Jeff Bezos unveils plans for ‘space business park’

Blue Origin, the space tourism company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has announced plans to launch a commercial space station. Bosses said on Monday that they hope to operate the station, named “Orbital Reef,” by the end of the decade. Promotional material released by the company claims the station will be a “mixed-use business park” in space and will host up to 10 people. The company will partner with Sierra Space and Boeing to build the outpost. Blue Origin said the 32,000 sq ft station would provide customers with an ideal location for “film-making in microgravity” or “conducting cutting-edge … Continue reading Jeff Bezos unveils plans for ‘space business park’

Signs of first planet found outside our galaxy

Astronomers have found hints of what could be the first planet ever to be discovered outside our galaxy. Nearly 5,000 “exoplanets” – worlds orbiting stars beyond our Sun – have been found so far, but all of these have been located within the Milky Way galaxy. The possible planet signal discovered by Nasa’s Chandra X-Ray Telescope is in the Messier 51 galaxy. This is located some 28 million light-years away from the Milky Way. This new result is based on transits, where the passage of a planet in front of a star blocks some of the star’s light and yields … Continue reading Signs of first planet found outside our galaxy

Metal-Eating bacteria that can eat a nail in three days found in the Andes

Starving microorganisms that were able to eat a nail in just three days could help clean up waste left over from mining. The metal-eating bacteria currently being tested in Chile could also provide a by-product that helps extract copper, making the mining of the metal more environmentally friendly.A Chilean researcher hopes that a metal eating bacteria that ate a nail in three days in her lab could be used to clean up mining waste. Chilean biotechnologist Nadac Reales has been working with extremophiles, organisms that are capable of living in conditions of extreme temperature, acidity, alkalinity, or chemical concentration, in … Continue reading Metal-Eating bacteria that can eat a nail in three days found in the Andes

Smoke triggers alert on board International Space Station

Alarms were triggered on board the International Space Station after the crew reported smoke and the smell of burning plastic. The incident centred on the Russian-built Zvezda module which provides living quarters, Russian media report. The ageing space station has suffered a number of failures over the years and a Russian official recently warned of outdated hardware and failing systems. These include air leaks, misfiring engines and cracks. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, said later that all systems were back to normal. The smoke was detected during recharging of the station’s batteries, the agency said, and the crew had now returned … Continue reading Smoke triggers alert on board International Space Station

Bezos sues Nasa over its deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Jeff Bezos’s space firm Blue Origin is suing Nasa over a decision to award a $2.9bn (£2.1bn) lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The former Amazon boss’s firm said there were “fundamental issues” with the deal, calling it unfair. The row stems from a decision in April to hand the deal to one company, not two as expected, because of a funding shortfall. Nasa is yet to comment, but it has the backing of a federal watchdog. In a court filing on Friday, Blue Origin said it continued to believe that two providers were needed to build the landing … Continue reading Bezos sues Nasa over its deal with Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Amazing: Spanish engineers extract drinking water from thin air

A Spanish company has devised a system to extract drinking water from thin air to supply arid regions where people are in desperate need.Spanish engineer says his machine can condensate water from air even in the desert “The goal is to help people,” said Enrique Veiga, the 82-year-old engineer who invented the machine during a harsh drought in southern Spain in the 1990s. “The goal is to get to places like refugee camps that don’t have drinking water.” The devices made by his company, Aquaer, are already delivering clean, safe water to communities in Namibia and a Lebanese refugee camp. … Continue reading Amazing: Spanish engineers extract drinking water from thin air

Russian module mishap destabilises International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) was destabilized after engines of a newly-arrived Russian module inadvertently fired up, officials say. “Mission control teams corrected the action and all systems are operating normally,” US space agency Nasa said. This was done by activating thrusters on another module of the ISS. An investigation is now under way. US and Russian officials said that the seven crew members aboard the space station were never in any danger. The malfunction happened several hours after Nauka module docked with the ISS on Thursday, following an eight-day flight. Nasa tweeted that “the module’s thrusters started firing at 12:45pm … Continue reading Russian module mishap destabilises International Space Station

Teenager to fly into space with Jeff Bezos

An 18-year-old is to become the youngest person to fly to space when he joins Jeff Bezos on the first human flight by his space company on 20 July. Oliver Daemen will fly in place of an anonymous $28m (£20m) winning bidder of a public auction. The winner of the auction could not fly on the mission “due to scheduling conflicts”, Mr Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin said. The teenager is the son of Somerset Capital Partners CEO Joes Daemen. Mr Daemen had secured a seat on the second flight but was moved up to the first when the winning bidder … Continue reading Teenager to fly into space with Jeff Bezos

Billionaire space race: Branson aims to make trip ahead of Bezos

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson will travel to the edge of space on Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc’s test flight on July 11, Branson’s space tourism firm said on Thursday, beating out fellow billionaire and aspiring astronaut Jeff Bezos. A successful flight by Branson on board Virgin’s VSS Unity spaceplane would mark a key milestone in a race to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel. It would also mean that Branson would travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere ahead of Bezos, the founder of rival space tourism venture Blue Origin. Bezos, who founded retail giant Amazon.com Inc, is slated to … Continue reading Billionaire space race: Branson aims to make trip ahead of Bezos

Futuristic: Flying car completes test flight between airports

A prototype flying car has completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia. The hybrid car-aircraft, AirCar, is equipped with a BMW engine and runs on regular petrol-pump fuel. Its creator, Prof Stefan Klein, said it could fly about 1,000km (600 miles), at a height of 8,200ft (2,500m), and had clocked up 40 hours in the air so far. It takes two minutes and 15 seconds to transform from car into aircraft. The narrow wings fold down along the sides of the car. Prof Klein drove it straight off the runway and into town upon arrival, … Continue reading Futuristic: Flying car completes test flight between airports

Nasa announces two new missions

Nasa has announced that it is sending two new missions to Venus in order to examine the planet’s atmosphere and geological features. The missions, which have each been awarded $500m (£352m) in funding, are due to launch between 2028 and 2030. Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said the missions would offer the “chance to investigate a planet we haven’t been to in more than 30 years”. The last probe to visit the planet was the Magellan orbiter in 1990. However other vessels have made fly-bys since then. The missions were picked following a peer-review process and were chosen based on their … Continue reading Nasa announces two new missions

Space: China’s Zhurong rover returns first pictures

China has released the first pictures taken by its Zhurong rover on Mars. The forward view shows the landscape ahead of the robot as it sits on its landing platform; the rear-looking image reveals Zhurong’s solar panels. The rover touched down on the Red Planet early on Sunday, Beijing time. In doing so, it made China only the second nation, after America to successfully put a probe on the surface of Mars and operate it for a significant length of time. Chinese scientists hope get at least 90 Martian days of service out of the six-wheeled robot at its location … Continue reading Space: China’s Zhurong rover returns first pictures