WA space radar to spot orbiting objects as small as 2cm

You can see it unfolding above your head at night – streams of new bright new satellites taking their place in our skies. But this burgeoning new industry is already facing a tipping point. Which is why a new radar facility is being built in Western Australia. LeoLabs Australia director Terry van Haren says work … Continue reading WA space radar to spot orbiting objects as small as 2cm

Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

Space is big. Really big. And there’s not much up there – except all the trash. And that’s suddenly become a valuable resource, as recycling space junk could put an end to the days of fire-and-forget satellite launches. Thanks to South Australian space-industry start-up Neumann Space, every piece of scrap metal in orbit above us … Continue reading Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

New insights into the Moon’s evolution

The Moon rocks from China’s Chang’e 5 lander have been analysed, adding to the story of the Moon’s thermal and chemical evolution. More than 50 years ago, the Apollo program brought 382 kilograms of lunar material back to Earth, including Moon rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust. These samples gave us a glimpse of … Continue reading New insights into the Moon’s evolution

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Fish camouflage better without friends watching Like chameleons of the sea, gobies change colour to hide from predators like larger fish and birds – and they do so better when they’re alone. A new study published in Royal Society Open Science tested the colour-changing ability of these bottom-dwelling fish alone and in pairs. When by … Continue reading You may have missed…

Australia’s space start-ups already bursting at the seams

The Adelaide incubator has been running hot. Space technology start-ups have started to hatch, and Australia’s newest industry is eager to fly the nest. Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) CEO James Brown told Cosmos he’s excited to see the rapid growth of the first clutch of start-ups based at South Australia’s Lot Fourteen precinct. … Continue reading Australia’s space start-ups already bursting at the seams

Bugs in space: the battle to keep the ISS clean

We share our lives with microbes, from the mites chowing down on our dead skin to the bacteria in our gut helping us digest food. Many are essential to how we function here on Earth – but did you know that the International Space Station (ISS) is brimming with them too? Turns out that if … Continue reading Bugs in space: the battle to keep the ISS clean

COVID-19 and the bush mechanics of satellite construction

Fishing line. Measuring tape. And there aren’t many problems that can’t be solved with a tiny spring. But Australia’s embryonic satellite-construction industry has had to get innovative in overcoming pandemic supply chain problems. Inovor Technologies operations manager Benjamin Adams says the situation hasn’t quite got to the level of scrabbling through salvage yards. Not quite… … Continue reading COVID-19 and the bush mechanics of satellite construction

How to grow plants on Mars

If we ever want to move to Mars, we’ll need to learn how to grow food right there on the Red Planet. But the soil there is harsh and unsavoury for most plants. Well, somebody call Matt Damon because astroagriculturalists have found a way to give clover plants a microbial “buddy” that will help fill … Continue reading How to grow plants on Mars

Rejuvenated Insight ‘hears’ three strong marsquakes

After succeeding in a bold attempt to brush dangerous amounts of dust from its solar panels, NASA’s InSight Mars lander has hit two major milestones: 1,000 sols (Mars days) on the surface, and the detection of the three largest marsquakes ever recorded. Earlier this year, says the mission’s principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet … Continue reading Rejuvenated Insight ‘hears’ three strong marsquakes

Perseverance breathes fresh life into the mining and space sectors

When it comes to combining space ingenuity with mining pragmatism, all it takes is a little moxie. Woodside Energy vice president of technology Jason Crusan displayed some grit of his own at the 12 Australian Space Forum in Adelaide last week, stating that his industry was looking to the stars for inspiration. Efficiency. Resilience. Harsh … Continue reading Perseverance breathes fresh life into the mining and space sectors

Meet Kanyini, South Australia’s first satellite

The Pitjantjatjara word ‘Kanyini’ means “an enormous caring with no limit; it has no timeframe and is eternal”. It’s also the name of the first satellite designed and built in South Australia – a name put forward by Findon High School students and chosen out of entries from 57 schools across the state. “Kanyini means … Continue reading Meet Kanyini, South Australia’s first satellite

Plucky Mars rover’s perseverance rewarded

NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars has at last found a rock that’s a hard place. After an initial failed attempt last month, the robotic prospector has successfully drilled two core samples from a Martian rock and stowed them away for eventual return to Earth. An unexpected failure occurred in early August when Perseverance attempted to … Continue reading Plucky Mars rover’s perseverance rewarded