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Finding Stephen Hawking's Star—And Finding Your Own

When I look at the night sky, I often view the stars not just in space but also in terms of their places in time.

Standing on the Shore, Grasping for the Stars

This month marks the 45th anniversary of Pioneer 10's passage through the asteroid belt. It was a key rite of passage in humanity's journey from this blue planet into the deep reaches of outer space.

Where are You Going in 2018 (Cosmically Speaking)?

A while back, I wrote a column for Discover analyzing your place in space: astronomers' best look yet at where you fit into the big, crazy, cosmic scheme of things.

Could a Lunar Fuel Depot Jump-Start Human Exploration of Deep Space?

In my previous post I started a conversation with spaceflight entrepreneur Charles Miller, who shared his insights about how NASA's human spaceflight program got been stuck in low-Earth orbit and how we could enter a new era of deep-space adventure.

Back to the Moon for Real: A Conversation with Private-Spaceflight Evangelist Charles Miller

NASA's human spaceflight program has been in a state of uncertainty pretty much from the moment the Apollo 17 crew left the surface of the Moon 45 years ago this month.

Aliens in the Mist

What would happen if we found an intelligent alien civilization that was less advanced than our own? I posed this as a hypothetical question in a recent blog post.

That Interstellar Asteroid is Pretty Strange. Could It Be...?

It isn't aliens. It's never aliens. That's the only sensible answer whenever astronomers spot something truly weird in space.

An Astonishing Return to Jane Goodall's Chimp Eden

During the 1960s, humanity's place in the universe changed dramatically as Soviet and American astronauts ventured off the planet and (for the Yanks, at least) onto the surface of the Moon.

Last Days of Cassini: An Insider's Story

The death of the Cassini spacecraft marked the end of an era--not just the end of a mission, but the end of a whole style of exploration.

How Big is the Biggest Possible Planet?

Last week, a team of astronomers reported the first potential discovery of an exomoon--a satellite orbiting a planet around another star.

The Strangest (and Second-Strangest) Star in the Galaxy

There’s an old saying: "Great discoveries don’t begin with ‘eureka!’; they begin with ‘that’s funny…’" I’ve long attributed the quote to the renowned science popularizer Isaac Asimov.

The Strangest (and Second-Strangest) Star in the Galaxy

There’s an old saying: "Great discoveries don’t begin with ‘eureka!’; they begin with someone muttering, ‘That’s odd…’" I’ve long attributed the quote to the great science popularizer Isaac Asimov.

What if We Discovered an Alien Civilization Less Advanced Than Our Own?

Readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of Quora, because it lets non-experts raise the kinds of speculative questions that don't normally come up in formal scientific discussions.

Real Genius

If you are going to create a television show called Genius, you had better grapple with the nature of genius.

Calvin the Martian, and the True Meaning of LIFE

LIFE the movie is both predictable and full of surprises, much like...er...life itself. In the broad sense, it is a monster-run-amok genre film.

Calvin the Martian, and the True Meaning of LIFE

LIFE the movie is both predictable and full of surprises, much like...er...life itself. In the broad sense, it is a monster-run-amok genre movie.

Gore Verbinski Diagnoses His Own "Cure for Wellness"

If you feel like there is something deeply unhealthy about the modern world, director Gore Verbinski has just the movie for you.

Rebirth and Recovery in the Shadow of Chernobyl

Regular readers of this blog know that I normally focus on cosmic topics: comets, exoplanets, dark matter, the search for alien life, and the like.

Taking the Measure of Nothing in the Universe

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing. Not just because focusing on nothing is a helpful, meditative antidote to obsessing over the recent barrage of anxiety-inducing news, but also because nothing is the most common thing in nature.

Taking the Measure of Nothing in the Universe

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing. Not just because focusing on nothing is a helpful, meditative antidote to obsessing over the recent barrage of anxiety-inducing news, but also because nothing is the most common thing in nature.


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