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

Australian-made satellites blast off to the ISS

It’s bright. It’s noisy. It’s nerve-wracking. But the launch of two satellites Saturday night is just the latest in a long series of countdowns needed to get Australia back in the space race. At 5.37 pm AEST Saturday, the Binar-1 and CUAVA-1 CubeSats are set to be piggy-backed aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International … Continue reading Australian-made satellites blast off to the ISS

Blobs in space

Fake muscles, the Blob, and a 3D printing project that aims to turn Moon dust into human habitats are about to head to the International Space Station (ISS).  The uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft, carrying the latest series of space science experiments, is due to launch in a fortnight.  On board is a slime mould, Physarum polycephalum – otherwise known as … Continue reading Blobs in space

ISS struck by space junk

Space can be an unforgiving environment, even for a spacecraft. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has just reported that a small hole has appeared in a robotic arm it operates aboard the International Space Station (ISS) – driving home the risks of space junk. The 5-mm-diameter hole was noticed during a routine inspection of the … Continue reading ISS struck by space junk

Ten things to take on your next trip to space

By all accounts, going to the toilet in space is horrid. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson said it was the most challenging thing about the International Space Station (ISS). Still, at least they have toilets. On the Apollo missions, astronauts used plastic bags. Things have got better since Whitson’s time. Last year, NASA introduced its new … Continue reading Ten things to take on your next trip to space

Mining with microbes in space

The first mining experiments in space have revealed that microbes can efficiently extract elements from rocks in zero gravity. The tests, performed by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), open up possibilities for the human exploration and settlement of the Solar System. “On Earth, microorganisms play prominent roles in natural processes such as the … Continue reading Mining with microbes in space

How to live up there in space

By Alice Gorman, Flinders University, and Justin Walsh, Chapman University November 2 marks 20 years since the first residents arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). The orbiting habitat has been continuously occupied ever since. Twenty straight years of life in space makes the ISS the ideal “natural laboratory” to understand how societies function beyond … Continue reading How to live up there in space

Cooper Creek looks like Mars

Red-tinted sands and dark green braided streams provide a colourful contrast within Queensland’s Channel Country. As the International Space Station (ISS) was passing over southwest Queensland, an astronaut took this photo of the Cooper Creek floodplain. The image was taken by a member of Expedition 62 on 5 April 2020, using a standard Nikon D5 … Continue reading Cooper Creek looks like Mars

A brief tour of Africa

Astronaut Christina Koch had been on the ISS for about four (of 11) months when, in July 2019, she took the more than 400 time-lapse frames that make up this composite image as the space station flew northeast over Africa from Namibia towards the Red Sea. Dazzling star trails dominate the space-sky; stationary ground features … Continue reading A brief tour of Africa