6. Heavy-metal frost, methane fog, and more: 9 photos of the wildest weather in the universe



  8. “Since the end of the Cold War, America has been space’s sole superpower, and it’s not ceding that status without a fight. But in this hushed race for control of the orbit around Earth, China doesn’t need to control everything to win; it just needs to take away the U.S.’ strategic advantage. And it’s doing so by turning the U.S.’ own strength against it.”

    — Eugene Chow, in The U.S. is in an under-the-radar space race with China — and it’s losing


  9. -135.7

    The temperature measured by NASA satellites in Eastern Antarctica c. August 2010, in degrees Farenheit (-93.2 Celsius).

    It’s the coldest temperature on Earth in recorded history.



  11. Happy 55th birthday, NASA! 

    Unfortunately, the government shutdown means not many employees will be around, and the space agency could wind up losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Keith Wagstaff writes:

    If the shutdown drags on, the Mars MAVEN mission could miss its Nov. 18 launch date — an event that can’t be easily rescheduled, seeing as Earth and Mars are only in the right position once every 26 months.

    That means NASA’s $671 million mission — which is supposed to provide information about Mars’ atmosphere, including whether it might have once supported life — could be delayed until 2016.



  13. Take a look at NASA’s new solar-powered ion propulsion engine

    If we’re ever going to explore the universe’s far corners in cool spaceships that look like giant pizza cutters, we’re first going to need more efficient engines. On Tuesday, NASA took the wraps off a potential next-gen thruster system that looks like something described in Trekkie fanfic: A solar-electric ion propulsion engine.