If humankind ever sets up a colony on Mars, a lot of things will be different. There'll be less gravity, less oxygen, and more death if you go outside without a spacesuit. But at least one thing might remain the same: if we bring mice to Mars with us, we'll probably still have mouse infestations.
On my first day of spacewalk training in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center, the future loomed in front of me as bright as the heavens I had hoped to reach. I wanted to master the fundamentals and, like all astronauts, I knew that spacewalk proficiency was the quickest path to that coveted first flight assignment.
Rocket Lab's Electron rocket is only 55 feet tall. That's puny compared to SpaceX's 230-foot Falcon 9, but size isn't everything. The Electron could become a powerful system for putting small satellites into space for cheap—the company estimates each launch will cost $5 million compared to SpaceX's (already very cheap) $60 million. And on Sunday, it may fly for the very first time.
It's summer in the northern hemisphere, and you know what that means: clouds of methane. Temperatures will soar to a balmy -292°F, a full six degrees warmer than the south pole, and lakes will swell with hydrocarbon rain. Welcome to summer on Titan. You better like it, because it'll last 7.5 years.