Look At Saturn’s Rings Yet

Though Cassini only has a few days left to study Saturn before it dies, it’s seriously making them count. Today, NASA released what it says are “the highest-resolution colour images of any part of Saturn’s rings.” In true Cassini fashion, they’re absolutely mesmerising. Read More >>

Pluto’s Features Just Got Some Seriously Metal Names From Mythology

We all know space is goth. Pluto, however, is the obvious metal baby of the solar system, shrouded in darkness at a distance of up to 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometres) from Earth. It’s only fitting that everyone’s favourite dwarf planet—named after the Roman god of the underworld—gets some seriously metal names for its mysterious regions. Read More >>

Curiosity Has Discovered Something That Raises More Questions About Life on Mars

Everyone from David Bowie to astrobiologists to tinfoil hat believers has pondered the question: is there life on Mars? While we’ve found direct evidence of liquid water on the Red Planet, we have yet to find any microbes there. But not all hope is lost—new discoveries from NASA’s Curiosity rover have brought forth more compelling evidence of habitability on Mars. I mean, in theory, all that life has been dead for billions of years, but still. Read More >>

Relive the Mind-Blowing Photos From the Voyager Missions

The universe is very good at making us feel both extremely insignificant and lucky enough to be part of something huge. No missions have made this clearer than NASA’s Voyager spacecraft, which have been exploring the cosmos for 40 years. Today, Voyager 1 officially turns the big 4-0, which it’s celebrating by cruising through interstellar space. Read More >>