Want to help design a moon robot? NASA needs you.

A NASA-sponsored competition asks participants to improve the design of a bucket drum for moon excavation.

  • NASA wants your help redesigning the bucket drum system for its RASSOR excavator.
  • The Moon's weaker gravity and the excavator's light weight pose unique design challenges.
  • RASSOR will one day excavate regolith so it can be processed into the resources necessary for sustainable lunar exploration.
Keep reading Show less

Want to be an astronaut? NASA is hiring!

Here's a look at the space agency's astronaut candidate requirements.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash
  • NASA has begun accepting applications for its next class of astronauts and plans to have its final selections for candidates in mid-2021.
  • U.S. citizens have until March 31, 2020 to apply.
  • Basic qualifications include either holding a master's degree in a STEM field, having completed a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, or have two years of work toward a STEM Ph.D. program.
Keep reading Show less

7 philosophers who were exiled from their societies

Being ahead of the curve can be a dangerous place. These 7 thinkers were driven from their homelands over it.

  • Many thinkers have been killed for their ideas. Some got away with exile.
  • Most of the ones we'll look at here were driven out by the government, but others fled for their own safety.
  • The fact that some of these thinkers are still famous centuries after their exile suggests they might have been on to something, even if their countrymen disagreed.
Keep reading Show less

Musk vs. Bezos: Whose philosophy will get him to space first?

The billionaires are both looking to the stars, but each has a different dream for space colonization.

  • The billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are driving the private space sector, however, they both have different motivations and goals for doing so.
  • For Musk, space colonization is a matter of saving the human species — having a Plan B. For Bezos, he believes Earth can be saved and transformed into a "residential only" zone. Goods from industrial manufacturing would be outsourced from space colonies.
  • One big concern regarding Bezos' plan is whether his company's presence in space would someday constitute a monopoly of extraterrestrial industry.
Keep reading Show less

Outer space capitalism: The legal and technical challenges facing the private space industry

The private sector may need the Outer Space Treaty to be updated before it can make any claims to celestial bodies or their resources.

  • The Outer Space Treaty, which was signed in 1967, is the basis of international space law. Its regulations set out what nations can and cannot do, in terms of colonization and enterprise in space.
  • One major stipulation of the treaty is that no nation can individually claim or colonize any part of the universe—when the US planted a flag on the Moon in 1969, it took great pains to ensure the world it was symbolic, not an act of claiming territory.
  • Essentially to do anything in space, as a private enterprise, you have to be able to make money. When it comes to asteroid mining, for instance, it would be "astronomically" expensive to set up such an industry. The only way to get around this would be if the resources being extracted were so rare you could sell them for a fortune on Earth.
Keep reading Show less