Inspiration 4 — the first journey to space without a professional astronaut — could change how we perceive space travel and forever alter our future

At the dawn of the Space Age, Americans and Russians who traveled beyond the confines of Earth tended to be test pilots and military personnel. Soon, professional astronauts made their careers training for short-duration spaceflights. Only in the last few decades have space travelers spent long periods of time beyond the confines of Earth.

Now, private spaceflight has opened the final frontier up to people with little to no flight experience. …


Space junk is starting to become a serious problem in space — could Steve Wozniak have the solution?

Not long ago, only the Soviet Union and the United States had the capability to reach into the final frontier. Debris left behind in space by the Cold War adversaries was fairly rare, presenting a dangerous, if unlikely, risk for satellites and crewed missions.

This is no longer the case. As networks of satellites and multiple nations stretch humanity past the confines of Earth, space junk is becoming a serious issue.

No, the OTHER Show with Andy Griffith (No, Not Matlock, Either)

In 1979, Andy Griffith starred in Salvage 1, a TV mini-series…


The Orion Nebula, seen here in a new original image, has an odd history involving Mayans, Constantinople, and humanity’s first global pandemic.

Roughly 1,500 light years from Earth, the Orion Nebula gives birth to populations of new stars. As these stars light up, light from the nascent stellar furnaces causes this mighty gas cloud to glow in red, blue, and green light.

Easily seen as the fuzzy middle “star” in the sword of Orion the Hunter, this nebula was known to Mayans as the site of a cosmic fire of creation. …


Supernova Requiem, first seen by Hubble five years ago, should reappear in 2037. And, it could carry a deep secret of the Universe.

Long ago, a star 10 billion light years from Earth erupted in a magnificent explosion. During a journey of 100 million centuries, some of this light encountered a massive galaxy cluster. The behemoth gravitational well of this cluster tore the path of the light into four different paths. This effect, called gravitational lensing, was first predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

Three of those channels of light from Supernova Requiem were spotted by the…


Uchuu is the largest, most-detailed virtual universe ever designed — and it is free for anyone to explore.

It is only a dream to explore the Universe by sailing between galaxies, soaring through vast regions of the Cosmos in a comfortably-short period of time.

But now, an international group of researchers have found a way to make this dream come true. A new virtual universe allows anyone to swoosh through the Universe in an unprecedented virtual setting.

Uchuu! Gesundheit!

Uchuu (宇宙) — which…


An unusual flash from the center of the galaxy has astronomers scratching their heads. What’s going on with ASKAP J173608.2–321635?

Not far from the center of the Milky Way galaxy, astronomers have recently witnessed a mysterious flashing of radio waves. Many (in fact, most) objects give off radio waves — this is not unusual. What caught the eyes of astronomers is that this target does not seem to fit any category of known radio sources.

The source of this signal, ASKAP J173608.2–321635, does not seem to behave like an other known body which produces such radiation. …


We talk with CHIME member Kaitlyn Shin about fast radio bursts (FRBs), plus an unseen form of supernova, stars eating planets, and designing a spaceship a kilometer long!

This week on Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion, we welcome CHIME member Kaitlyn Shin to the show, and she’s going to teach us about fast radio bursts coming from space.

But first, we look at a new study showing that stars eating planets may be more common than we thought, a new type of supernova is seen by astronomers as a black hole or neutron star collides with its parent star…


A kilometer-long spaceship might soon be constructed by China, utilizing revolutionary technologies.

A mammoth spaceship, as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, could be traveling through space in the foreseeable future. A research proposal funded by the National Science Foundation in China envisions the construction of such a behemoth spacecraft.

The foundation is supporting the development of new, lightweight materials which might be used to construct the craft. One of the major costs of building such a vehicle is lifting material into orbit. …


Watching a stellar collision produce a supernova — a never-before seen sight!

In a star-forming dwarf galaxy 480 million light years from Earth, an ultra-dense stellar remnant — likely a black hole or neutron star — collided with its stellar companion.

Astronomers on Earth have long postulated that such collisions could take place in certain binary star systems.

“Theorists had predicted that this could happen, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen such an event,” said Dillon Dong, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author on a paper reporting the discovery, published in the journal Science.


The Eagle Nebula and the Pillars of Creation have odd connections to the invention of batteries, and that time when most men died.

In 1745, Prussian scientist Ewald Georg invented the first device capable of storing and discharging electricity — the Leyden jar. This invention would later be credited to the Dutch inventor, Pieter van Musschenbroek.

The Leyden jar would be supplanted in later years by batteries, invented by Alessandro Volta who, coincidentally, was born the same year — 1745 — in which the Leyden jar was first developed. …

James Maynard

Writing about space since I was 10, still not Carl Sagan. Weekly video show, podcast, comics, more: www.thecosmiccompanion.net

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