Space

ELSA-d is a demonstration device designed to show that space debris removal is possible.

Innovation for Good

Can the World's First Space Sweeper Make a Dent in Orbiting Debris?

A private company has just completed the first successful test of its trash collector

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

Construction of multiple telescopes has begun on Saishiteng Mountain—near the town of Lenghu in the Qinghai province of China. The site could be China’s first major observatory, on par with those in Hawaii, Chile, and the Canary Islands.

Future of Space Exploration

Why the Tibetan Plateau Might Be the Ideal Spot for the Telescope of the Future

A team in China has identified a location that could give the Eastern Hemisphere its first major observatory

Webb’s 18 mirror segments can lock into the largest telescopic mirror humankind has ever built.

Future of Space Exploration

The Five Big Ways the James Webb Telescope Will Help Astronomers Understand the Universe

The highly awaited observatory is set to break new ground in many areas of astronomical research

The researchers flew their fridge on parabolic flights to simulate a microgravity environment.

Innovation for Good

The Quest to Build a Functional, Energy-Efficient Refrigerator That Works in Space

Designed and tested by Purdue University engineers, this new appliance would lengthen the shelf life of food on long missions

DESI will analyze light collected by the four-meter Mayall telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.

New Project Aims to Create Most Detailed 3-D Map of the Universe

An instrument named “DESI” will chart up to 40 million galaxies, ten times more than any previous survey

Mice pups were borne out of freeze-dried mice sperm that had been stored on the International Space Station for up to six years. Some of those mice and their offspring are pictured here.

After a Six-Year Sojourn in Space, Freeze-Dried Mice Sperm Produce Healthy Pups

Scientists say the finding supports the idea that genetic material can be shipped to other worlds to help establish a diversity of life

James Smithson was the Smithsonian’s founding donor, bequeathing approximately one ton of gold British sovereigns.

Smithsonian 175

Why Did James Smithson Leave His Fortune to the U.S. and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

So far, scientists have only documented jagged lightning bolts. Some physicists believe that the discovery of a completely straight lightning bolt could prove the existence of dark matter.

Could Weirdly Straight Bolts of Lightning Be a Sign of Dark Matter?

A group of scientists say the phenomenon could indicate dark matter speeding through our world at more than 300 miles a second

The lunar module Eagle, carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, ascends back up to the command module Columbia with Michael Collins. It is often said that Michael Collins is the only human, living or dead, who is not in this photograph.

Future of Space Exploration

Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins on the Past and Future of Space Exploration

On the occasion of the lunar landing's 50th anniversary, we spoke to the former director of the National Air and Space Museum

Some designers promote fashion lines based on kente cloth from Ghana.

When Is Kente Cloth Worn and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

Jessica U. Meir plays sax in the Cupola.

How Do Astronauts Spend Their Weekends in Space?

They take time off and practice their hobbies, though that wasn't always the case

Christina Koch (left) poses for a portrait with Jessica Meir while preparing for their first spacewalk together.

Smithsonian Voices

Gender-Inclusive Language Puts an End to the Era of 'Manned' Spaceflight

It is time to honor six decades of women's contributions to spaceflight, says the Air and Space Museum, with unbiased verbs like 'crewed' or 'piloted'

Artist’s conception of the Perseverance rover sampling rocks on the floor of Jezero crater. The rover also carries the Ingenuity helicopter (not shown) that can fly in advance of the rover and scout out high priority rocks and outcrops for the rover to visit.

Smithsonian Voices

Is There Life on Mars?

Smithsonian scientist John Grant says we have to know what to look for and where to go on the planet for evidence

Artist’s rendition of Ingenuity flying on Mars.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Perseverance Rover Paves a Path Into the Future

Three new (and particularly challenging) aspects of the Mars 2020 mission that distinguishes it from previous missions

Researchers in France are testing which fish eggs are best suited to being launched to the moon. So far, European seabass are among the leaders.

Could Astronauts Rear Fish on the Moon?

Researchers in France aim to boldly farm fish where no one has farmed fish before

NASA's Perseverance rover will store rock and soil samples in sealed tubes on the surface of Mars.

Exploring Mars

Perseverance Kicks Off Elaborate Effort to Bring Mars Rocks to Earth

The decade-long mission requires dozens of glass tubes, two rovers and three more rocket launches, including the first from another planet

"We didn’t think there was a lot of wind-driven activity on Mars because the atmosphere is so thin,” says the Smithsonian's Mariah Baker. “We’ve discovered that Mars is a very active place."

Exploring Mars

Why a Smithsonian Researcher Is Tracking the Wind on Mars

When Perseverance lands, Mariah Baker will collect data that will prepare the way for crewed missions to the Red Planet

Ingenuity undertakes its first test flight on Mars in this illustration.

Exploring Mars

NASA's Helicopter Ingenuity Will Attempt the First Flight on Mars

If the craft succeeds, it will provide crucial information for exploring the other planets by air

An illustration of the Perseverance rover on Mars

Exploring Mars

Exploring Mars

Space agencies are launching new missions outfitted with revolutionary technologies, including the Perseverance rover, to learn more about the Red Planet

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