Businesses have gotten to space; now what?
Private companies have worked with NASA for decades. Can the next generation of space companies get by without the government as their biggest customer?
Billions spent on projects of questionable benefit - like the plan to capture an asteroid - raises the question: Should NASA take a back seat in the 21st century space race?
We take a look at a few of the not-so-obviously-bizarre things we've launched beyond the earth's atmosphere.
As talk of space colonization heats up, is it time to have a serious conversation about conflict resolution in a place where few rules or laws exist?
Despite rigorous prep, astronauts often have to improvise when things go wrong in space. And a lot more duct tape is involved than you may expect.
As the idea of colonizing space becomes mainstream, it’s important to keep in mind that traveling in outer space does some crazy stuff to our bodies.
It’s been 44 years since a human stepped on the moon, and a new generation of entrepreneurs is laying the groundwork for us to go back.
Space food isn’t just that astronaut ice cream you had as a kid. NASA’s kitchens are hard at work preparing a new menu of space food for the farthest trip in history - the flight to Mars. This space food is more advanced even than food on the International Space Station - it needs to last for five years, more than two years longer than it can currently. That’s enough time to get to Mars and back, and serve as an emergency...
It’s only a matter of time until the average person can explore space. But, will the average person be ready?
Sending things into space is really expensive. But what if we didn't have to? What if everything in space was made in space?
Out of a small hangar in the Mojave Desert, XCOR is developing a rocket ship designed to fly to space four times a day, five days a week.
In July of 2011, the U.S. suspended its decades-long Space Shuttle program, officially ending an era of space exploration that began over half a century ago. Some have mourned its passing as a sign of the times – as evidence that we could no longer dare to dream. But unbeknownst to many, a new era of private space exploration has already begun... and it’s firing on all cylinders. The New Space Race is the story of a...
NASA intern turned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Jason Dunn, saw what was holding humans back from colonizing outer space...and decided to do something about it. With his company Made in Space’s cutting-edge 3D printer, astronauts can break their reliance on costly resupply missions from Earth and—for the first time ever—build new supplies for themselves in space. Dunn and his team believe their invention will usher in a new...
Our new show will introduce you to the people and the technology that could make humans a multi-planetary species in the coming century.
Twenty years from now, humans could live in space permanently. As companies work feverishly to develop the tech needed for this galactic future, the New Worlds annual gathering brings together space lovers of all ages to brainstorm, fantasize and—more importantly—prepare for life off Earth.
Throughout history, different organizations, governments, and even individuals have attempted to establish rules for, and ownership of, outer space.
The Israeli group's moon mission will be ride-sharing on a SpaceX rocket.
Fleets of small satellites can gather far more accurate and timely data than conventional satellites. And investors are taking notice.
These key players are working from outside the system to lead the criminal justice reform movement.
The SpaceX founder gave a rousing presentation on his company’s long-term plan for getting to Mars and establishing a civilization there.
The story of how one man gave his space-loving best friend a final resting place in the final frontier.
An incredible medical breakthrough, Google ups the ante, and the SpaceX Mars rocket. These are our favorite stories of the week.
A future of eating meat without ethical or environmental implications is more real than ever before. While plant-based alternatives are growing in popularity, the real black horse with game-changing potential seems to be actual meat… grown in science labs. The question at this point is not whether this approach is viable or scalable, but simply: will people want to eat it?
"Scientists work in high-security buildings that are banned to the public and then wonder why they are misunderstood."
At its peak, NASA’s shuttle flew to space a few times a year. XCOR wants to be something more like Southwest Airlines for space. They're working on a spacecraft prototype with a very ambitious goal: four daily flights to space, five days a week. If XCOR is successful, they could take more people to space in six months than NASA did in 30 years.
From towers that create pockets of clean air to a luminescent bike path that glows like children's ceiling stars and windmills drawing lines of light across the sky, Daan Roosegaarde's entire practice is centered around the beauty of living with nature and removing pollution from urban life.
Regulations forced companies that planned to sell satellites to other countries to register, in effect, as arms dealers.
We dive into the viability and future of nuclear energy in the U.S. and around the world with Leslie Dewan, CEO of nuclear power startup Transatomic.
For a couple decades people thought nuclear power was the answer to pretty much everything. And they came up with some ideas we’ll generously call visionary.
To feed an additional two billion people by 2050, global food production will have to increase by roughly 50%. While conventional wisdom would only consider habitable land for food production, one couple in the Netherlands is taking a different approach. They have become the operators of the world's first and only floating dairy farm.
Let's imagine aliens exist. You have the extraordinary task of crafting a message that they might conceivably understand. How would you do it? And what would you say? Daniel Oberhaus has a few ideas.
A step forward for space tourism, extreme poverty could be on its way out, and illustrating advanced tech. These are our favorite stories of the week.
Officer Tommy Norman's work has drawn national attention recently, but his approach to policing is nothing new.
Spire's satellites fit in the palm of your hand, cost a fraction of their predecessors, and transmit more data than several behemoth satellites combined.
Research shows people don't take extreme weather predictions seriously. And don't take the necessary precautions as a result.
When the New Horizons spacecraft launched in 2006, Pluto was still a planet and the iPhone didn't exist.
The immersive world of VR may have therapeutic benefits for people combating phobias, anxiety, and PTSD.
Before he was director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rory Cooper was customizing his own wheelchairs for racing. His racer was lighter than traditional chairs, optimized for racing on the road, but many of its modifications have since become commonplace in wheelchairs designed for everyday use. Cooper's chair demonstrated the importance of performance and functionality, ensuring that the user's quality of...
“Ecoacoustics” is an emerging field of research. Instead of chasing down isolated animal sounds, researchers are using all of the acoustic properties of a location to answer ecological questions.
Bird populations are paying the price for our electric lights. These volunteers are working to change that.
With advanced navigational technology, Astrobotic wants to provide a routine, affordable, and accurate delivery service to the moon.
OpenBCI has developed technology that allows you to control the world outside your body with your brain waves.
Amateur astronomer Scott Tilley made international headlines when he rediscovered NASA’s IMAGE satellite, 13 years after it mysteriously disappeared. In this interview with Freethink, Scott discusses his role in the satellite’s recovery, why he enjoys amateur astronomy, and how citizen scientists like him have contributed to our knowledge of space from the space race to the present day.
A step toward human organs in animal embryos, the Hubble Telescope was a game changer, and Americans aren't doing much to protect themselves online.
We're living in a golden age of people exploring high and low tech methods to optimize our bodies.
A fascinating interview with Michael P. McLoughlin about bionic arms for amputees and the world of advanced prosthetics. McLoughlin is the chief engineer of research and exploratory development at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
When lives are on the line, inspiration can come from the most unlikely places.
The "secret life of antidepressants" could open up a host of new treatments.
More than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime; new discoveries are helping them fight back.
The maker movement is grieving a big loss with the shutdown of Maker Media. Freethink's Alexandra Cardinale spoke with some of the most creative people at the final Maker Faire.
His daughter couldn’t go on school field trips with her classmates, so Craig Chaytor designed a virtual reality adventure just for her.
If you think staring at rows of numbers and graphs seems humdrum, these musicians agree. They are on a mission to expose new scientific information through sound, by turning flat datasets into musical scores --- creating the soundtrack for science: Listen to Mark Ballora’s sonification of singularity with flutes and electronics: Jenni Evans first met Mark Ballora at a Penn State social gathering. Both were professors at...
After a 30-year struggle, Atlantic salmon modified with a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon has been approved by the FDA. Its producers say it solves problems related to climate change, ocean pollution, and food scarcity. Skeptics call it playing god. Both call it the Frankenfish.
Spire’s CubeSat satellites—each about the size of a shoebox—can collect and transmit weather data six times as often as the massive, billion-dollar satellites we’ve used for generations. But it doesn’t stop at weather prediction. Spire thinks their tech will be essential as humans journey deeper into deep space.
Every night, young adults pass through the basement door of the Lakeview Lutheran Church, close to the heart of Boystown, the gay neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. Like many institutions in Lakeview, the church offers a place specifically welcoming to the LGBTQ community. These young adults are taking refuge at The Crib, an overnight emergency shelter for people aged 18 to 24 who find themselves temporarily homeless. Founded by The Night Ministry in 2011, The Crib is one of the few places in the city where young LGBTQ adults, especially those of color, can find housing and community with others their age in similar situations.
Working toward sustainability, cities are searching for ways to make funerals more eco-friendly. Green burials and human composting could be the solution.
At current trends, more than 90% of the world’s coral reefs will be massively degraded by 2050. Researchers have found a species of stoney coral that has sparked new efforts for coral reef restoration.
It's a muggy Wednesday morning in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, the temperature and humidity rising before the sun. Lena, decked out in her eye-catching slate shirt and chartreuse vest, leans slightly out into the busy rush-hour traffic, sweeping litter (wrappers, cups, lots of cigarette butts) from the gutter into her dustpan. On the sidewalk, she empties her collection into a cart. As she moves down the street,...
At the Acton Children's Business Fair, the kids are the entrepreneurs. Wanting to inspire kids to follow their passions, the organizers of the fair created a space where the young business owners can make and sell their own products. "I believe kids are way more powerful than we give them credit for," organizer David Kirby told us. The businesses ranged from an iPhone repair shop, to organic cleaning supplies. "I think...
Landing on the moon has always been an inaccurate pursuit. But Astrobotic has fixed that problem. The company’s unique GPS system allows it to land spacecraft within meters—rather than kilometers—of the intended target. And now they’re using the tech to offer the world’s first delivery service to the moon.
Baltimore’s kids are obsessed with dirt bikes. Some people think that's a problem, but teacher Brittany Young is using dirt bikes to get kids into engineering and STEM education. Her organization, B-360 Baltimore, aims to use dirt bike culture to help end the cycle of poverty, disrupt the prison pipeline, and bring together communities — while giving dirt bikes a better reputation. Dirt bikes are a controversial issue in...
Derrick Campana isn’t your typical... anything. He’s a prosthetics engineer helping animals walk again - or walk for the first time - with artificial limbs. In the old days when an animal had a broken leg, they would often be euthanized--and only if they were very lucky would they wind up with a leg cast. Derrick Campana wants to put those days in the past. He’s creating prosthetics and casts for all manner of...
Recently the media was abuzz with talk of ‘Disease X,’ a mysterious illness that could spread across the world. And then...nothing happened. It turns out that people had misinterpreted the World Health Organization’s List of Blueprint priority diseases, which identifies the world’s most dangerous diseases in terms of potential for outbreaks or epidemics. There are diseases that are already known - like Ebola, MERS or SARS -...
From advanced plant-based meat alternatives to real meat grown in a lab, the days of eating meat from once-living animals could be numbered.
Reimagining how we get medicine to people, using genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika, and selfies as passwords. These are the stories that got us talking.
The story of Vicarious' mission to build the world's first human-level artificial intelligence and use it to help humanity thrive.
There are a lot of different levels of artificial intelligence being applied in a lot of different ways. Here's a primer for starting to wrap your head around it all.
Linc Gasking, co-founder of VR startup 8i, discusses the day-to-day grind and big picture excitement of being an entrepreneur.
The unbelievable story of the day Jordan Riley was declared brain dead and his journey of re-learning how to be human.
There’s a global transformation happening - millions of people are migrating to cities from the countryside.