​Stephen Hawking believed humans should go to moon before Mars, says Buzz Aldrin

The Apollo 11 astronaut was recently awarded the Stephen Hawking Medal for Lifetime Achievement.


Jemal Countess / Stringer
  • Buzz Aldrin is an Apollo 11 astronaut who was the second man to walk on the moon.
  • NASA currently plans to send humans back to the moon and establish a "deep space gateway" that would eventually send astronauts to Mars.
  • Meanwhile, private companies, such as Mars One and SpaceX, are planning voyages to the Red Planet.
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Technology & Innovation

How to detect life on Mars

If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.

NASA/JPL/USGS

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.

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Surprising Science

SpaceX is launching NASA's $80 million Deep Space Atomic Clock tonight

NASA JPL takes a first step toward a GPS for space.

Image source: NASA JPL/Big Think
  • Spacecraft have no independent navigation systems onboard. They rely on navigation instructions sent from Earth, which can take about 40 minutes to reach them.
  • The presence of an onboard atomic clock would radically streamline spacecraft navigation and is crucial to autonomous space exploration missions.
  • A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will take NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock up for a year-long mission starting June 24, 2019.
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Technology & Innovation

Always dreamed of flying? On these moons, you can.

There are places in our solar system where you can fly.

  • Both the moon and Mars have a weaker surface gravity than the Earth does. The result? You don't weigh as much on either celestial body as you do here.
  • On a moon called Titan that orbits Saturn, the gravity isn't as strong as Earth's, but the atmosphere is much thicker. In this world, it would be possible to strap wings to your arms and fly around.
  • On a low-gravity moon called Miranda, just off the space coast of Uranus, there are cliffs that are many miles high. It would be possible to jump off a cliff here and fall very gently to the bottom.
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What was Planet V?

About 3.8 billion years ago, the inner planets were bombarded with a cataclysm of asteroids. Could Planet V have been the cause?

TIM BERTELINK via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) occurred about 3.8 billion years ago, during which time Earth, Venus, Mercury, and Mars were assaulted by asteroids.
  • Scientists are pretty sure the LHB occurred, but they're not certain what caused it.
  • It could be that a hypothetical fifth inner planet once existed in our solar system. As it left, it may have caused the LHB.
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Surprising Science