Carl Sagan's Solar Sail Is Ready For Its First Test Flight

“There’s just a tremendously exciting prospect called solar sailing. [It] travels on the radiation and particles that come out of the sun, the wind from the sun. Because it has a constant acceleration, it can get you around the inner part of the solar system a lot faster...than the usual sorts of rocket propulsion.” » 5/09/15 6:11pm 5/09/15 6:11pm

Who has come closest to winning Civilization in real life?

Games in Sid Meier's Civilization series are loosely patterned off the rise and fall of real-life civilizations. And some of these real-life civilizations had exactly the kinds of ambitions that would win a game of Civilization. Which raises the obvious question: did any of them get close? Has anybody won? Are we… » 12/22/14 12:04pm 12/22/14 12:04pm

7 Of Mankind's Biggest Screw-Ups In Space

Space isn't having a great few months — from the exploding mishaps of Orbital Science's Antares rocket, to the terrible tragedy of Virgin Galactic's test flight, and the yay-but-oh-shit rollercoaster that's been the ESA's comet landing, things aren't going entirely to plan. This isn't without precedent, though: if you… » 11/15/14 4:03pm 11/15/14 4:03pm

The First Pitch For Interstellar: "We're Not F--ing Going" To Space

Interstellar is an epic movie about space exploration with promising tag lines like "Go Further." But in reality, the pitch that landed screenwriter Jonathan Nolan the Interstellar gig sprung from his fear that humans had peaked at one flag on the moon. Here's our exclusive interview with Interstellar writer Nolan. » 11/04/14 1:28pm 11/04/14 1:28pm

Death Stars It'd Really Take to Destroy a Planet

Ever since I learned how inaccurate Star Wars battles really were, I've been thinking about how off the entire Star Wars universe is. I get it, in a place where people have telekinetic powers and can shoot lightning from their fingers; you can't exactly expect things to line up with… well, physics. When I started… » 10/01/14 1:50pm 10/01/14 1:50pm