One of NASA's greatest spacecraft will call it quits on September 15, 2017. The Cassini spacecraft has made countless discoveries during its sojourn to Saturn and its surrounding moons. It has also sent back nearly 400,000 images, many of which are purely spectacular, with surely more to come during the final months of the mission as Cassini explores new territory between Saturn and its rings.
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.