In the Space.com forums this week: Perseverance prizes, exploration and breaking theories!

This week, we kick off our Perseverance Prize giveaway. Celebrating space exploration even further, we talk about the next frontiers we’d like to see explored. Finally, community members take on a mind-bending theory about alternate universes! If you haven’t already, make sure to register for the Space.com forums and join a community of like minded…

NASA names Perseverance rover's Mars touchdown site 'Octavia E. Butler Landing'

The Perseverance rover’s Red Planet touchdown site has been renamed for Octavia E. Butler, the noted African American science fiction author. NASA announced they would informally redesignate the Mars rover’s landing site inside Jezero Crater on Friday (March 5), during the same press conference where the agency revealed Perseverance made its first drive on Mars. …

First-ever 'space hurricane' detected over the North Pole

For the first time, astronomers have detected a powerful, 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) hurricane of plasma in Earth‘s upper atmosphere — a phenomenon they’re calling a “space hurricane.” The space hurricane raged for nearly 8 hours on Aug. 20, 2014, swirling hundreds of miles above Earth’s magnetic North Pole, according to a study published Feb. 22…

Linquest gets $500 million contract from U.S. Space Force for analysis support

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force awarded LinQuest Corp. a $500 million contract for analysis work over five years. The contract was awarded Jan. 4 but the Defense Department announced it March 5. Based in Los Angeles, LinQuest is a longtime support contractor of the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center and other defense…

NASA's Perseverance rover takes its first test drive on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance rover has taken its first test drive on Mars, the agency announced Friday (March 5).  Perseverance, a car-sized rover that landed successfully on the Red Planet Feb. 18, just made its first short drive on Thursday, NASA officials said. The rover moved a total of 21.3 feet (6.5 meters) across the Martian terrain…

Mercury meets up with Jupiter (Saturn and the moon, too!) in the morning sky this week

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember a comic strip called “Mutt and Jeff.” Mutt was a tall guy while in contrast, Jeff was quite short. Ever since they were created back in 1907, any pair of individuals of different sizes came to be known as a “Mutt and Jeff”. You might then…

Netflix launches 'Pacific Rim: The Black' anime series

Director Guillermo del Toro’s giant robots vs mutant monsters flick, “Pacific Rim,” was a breakout hit in 2013 when its killer kaiju belched forth from a trans-dimensional oceanic rift to do battle with mighty mechs called Jaegers. A sequel titled “Pacific Rim Uprising” carried the epic smackdown ten years into the future with “Star Wars’”…

Marvel's new 'Alien' comic promises 'claustrophobic feeling of unseen, unknowable terror'

No one can hear you scream in space, but they can hear you roar — and the iconic sci-fi/horror franchise “Alien” will roar once more in a new comic book series from Marvel. “Superman” writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and “Iron Man: artist Salvador Larroca are hatching this series, with the first issue going on sale…

Spacewalking astronauts tackle stubborn struts to prime space station for new solar arrays

Two astronauts finally wrapped up tricky solar array strut installations outside the International Space Station Friday (March 5) that stymied a previous set of spacewalkers just a few days before. Expedition 64 astronauts Kate Rubins of NASA (wearing a red-striped spacesuit) and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) spent 6 hours and 56…

Mount Etna's fiery eruptions seen from space (satellite photos)

Mount Etna has been spewing lava across Sicily for weeks during a series of eruptions captured by a slew of Earth-orbiting satellites. Etna, the most active volcano in all of Europe, has been in a state of eruption since 2011. The latest series began on Feb. 16. The volcano erupted that day, again on Feb.…

Boeing's 2nd Starliner space taxi test flight for NASA delayed again

Boeing’s second uncrewed test flight of its Starliner spacecraft for NASA will not launch on April 2 after all. On Thursday (March 4), NASA and Boeing jointly announced plans to push back the launch of Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test-2 mission from an early April liftoff. The flight’s was already delayed by two weeks from a…

NASA will revel in Perseverance rover's 'firsts' on Mars today and you can follow it live

NASA’s pretty proud of its Perseverance rover on Mars and that’s understandable.  After all, it was just over two weeks ago that the car-sized rover nailed its landing on the Red Planet to begin a years-long mission searching for signs of ancient life. Perseverance has been busy since its Feb. 18 landing and NASA will…

Huge asteroid Apophis will safely fly past Earth tonight. Here's where to watch live online.

The big asteroid Apophis will pass safely by Earth tonight (March 5) and at least two astronomy broadcast services plan to showcase the flyby in live webcasts.  While personal telescopes smaller than 12 inches in diameter will strain to see Apophis Friday, both the Slooh online observatory and the Virtual Telescope Project plan separate webcasts…

Whitesides steps down from Virgin Galactic

WASHINGTON — The longtime chief executive of Virgin Galactic, who moved into a new position at the company last year, has left the company but will continue to be an adviser to it. According to company sources, Whitesides said he was leaving the position of Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer to pursue unspecified opportunities in…

Inspiration4: How Jared Isaacman's kindergarten space dream became a pioneering SpaceX mission

Self-described space geek Jared Isaacman says he always dreamed about going to space, and he feels fortunate to be at the helm of the Inspiration4 private mission to Earth orbit that SpaceX will launch late this year.  His next goal is to help the mission give back to worthy causes on Earth, he said in…

NASA's Perseverance rover landing on Mars struck a blow for America and democracy, President Biden says

The reverberations from the epic touchdown of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars will extend far beyond the science and spaceflight communities, President Joe Biden said. The commander-in-chief held a video call on Thursday (March 4) with scientists and engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which manages Perseverance’s $2.7 billion mission. During…

Mercury may not have shrunk nearly as much as scientists think

Mercury may not have shrunk nearly as much as scientists previously thought, potentially solving the mystery posed by the planet’s continuing quakes. Mercury is the smallest and innermost world in the solar system, and was a mysterious planet until NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft became the first probe to orbit Mercury in 2011. The only other visits…

Space Force sounding rocket launches experiment to study Earth’s ionosphere

WASHINGTON — A three-stage suborbital sounding rocket on March 3 launched an Air Force Research Laboratory experiment from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  This was the first sounding rocket launch by California-based Space Vector Corp., one of two companies selected by the Air Force in 2018 for the Sounding Rocket Program-4. Space Vector and…

Here's your chance to win a Perseverance Prize Pack!

The Space.com community is still buzzing about the Perseverance rover’s mission on Mars, which isn’t remotely surprising. This mission is a significant step toward learning more about possible ancient life on the Red Planet. We decided to channel some of that excitement toward a special giveaway this month!  One lucky winner will be walking away…

NASA hikes prices for commercial ISS users

WASHINGTON — NASA has sharply increased the prices it charges commercial users of the International Space Station for cargo and other resources, a move that has left some companies confused and frustrated. NASA announced Feb. 25 that it was revising the commercial marketing pricing policy it first published in June 2019 as part of a…