Ashlee Vance reports on a New Zealand company that has built its own space-plane prototype. Dawn Aerospace hopes to establish a cheap, quick way to transport objects into orbit, and in doing so transform the commercialization of space.

For decades, humans have been trying to make a plane that can reach space and return to Earth by way of a runway. Space shuttles aside, only now is the dawn of the space plane finally upon us.

Seeker explains how a new kind of nuclear battery could power missions into deep space.

In April of 2020, NASA researchers announced they had come up with a new approach to fusion that has the potential to power missions into deep space, and maybe even future laptops here on Earth. This is really exciting news as when it comes to making energy, nuclear fusion is the ultimate goal because of the promise it holds of clean limitless energy that is available on demand.

Insane Curiosity explores Elon Musk’s plans for colonizing Mars.

Elon Musk is a man on a mission, and that mission is to get humanity not just to Mars, but to get them to Mars in this decade. This is why he built his own space organization in SpaceX, to do what NASA (at the time) couldn’t do, inspire the need to be in space again. And he has succeeded, and now, SpaceX is not only one of the leading places in all space travel designs and plans, but they are indeed looking to be the group to send a person to Mars. But the plans go beyond that, he doesn’t just want to land a person on the surface of Mars and say he’s done (which is what we did with the moon if you really think about it), but he wants to set up a colony there.

Silicon may be at the heart of most gadgets, but it’s not the only semiconductor around.

Gallium nitride has been getting a lot of attention recently for it’s electrical properties, which outperform silicon in a lot of areas.

Gallium nitride has the potential to revolution power systems, including solar, electric vehicles, and even phone chargers.

Beyond that, it’s finding uses in the mobile industry, and could even be used to build ultra fast processors.

But how feasible is any of that, and even if it’s possible, how long will it take? 

With quarantines back in the public consciousness, you’d be surprised to hear that the Apollo 11 astronauts were themselves quarantined upon returning to Earth.

Vox explains:

In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.

It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).

To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.

The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.

Stephen Petranek explains why colonizing Mars may be sooner than you’d think in this TED Talk.

It sounds like science fiction, but journalist Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within 20 years, humans will live on Mars. In this provocative talk, Petranek makes the case that humans will become a spacefaring species and describes in fascinating detail how we’ll make Mars our next home. “Humans will survive no matter what happens on Earth,” Petranek says. “We will never be the last of our kind.” 

In the middle of the New Mexico desert lies Spaceport America, a glittering, alien structure advertised as the very first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

It’s home to Virgin Galactic, a space startup that promises to send tourists into orbit as early as next year.

But even if that milestone happens, it will follow years of delays, setbacks, and even tragedy. Local residents in the nearby town of Truth or Consequences were told to expect big things when New Mexico joined the private space economy, but many now wonder if the dream of a space industry will ever materialize. 

Verge Science explores.